As we age, our faces naturally lose volume and elasticity, resulting in wrinkles and sagging skin especially around the jawline or eyes. A facelift works to reverse these effects by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles, and redraping facial skin in order to create a more youthful appearance. While the results are impressive, you need to go through the recovery process before you start feeling like yourself again.
For anyone considering this type of cosmetic surgery, understanding post-facelift healing is key. This article answers common questions about the length and intensity of recovery after undergoing a facelift so that prospective patients can make an informed decision about whether or not this procedure is right for them. Keep reading to learn more!
How Do I Prepare For Facelift Surgery?
Deciding to undergo a facelift procedure is an important decision. Facial surgery can be intimidating, but with the right preparation, you will feel more comfortable and confident about your chosen course of action. Preparing for a facelift involves understanding what to expect before, during, and after the plastic surgery procedure.
There is an important process you must go through before deciding to go ahead with facelift surgery. If you think getting a facelift is the right choice for you, you first need to arrange a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. They will be able to give you all the information you need in order to make an informed decision as to whether this procedure is suited for you. You will also need to undergo a health exam to ensure you are in good enough health to undergo surgery.
On the day of the operation, you should plan on arriving at least two hours in advance so that you can discuss any last-minute concerns or questions with your surgeon. After the operation, it’s best to have someone drive you home and stay with you overnight due to potential side effects from anesthesia such as dizziness or nausea.
The first week following your facelift is usually spent recovering at home while taking prescription pain medication to manage discomfort. You may experience some swelling and bruising which are common post-surgery symptoms. However, they typically subside within 1-2 weeks depending on how well you follow up on care instructions provided by your doctor.
What To Expect After A Facelift?
The average facelift recovery duration is about two weeks but this varies from person to person depending on how well they follow their doctor’s instructions. Below is a timeline of what you can expect following a facelift.
Recovery: Week 1
Typically, during the initial days of recovery, people experience significant swelling around the neck area and cheeks. Bruising may also occur but gradually fades away over time. Pain levels are usually mild and easily managed with prescription pain medication prescribed by your surgeon. It’s important to note that patients who have also had neck lifts may find they feel more discomfort than those who only underwent a traditional facelift procedure due to extra incisions made near their ears.
In order for you to heal properly, it is essential that you follow your doctor’s instructions regarding activity level, diet, lifting restrictions, and wound care. It is recommended that you limit strenuous activities for at least two weeks following your surgery and avoid alcohol intake until then too as it can impede the healing progress. Additionally, keeping your head elevated when sitting or lying down helps reduce facial swelling significantly throughout recovery so make sure you keep comfortable!
Recovery: Week 2
Once you’ve made it through the first week after a facelift, you can look forward to your recovery entering its second stage. At this point, it’s important to remember that although healing has begun, there may still be some residual swelling in the facial skin and general area of the surgical procedure.
Most surgeons suggest that normal activities such as walking or light housework are fine during week two. However, taking part in any kind of strenuous exercise should wait until closer to one-month post-surgery when all signs of discomfort have subsided and the healing process is complete. Even though restrictions on daily activities may seem like a nuisance, being patient with your body’s needs will help ensure optimal results from your facelift.
Recovery: Weeks 3 And 4
At weeks three and four, residual swelling and tightness may still be present, but this is when improvements in the facial contour will start to become visible. By this timeframe, patients can be more active and enjoy activities. The incision sites will have a noticeable pinkish-red hue but should fade with time as the healing process continues.
There may still be some discomfort such as a tight feeling along with occasional pain or itching at the site of the incisions. However, this is temporary. Consulting your doctor at any sign of infection or unusual changes in your skin is strongly recommended. If you follow your doctor’s post-treatment instructions closely and continue to practice healthy habits such as getting enough sleep and avoiding strenuous physical activity, you should expect positive results.
Will I Have Any Scars?
It is common to have scars following facelift surgery, but the extent and visibility of these scars can vary depending on the specific technique used, the skill of the surgeon, and the individual’s healing process. Incisions are typically made along the hairline or behind the ear, and may be partially hidden by natural creases in the skin.
In some cases, additional incisions may be necessary to achieve optimal results. However, with proper aftercare and scar management techniques, these scars can often become less noticeable over time. It is important to discuss any concerns about scarring with your surgeon before undergoing a facelift procedure.
Ways To Improve Healing After A Facelift
Although minor swelling and tenderness are inevitable following a facelift, there are some things that you can do to improve the overall healing process. Below are expert tips to ensure the recovery period is as smooth and quick as possible:
- Get plenty of rest
- Avoid excessive sun exposure
- Keep your head elevated as much as possible
- Take any prescribed medication
- Avoid athletic activity
- Follow your surgeon’s instructions
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption
If you think a facelift is the right solution for you, you should book a consultation with a professional surgeon. Dr. Masoud Saman is one of the best plastic surgeons in New York City. As a double board-certified surgeon, Dr. Saman has all the credentials you should be looking for in a qualified surgeon.
In addition to facelifts, Dr. Saman specializes in:
- Eyelids and brow surgery
- Lip lift
- Forehead contouring
- Chin augmentation
- Buccal fat removal