No matter what type of facelift procedure you want—- standard, s-lift or mini—it is important to consider all aspects of the surgical process, from the initial consultation to recovery time. Facelift recovery will vary with each patient, but you should be aware of the standard timeline it takes to get back to a normal lifestyle.
Each facelift patient will have a different recovery experience based on the extent of their surgery as well as other contributing factors such as bone structure, skin quality and general health and weight. Depending on your individual goals, recovery time may take longer or shorter than normal. Read more to learn what the majority of facelift patients experience during recovery.
Immediately following surgery, you will experience swelling and bruising. Sutures will be wrapped with loose bandages to help reduce inflammation, and a drainage tube might be used to prevent blood and fluid from collecting under the skin, although not everyone needs one. There is usually some discomfort, but your doctor can give you prescription medication to ease any pain.
You may be advised to keep your head elevated for the first couple days to reduce swelling, and limiting the amount of movement will help to make you more comfortable. It is important to keep bandages and sutures dry, and your doctor will advise you when it’s alright to shower or bathe. Your face will feel a little numb during the first few days of recovery, but this is perfectly normal and is not something to be concerned about. Feeling will begin to return after the first week, and return completely by the end of the third or fourth week.
If you notice broken sutures or abnormal discharge, contact your doctor right away so the problem can be treated. Also, if you experience intense pain or a fever of over 100 degrees, these could be signs of infection.
You will have to go in for a number of post operative appointments so your doctor can remove the sutures and any drainage tubes that might have been used. You surgeon will also want to check how your face is healing and the progress of your recovery.
You should avoid any vigorous activity during the first weeks of recovery, especially anything where heavy lifting is involved like weight training or housework. Light activities such as walking and stretching are perfectly acceptable, and should be done to help ease you back into your normal routine. Make sure you get plenty of rest to help your body recover quicker.
Most of the bruising and puffiness should be gone by the third week, so it will be safe to go out in public without feeling self-conscious. If you were a smoker before going through the facelift procedure, do not take up the habit again as it slows the healing process. Also, make sure you avoid alcohol, saunas, hot showers and steam rooms for several months following surgery. Your doctor will tell you when it is appropriate to do any of these activities.
By the fourth week, your desired final look will begin to take shape and will be completely healed by the sixth week.
It is normal to feel depressed following facelift surgery. It can be overwhelming when the bandages and stitches are removed and your face is swollen and bruised; you may feel self-conscious about your appearance. Just remember that your body is fighting to heal after surgery, and it will take some time before you look the way you want.
Now that you are aware of the facelift recovery process, you can start taking the steps to organize your own surgery. Getting a consultation with a certified plastic surgeon is the best way to learn about the proper procedure for you and what you can expect from facelift surgery. To schedule a meeting with a plastic surgeon in your area, contact us online or by phone at 866.471.8873.