When we age, we lose bone and soft tissue and our facial skin begins to lose elasticity. These changes to our face, is what makes us appear older. It is important to understand that the face is broken down into several different components: lower third which includes the face and neck, the mid-face and the upper third which includes the eyes and forehead. A facelift is usually performed along with a Necklift and addresses the lower 1/3 of the face. Facelifts are designed to correct sagging jowls and excess skin of the neck. If you’re thinking about getting a facelift, you should take into consideration the aftercare and down-time associated with this procedure.
Facelift Recovery Week 1
Enlist the help of a friend, spouse or family member to help you around the house. We recommend having someone to stay with you the first couple of days and someone to drive you to your appointments for 7-10 days following your surgery. Patients electing to have their procedure in the hospital under general anesthesia can expect to feel groggy and a little unbalanced immediately following the procedure. During the 1st week you should take it easy, no heavy lifting, bending or straining. You will be instructed to keep your head elevated above your heart to minimize swelling.
The day after your surgery (Day-1 post-op), you will have a follow-up with your surgeon for a dressing change and to check your incisions. We usually give the patient an opportunity to see what they look like under the bandages. You can expect to be very swollen and bruised and look distorted-this is all normal!
On the third day (Day-2 Post-op) the doctor will remove the drains and reapply the dressing. At 48-hours you can expect the swelling to peak and will likely have the most discomfort following your procedure. We usually prescribe over the counter Extra Strength Tylenol with prescription Celebrex. In combination, they do an excellent job minimizing discomfort. We usually don’t need to prescribe narcotics for pain. Continue to sleep with your head elevated above your heart to minimize swelling and discomfort. The swelling and bruising will start to subside after this point.
On the fourth day (Day-3 Post-op), you can remove your dressings to shower and wash your hair. We caution patients never to use a blow dryer since you will be numb and can accidentally burn yourself. You may also be permitted to do light housework if you feel well enough as long as you keep your head elevated above your heart and avoid heavy lifting. You should continue to apply Aquaphor to the incision lines several times a day to keep them moist and wear the ace wrap provided to you at your pre-op. The ace wrap will remind you to keep your head immobile.
Facelift Recovery Week 2
On Post-op Day 7 some of the sutures will be removed. On Post-op Day 9 or 10 any remaining sutures will be removed. At this point you may begin driving and may even be ready to return to work. Makeup can be applied after all sutures have been removed. We urge you to continue to wear your ace wrap when at home as a reminder to keep your head in a neutral position.
You may experience numbing, tingling, and tightness around your face but will see improvement in your bruising and swelling. Incision lines will appear red and can be puckered, both of which will resolve in time. Most people are feeling well again and are healing nicely.
Facelift Recovery Weeks 3 and 4
The doctor will see you again for a 1-month follow-up appointment to check the incisions, assess healing and take photographs. You may still have minor swelling and bruising that is only noticeable to you on close inspection. The results of the procedure should become apparent at this point.
What to Expect After Day 30
At this point, you should be feeling like yourself and looking better than ever. There may also be a small amount of tightness in your skin. You can be expected to resume all of your normal daily activities. Many patients can wear their hair up at this point. You can schedule hair appointments however, take care not to hyperextend your neck. Volume replacement to fill in some of the hollows can begin at this time if you choose.
Schedule a Consultation
If you think that a facelift is the right course of action for you to achieve the look you’ve always wanted, then schedule a consultation with Stanislaw Plastic Surgery today by calling or filling out the form on our website. Planning well ahead of a big event is highly recommended, ideally we recommend 12-months but no less than 6-months prior to the event.
If at any time after your surgery you feel as though the pain, swelling, bruising or other symptoms are abnormal, then you are highly encouraged to contact your surgeon’s office for an evaluation. Dr. Stanislaw is a double board-certified surgeon in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery as well as Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. His goals as a surgeon are to bring your desired results into reality and to help people look and feel their best in their own skin.