Did you know that a facelift can make you look five to ten years younger?
Many people consider facelifts because they’re concerned about the way they look and many of us feel much more youthful than our age, so why not have a little work done?
Like any surgical procedure, facelifts require proper recovery time and care. Failure to follow your doctor’s instructions can lead to complications.
If you’re considering a facelift and are curious about the recovery period, keep reading. We’ll give you a pre-op checklist and a week-by-week schedule that will help ensure a healthy recovery and a beautiful outcome.
Ask for Your Physician’s Honest Opinions
Plastic surgeons work wonders, but even they have limits. You want to work with a physician who is honest about their abilities and what they can do for you. Some facelift candidates have unrealistic expectations.
Your doctor should listen to your concerns and offer reasonable and practical solutions. Some facelift treatments aren’t right for everyone. If you go into the conversation with an open mind, you’ll feel more confident about the procedure and results.
Also, be sure that you look at your doctor’s before and after facelift photos. This way, you’ll have a better idea of the doctor’s techniques and outcomes. You may also find inspiration for your own facelift procedure.
Being prepared before your procedure helps you feel more comfortable. A pre-op checklist also ensures you can relax and have everything you need close at hand.
- Go grocery shopping and stock up on healthy snacks and drinks.
- Set up a cooler or mini fridge by your bed.
- Make your bed with fresh sheets and blankets.
- Enlist a friend or neighbor to help care for your pets.
- Keep books nearby and make sure your Kindle is fully charged.
- Make a list of TV series and movies you’ve been meaning to watch.
- Have the doctor and pharmacy phone numbers written down or saved in your phone.
- Be sure you have a surgery buddy who can take care of driving.
Completing these tasks beforehand means you can relax, which is important for recovery.
Step By Step Facelift Recovery
Surgery affects everyone in different ways. If you have a specific medical condition or concern, your doctor may give you different instructions. For most people, the following is what you can expect week by week as you recover from your facelift.
When your surgery is finished and you come out of the anesthesia, you’ll feel tired and groggy. Your surgery buddy will drive you home and help you get comfortable in bed. Be sure you’re taking your pain medication as prescribed, and use ice packs if your doctor recommends them.
You may need to go back to the surgeon’s office for a post-operative follow-up visit on the second day. Your surgeon or their assistant will evaluate the swelling and your pain level, as well as the condition of your incisions. They’ll also change your bandages.
If the surgical team is happy with your progress, they’ll review your post-op instructions and send you home.
By day three, you should start to feel better. However, this is when you’ll start noticing increased swelling and bruising. This is normal but if you have any concerns, call your doctor. Ice packs can help reduce inflammation.
Keep taking your pain medication and antibiotics as directed.
By the end of the first week, you should feel comfortable doing light housework and other easy chores.
By the start of the second week, the swelling should be diminishing. Bruising may still be present, but it should start fading during this time.
At this time, your doctor should give you the green light for increased activity. You can start with walks around the block and running easy errands. Many people return to work during the second week.
Weeks Three and Four
During the third week, your doctor will remove your stitches. This is also an opportunity for your doctor to evaluate your progress.
You might still experience some swelling during the third week, which is normal. However, this is also the time when you begin to see your results.
By week four, you should be able to resume most of your normal activities. Be sure to share your exercise routine with your doctor. Some activities may still require restrictions.
At the one-month mark, you’ll feel back to normal. With your doctor’s okay, you can resume most of your normal day-to-day activities.
Some patients might experience tightness in the skin, tingling, and numbness. This is normal but may take up to a year to completely disappear. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
What You Can Do To Speed the Healing Process
Taking responsibility for your recovery time impacts the final results of your facelift. These are a few things you can do to speed your healing, minimize your pain, and ensure the best results.
Take Care of Your Incisions
Facelift incisions are small but caring for them helps minimize scarring. Be sure to keep them dry and change the bandages according to your doctor’s instructions.
Never use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on your incisions. If you must clean them, use a sterile saline solution or a mild cleanser recommended by your doctor.
Keep Your Head Elevated
Keeping your head elevated after surgery is important as it helps minimize inflammation which also lessens pain.
Add extra pillows to your bed to make elevation easier. You may also want to purchase a wedge pillow to prevent you from rolling over in your sleep.
It’s vital to avoid pressure on your face during the healing process.
Eat Right and Stay Hydrated
Successful healing starts from within. Eating right during your recovery boosts your immune system and improves your body’s healing response. Lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products make perfect meals during recovery.
Hydration is also important, especially as the skin on your face may become dry due to inflammation. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Avoid sugary fruit juices and soda during this time.
If you take vitamins or supplements, be sure to clear them with your doctor.
Rest and Activity
Surgery places significant stress on your body. Adequate rest and sleep are important parts of healing.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions regarding physical activity. In the days after your surgery, you’ll want to rest as much as possible. When your doctor says you can be more active, be sure you don’t overdo it.
Activities like swimming or contact sports should wait until you’re at least 30 days post-op and your doctor gives you the okay.
Stay Out of the Sun
Sun exposure in the days after your surgery is a bad idea. The sun’s rays can cause your skin to tighten, which puts pressure on your stitches. Your incisions are also prone to sunburn.
You won’t be able to use sunscreen after your procedure, so if you must go outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with UV protection, and a scarf.
If you weren’t strict about wearing sunscreen before, now is a good time to adopt the habit. Once your skin heals, be sure to use sunscreen every day. Your facelift results are precious, and you want to keep your skin healthy and beautiful for as long as possible.
Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco
Using tobacco is terrible for your skin, whether you’ve had a facelift or not. If you smoke, you must avoid tobacco after your facelift. Tobacco interferes with your circulation, so less oxygen gets to your skin.
Less oxygen makes the healing process longer and more difficult and can interfere with your results.
You should never drink alcohol while taking prescription pain medication. The combination can be deadly.
Alcohol also causes significant dehydration. Your body may respond by retaining water which causes your face to become puffy. This extra inflammation can interfere with the healing process and put extra strain on your stitches.
It’s best to avoid alcohol altogether until your recovery process is complete.
Talk to Your Doctor About Medication
Make sure your plastic surgeon is aware of all the medication you’re taking. Again, this includes vitamins and supplements. Your surgeon may confer with your primary care physician to ensure your medicines won’t interfere with your surgery.
You should also discuss over-the-counter medications. Some of these can raise your blood pressure or thin your blood. Your doctor can tell you which medications are safe for use before and after your surgical procedure.
Talk to Dr. Deuber’s Office About a Facelift Today
A facelift not only makes you look younger and it can also boost your self-esteem. Take this opportunity to talk about your beauty goals and learn more about what a facelift can do for you, and schedule a consultation today. You can also reach us by phone at 214-220-2712.
We look forward to hearing from you.