The facelift varies widely from patient to patient. This is because the procedure is not a one-step operation, but rather a combination of facial procedures tailored to the patient to reduce signs of aging as much as possible. However, when a facelift is discussed, the word generally refers to a combination of forehead, eyelid, cheek, and neck lift procedures for comprehensive anti-aging. This helps “reset” the face, reduce signs of aging, and allow the aging process to continue at a slower, but consistent pace. This can have huge benefits to the patient, but as the facelift is a highly extensive procedure, it also requires a certain amount of recovery time. If you’re considering a facelift, you may be wondering how the facelift recovery process commences, and how you can help maximize your chances for a good outcome during this period. Here, we will discuss the typical recovery process, along with some tips for healing well and staying comfortable.
The Facelift Recovery Timeline
In the first few days after surgery, rest and swelling control are key. Patients can usually control much of the discomfort involved in recovery with pain medication. By the end of the first week, many patients can have their sutures removed.
After 10-14 days, many patients consider going back to work or engaging in social activities. Bruising and swelling may be present, but these can usually be minimized with makeup.
Most normal activities can be resumed, but there may be restrictions on activities such as strenuous exercise. During this period, some swelling will still be present.
During this time, there may be slight swelling still present, which will subside gradually. Most patients can see their final results after three months or so.
Tips for Healing
You can make your recovery process much more comfortable, quick and successful by planning ahead. Here are some ways to help you heal after your surgery.
Get Plenty of Rest
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll want to be sure you can get as much rest as you need without worrying about other obligations. If you work from home, don’t plan to be back to work the next day. Give yourself a chance to just rest and heal following surgery.
Prepare Your Home
You won’t feel like doing much but taking it easy right after your surgery, so it’s important to have a cozy recovery area set up. Put a plastic cover on your mattress to prevent staining that might come following surgery, and have a comfortable chair or sofa prepared with pillows. Place books, magazines, or whatever entertainment you enjoy close at hand. Make sure your refrigerator is stocked with healthful food that will not require much additional preparation. It may be a good idea to make meals in advance and store them in the freezer for your recovery. Sunlight can be uncomfortable for the first few days following surgery, so try to ensure you will not be resting in direct sunlight.
Have Some Help
For at least the first 24 hours following your facelift, you will want to have someone at your home to help you get settled and assist you with tasks that might be difficult on your own right after major surgery. If they can stay longer, all the better, but the first day is the most crucial.
Avoid Moving Your Face
Besides being painful, touching and moving your face can be detrimental to your results. Avoid touching your face if at all possible, and be gentle if you must.
Expect Swelling & Bruising
Swelling and bruising are inevitable after surgery. Unfortunately, they can be uncomfortable and obscure the results of the surgery until they begin to recede. While there is no way to prevent swelling and bruising, cold compresses and arnica can be used to keep swelling to a minimum. Keep in mind that slight swelling can subsist for many months.
After your facelift, you will need to sleep with your head elevated. This helps reduce swelling and aids in drainage. Propping several pillows up or sleeping in an armchair are typically good solutions.
Watch Your Diet
Eating junk won’t help you heal or give you better results. Fuel your recovery with nutrient-dense foods that will aid in the healing process and make you feel better faster. Stocking your fridge with these foods beforehand will help you make good choices during recovery.
The bathing you do shortly after facelift surgery should be in lukewarm water, and done with care. Follow your doctor’s instructions for when you can resume normal grooming routines, and be especially cautious around your hair and face.
Look Out for Signs of Trouble
Don’t hesitate to call your surgeon or your nearest emergency room if you think something might be wrong, such as an infection. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Listen to Your Surgeon
The most important aspect of facelift recovery, of course, is following your doctor’s instructions as closely as possible. In order for the surgery and recovery to be a success, you will need to select a knowledgeable surgeon to perform your surgery, such as Dr. Edward Buckingham, of Buckingham Center in Austin, TX. Dr. Buckingham is a respected facial plastic surgeon with the goal of helping each patient have a safe and successful surgery. Call Buckingham Center today at (512) 401-2500 to schedule your consultation.