Recovery time is one of the biggest concerns people have about opting for a face lift procedure. Nobody wants to be out of commission for a long time, and the thought of facing the world with facial bruises can be scary. It is important to understand that facelifts, like all surgeries, do take some time to heal. It is also important to remember that every patient is different. But for most patients, the noticeable aspects of recovery disappear relatively- and you can go about your business with confidence. If you are considering a facelift, here is what you can typically expect in terms of recovery.
Immediately After Surgery
When you wake up from surgery, you’ll be very groggy and may even be nauseous. This is perfectly normal. You may also feel extra emotional. Many patients wake up and cry, and that’s ok. It’s just the after effects of your anesthesia.
As you become more aware of your surroundings, your face may feel a bit tender. You may also have a full dressing on your face to help reduce swelling, and some patients may have one or more drainage tubes to help remove excess blood and fluid. It’s important to get the proper instructions for changing your bandages and/or returning to the office to have your drains removed. Your doctor will give you written instructions, since you’ll probably still be a bit groggy.
When You Get Home
When you arrive home and your medication begins to wear off, you will experience some discomfort and maybe even some pain in the hours and days immediately after your surgery. Take any over the counter or pain medication as directed to make yourself feel more comfortable. It is also important to take any antibiotics that may have been prescribed to prevent infection.
The First Few Days
In the first three days or so after your surgery, you will likely see bruising and swelling. This is a natural part of healing. Just as you bruise and swell after surgery on an internal organ, your face will experience the same thing. This bruising and swelling is in no way an indication of what your face will look like after you heal. Typically the swelling and bruising begins to dissipate inside the first 7-10 days.
It is important to get up and walk around as you heal. Moving keeps the blood flowing, which is important to the healing process and can prevent potentially fatal blood clots from forming in your veins. But don’t do anything strenuous like lifting heavy objects or engaging in housework. Short walks around the yard or the block should be enough.
Within Two Weeks
You will be able to drive, go back to work, and generally live life as normal one to two weeks after surgery. Your individual plan will be based upon your doctor’s recommendations. Ask your doctor before you go back to wearing makeup or doing your hair, as he may want you to wait a bit longer. Your face may still be a bit swollen after the first week, but most patients are comfortable doing their basic daily tasks at this point in their recovery.
The First Few Months
It can generally take a few months for all of your incisions to fully heal and for you to get used to your new appearance. But even though you may notice minor swelling in the first few months, odds are nobody else will notice at all.
Keep Your Appointments and Watch For Red Flags
As you go through the healing process after a facelift, it is important that you keep your follow up appointments with your surgeon so that she can monitor your healing process. And it is critical that you call your doctor immediately if you experience excessive pain, bleeding, or an elevated body temperature. Every procedure is different and every patient is different. Follow all of your doctor’s instructions. Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water, and make sure you get up and move a bit during the day, and you’ll likely experience a typical facelift recovery, and you’ll be ready to show off your younger-looking self in no time.