A facelift is a classic and effective procedure for reducing signs of aging, including wrinkling, sagging skin, and facial fat loss. The facelift does not always refer to one single procedure but rather a variety of techniques that can be customized to suit the patient’s needs.
While not all facelifts are as in-depth as the traditional full facelift with a neck lift, any facelift surgery is a major operation, requiring a fairly extensive recovery following the procedure.
Wondering if a facelift is right for you? While downtime is not necessarily the most important factor when choosing a treatment, it can have an impact on your final decision. Here is what recovery from a facelift might entail, should you decide to move forward with the procedure.
Facelift Recovery Phases – Immediately After Surgery
After surgery, your surgeon will place a dressing on your incisions, which may be replaced by a lighter dressing soon after. Sometimes patients require temporary drains to be put inplace so as to avoid fluid buildup. These will be removed within a few days, in most cases.
Immediately following surgery and for at least 24 hours afterward, you should have someone stay with you to look after you and help you get comfortable and set up. You will need to keep your head elevated to prevent swelling as much as possible. While a small amount of bleeding is fairly normal following surgery, be sure to contact your surgeon if there is a large amount of bleeding or if it continues.
The First Week
During the first week, you may feel uncomfortable and probably look worse. There will be quite a bit of swelling and bruising, and your task during this time is to take it easy and rest as much as you can. Take care of your incisions and do not jostle them, particularly as you sleep. It may be easier to sleep in a recliner, in order to keep your head elevated.
The Second Week
People usually are able to return to work after the second week, although there may still be lingering swelling and bruising. This can often be hidden with makeup, but check with your doctor before using cosmetics on your healing face.
The Third Week & Beyond
By this point, you will still feel tender and swollen, but the bruising should have faded by now. You may still have lifting and exercise restrictions during the first month or two, but you should be starting to get back into your normal routine. Swelling will gradually fade, and your face and skin will become less sensitive over time.
What to Avoid
After surgery, you will need to get a lot of rest, and avoid a number of activities you may normally engage in. Here is a partial list of habits and activities that are typically restricted for some time after facelift surgery:
- Heavy lifting
- Very hot showers, saunas & steam rooms
- Sun exposure
It is crucial to follow all directions provided to you by your surgeon, even if they prove difficult to maintain. Remember, a few weeks of inconvenience is worth the reward of a beautiful result from your surgery. Your surgeon will provide you with detailed information about your recovery before the surgery, and be sure to ask any questions or voice concerns beforehand. Call your surgeon or emergency services at any point if you feel like something is wrong.
Choosing a Facelift Specialist
Aside from taking care of yourself before and after surgery, one of the best ways to help maximize your chances of a good surgical outcome is to select an experienced, knowledgeable specialist to perform your operation. Dr. Robert A. Mounsey of Revesse in Toronto is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon with a great deal of experience. If you’re looking for top-notch care in the Toronto area, call 416.438.2499 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mounsey.