Facelift Surgery Recovery Suggestions and Recommendations
The recovery period after the facelift surgery can be tricky, if you are not aware of the things you need to do and the others you need to avoid.
To get optimal results after your facelift surgery, make sure you choose a highly experienced plastic surgeon. Dr Michael Kernohan is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon performing the procedure in Sydney and Southwest Suburbs.
In this blog, Dr Kernohan shares some of his facelift recovery tips and a timeline for what to expect after facelift surgery.
Download Dr Michael Kernohan Facial Rejuvenation Guide
Timeline for Recovery after Facelift Surgery
1. First Day After the Facelift Surgery
So you wake up and you don’t remember a thing about the facelift? It’s pretty normal. You might feel a bit groggy and nauseous from anaesthesia. Your face will be covered in bandages. In certain cases, the surgeon may use drainage tubes to drain excess fluid.
Your surgeon might keep you in for a day to ensure everything is fine. Make sure that you have someone to drive you home after the facelift surgery. It is advised to ask a family member or a friend to stay with you for at least the first two days after surgery.
Once the pain killer wears off, you will begin to feel mild pain and a certain level of discomfort. The medical staff will give you painkillers after the surgery.
2. A Few Days After a Facelift Surgery
You will feel uncomfortable but will not feel any significant pain. However, keep taking your pain medication on time. Swelling and bruising feel more pronounced during the first few days after the surgery. Do not worry as it is a fairly normal part of facelift recovery. You will not see the results of the facelift in the initial days of the surgery. It is also very common to experience tightness around the neck area. Facelift surgery involves tightening up your skin. Hence, it will take some time for your face to relax and adjust to the changes.
Most people become anxious during this phase of recovery. Try to stay calm. It will help the recovery phase go by quicker. If you can, get someone to help you with the house chores for the initial days of recovery and rest as much as possible.
Once you feel a little better, you can start walking around the house. It will help prevent blood clotting. Avoid all kinds of activities that involve physical exertion for at least a month.
3. One Week after a Facelift Surgery
One week after the surgery, you can stop taking pain medication after discussing it with your surgeon. You will slowly start to feel better than you did immediately after the surgery. Start taking ten to fifteen-minute walks around the house twice a day. You will still have swelling and bruising all around your face and neck area. Patience is the key to a smooth recovery. You are probably eager to see the final results of the surgery. But hang in there, you are getting there. Keep sleeping on your back with your head in an elevated position. You can also use ice to reduce swelling on your face. Make sure to wrap it up in a towel and apply it for a few minutes at a time.
4. Two Weeks after a Facelift Surgery
So, you have hit the two-week mark, you have crossed an important milestone of your facelift recovery. You can return to work if your job is not physically demanding. If it is, you might still want to stay at home for another two weeks. Bruising and swelling will reduce significantly by week two.
As the numbness fades away, you might start to feel minor tingling sensations around the incisions. At this point, you can resume taking supplements or blood-thinning medications. You will also feel the urge to scratch your incisions, avoid it at all costs. Keep applying the topical ointments your surgeon has given you.
5. One Month After a Facelift Surgery
Your recovery has almost come to an end. You will be able to do almost all the tasks around your house along with gentle exercises. However, you should avoid heavy lifting as well as strenuous exercises. Bruising might be completely gone by week two. You can easily go out in public without wearing makeup. Some patients also report tingling and tightness. It is very normal and you shouldn’t worry about it. Essentially, you will begin to feel like yourself.
6. 2 Months After a Facelift Surgery
Congratulations! You have finally reached the end of your recovery period. At this point, you can return to your normal life. You can start with your usual exercise routine.
Preparing for a Smoother Recovery after Facelift
Preparation is the key to a smooth recovery. The more help you can get around the house, the better it is. With that being said, the right preparation will still save you a lot of trouble and allow you to heal quickly. Here are a few things you need to do in advance:
Go Shopping and Stock UpIt’s time to do a bit of shopping. Stock up your fridge with ready-made meals. You can also do meal prep and prepare in advance. Make sure to include plenty of proteins, fruits and vegetables, reduce the salt content and create multiple batches. Try to have some easy to cook and digest food options for the first week or two.
Get Your Recovery Clothes ReadyGo through your wardrobe and select plenty of comfortable clothing options that you will be wearing throughout the recovery phase. Choose blouses, shirts and sweatshirts that can be opened from the front. It is best to avoid clothes that are slipped on over your head. If you don’t have enough clothing options, you might want to do some shopping.
Prep Your Recovery RoomPrepare your resting space ahead of time. Make sure to choose a room that is comfortable and can accommodate all the items that you are going to need for several days. If possible, get a recliner. It will allow you to sleep comfortably without the need of stacking pillows under your head. Prepare a table that is within your arm’s range near your bed. Keep your phone, charger, tissues, medications, ointments, water, magazines, remote control for TV/AC, and everything you will need during your recovery.
Pre Surgery Medical TestsGet any lab pre surgery tests done that are required by your surgeon. Nobody wants to be running around during the last week before the surgery.
Take Care of What You ConsumeA month before the surgery, you need to give up smoking and drinking entirely. Also, as directed by your surgeon, stop taking blood-thinning medications as well as any herbal supplements. If you take certain medications regularly, it is important to discuss them with your surgeon. Make sure none of the medication interferes with the surgery.
Adopt a Healthy DietIt is important to take care of your diet before the surgery. Eat a nutrient-rich diet that is low in sodium. Include proteins, vegetables and plenty of fruits. Drink lots of water as well. Taking care of your diet ahead of time will give you the strength you need for recovery.
Build Your Support NetworkGet your support system in place. It will keep you inspired. Ask a family member or friend to stay at home with you during the initial days of recovery. It will keep you motivated and allow you to feel supported.
Warning Signs to Watch for During your Facelift Surgery Recovery
Here are a few signs you should look out for during recovery. If any of these persist, you must call your surgeon right away.
- If you experience extreme swelling after a month on one side of your face, call your surgeon.
- Experiencing unbearable pain even after taking painkillers? Contact your surgeon immediately.
- You notice a pus-like discharge from your incisions.
- Your stitches become loose or are coming out
- You experience bleeding from incisions at any point during a recovery phase
- If you experience blood clotting, it’s time to get some help. A great way to spot blood clotting is when you experience swelling on one side of your body
- Contact your surgeon if bruising persists after one month’s time frame
FAQs about Recovery After Facelift Surgery
Here is a list of frequently asked questions about facelift recovery:
How can I speed up my facelift recovery?
- You can speed up your recovery by following all the post-operative instructions closely and taking good care of yourself.
- Use ice on your face to minimise swelling
- Do not bend over or lift heavy things
- Sleep on your back and keep your head in an elevated position
- Try not to touch your face excessively
- Apply all the topical ointments
Can I sleep on my side after the facelift?
- You can start sleeping on your side in about two to four weeks as per your surgeon’s advice.
Can you talk after a facelift?
- You can talk after a facelift. However, it is best to avoid talking or talk as little as possible for the first 24 to 48 hours after recovery.
How bad does a facelift hurt?
- During the surgery, you will not feel any pain as the surgery is done under anaesthesia. After the surgery, you will experience mild to moderate pain which can be easily tackled with the help of pain killers.
How do you wash your hair after a facelift?
- You can wash your hair about 48 hours after the surgery with a mild shampoo and luke warm water.
How long does the pain last after a facelift?
- Most of the pain will subside in about three days. For some patients, the pain will last for a week. Your surgeon will prescribe you pain medication to combat the pain. Make sure to take them as prescribed.
How long should you wear a compression bandage after a facelift?
- The plastic surgeon will tell you exactly how long you need to wear a compression bandage as this can be different from one patient to the other.
How long should I wear the chin strap after a facelift?
- You must wear a chin strap for at least two weeks post-surgery.
How long do facelift scars take to heal?
- Your scars will heal in about six months’ time frame and acquire a white hue. It might take up to a year for the scars to fade away completely.
How long does the face stay swollen after a facelift?
- It can take up to six to eight weeks for the swelling to go away completely.
How long does it take for a facelift to settle?
- Your face will start to look fairly normal in about four to six weeks after the surgery.
How long will my face be numb after a facelift?
- It is common to experience numbness for up to six months after getting a facelift.
What should I eat for optimal recovery after facelift surgery?
- Eat plenty of proteins, fruit and vegetables that are rich in fibre. Avoid processed foods that are rich in sodium. Also, drink lots of water and liquids. Good nutrition helps with faster healing and better-looking scars.
Further Reading about Face Surgery with Dr Kernohan
- Read Dr Kernohan’s Facelift Surgery Page
- Read Dr Kernohan’s Mini Facelift Surgery Page
- Read Dr Kernohan’s Blog about Recovery after Facelift
- Read Dr Kernohan’s Blog about Ageing Face? – SMAS vs Deep Plane Facelift
- Read Dr Kernohan’s page about Facial Fillers: Non-Surgical Solutions for Facial Concerns
- Read Dr Kernohan’s Blog about Neck Lift Options – Types of Neck Lift Surgery
- Read Dr Kernohan’s Blog about What is a Ponytail Facelift
- Read Dr Kernohan’s Facial Feminisation Surgery Page