One of the many factors people weigh as they decide whether to get a facelift is what they should expect during the recovery. Interestingly, many patients say the experience is much more tolerable than they imagined.
As a facelift expert, double board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Keith Ladner has performed thousands of facial rejuvenation procedures. He uses that experience to help patients recover quickly and with minimal discomfort. In this blog post, we’ll explain what you can expect during the 30 days after your procedure.
The Stages of Facelift Recovery
Recovery following any elective surgery varies depending on several factors, including the patient’s age and overall health. However, knowing what to expect if you follow our facelift post-operative care instructions can help you get through the healing process with peace of mind.
Days 1 to 6
You’ll wake up with incisions wrapped in air- and water-tight dressings that help minimize swelling and promote healing. Expect to feel a bit unsteady and tired. After being driven home, support from family or friends is essential during the first night. Even though most patients report that the discomfort following a facelift is less than expected, pain medication is needed during the first day or two. Sleeping with your head elevated during the first week helps shorten the recovery time.
We schedule a follow-up appointment with patients within three days of the surgery so Dr. Ladner can remove the dressing and assess their progress. The body naturally absorbs the sutures. We’ll also provide instructions to clean and care for the incisions. We recommend taking short walks around your home this week to promote circulation. By the latter half of the week, many patients no longer take prescription pain meds.
Days 7 to 14
Patients can usually return to work about 10 to 14 days after a facelift. You’ll probably still have some swelling and bruising, but you can use makeup to camouflage the bruising. You might experience some tingling and numbness, but this is common and not a sign of complications. By the end of the week, facelift patients are feeling like their normal selves and doing light activities.
Days 15 to 30
Residual swelling and a sensation of tightness often remain through the first month after the surgery and beyond. But you’ll begin feeling much better, and most strangers won’t know you’ve undergone facial plastic surgery. Even though the final results can take a couple of months or more to emerge, you’ll see improvements in the contours of your face during weeks 3 and 4 post-op.
You can plan to resume your exercise routines and return to an active lifestyle that includes social and professional engagements. There may be some minor discoloration at the incision sites, but this continues to fade.
30 Days and Beyond
It’s important to remember that this timeline is what we typically see, and your personal experience may be different. Also keep in mind that if you’re getting a facelift before attending a significant social event, such as a wedding or class reunion, you should schedule the procedure at least a few months in advance to ensure you’re fully healed by the day of your special event.
Dr. Ladner often combines a facelift with other facial rejuvenation procedures to create the comprehensive results that patients want. If you’re thinking about a facelift, neck lift, or another facial cosmetic surgery procedure in the Denver area, request a consultation with Dr. Ladner using the online form or call us at (303) 253-7686 to schedule an appointment.