Making the decision to have facelift surgery isn't something that's typically taken lightly. While facelift surgery can remove visible signs of aging and lift sagging skin, it's not an overnight process — which can be discouraging to some people. So, before you have facelift surgery, it's important that you know what to expect during the recovery process so that you aren't discouraged when you don't see immediate results.
Right After Your Surgery
After your facelift surgery, it's common for your face to feel tender and tight. You might have drainage tubes near your incision points to drain any excess blood and fluids. The tubes can look scary, but it is a normal part of the healing process. You'll also have bandages on your face. Depending on the way your procedure was performed, you might not be able to see much of your face at all between the bandages. You should discuss your pain levels and medications with your doctor before leaving the hospital. Many doctors prescribe an antibiotic to help prevent infection in addition to pain killers. It's important that you follow your doctor's aftercare instructions so that you heal as quickly as possible.
After-Surgery Recovery Tips
There are several things that you'll want to do or avoid right after surgery to ensure you heal as quickly as possible, including the following:
- Sleep with you head elevated high to help the excess fluid drain and swelling decrease.
- Avoid brushing your hair so that you don't damage the incisions along your hairline.
- Avoid washing your hair until your doctor gives you the okay.
- Avoid bending over to pick things up — you don't want blood to rush to your face.
- Walk around as much as possible to encourage your blood to circulate.
- Use ice packs to help reduce swelling if your doctor allows it.
Swelling, Bruising, and Numbness
It's common to have swelling, bruising, and numbness after facelift surgery, and it will slowly subside. Typically, the majority of the swelling and bruising should subside within a couple of weeks. However, it isn't uncommon to still have some swelling in isolated areas three or four weeks post op. In fact, it can take a full year for all of your residual swelling, bruising, and numbness to disappear completely. However, after you're 30 days post op, the changes are so subtle that you're probably the only one who will notice them.
You won't see the results of your facelift surgery quickly, so it's important to keep your eyes on the prize. This way, you don't get discouraged. If you have any questions or concerns about the healing process, talk to your surgeon or a professional, such as those at Newport Center for Special Surgery, before your surgery.