Preparation & After-care

Every plastic surgeon has his personal pre-operative regimen and care plan after a facelift. While preparing for your facelift experience, you should be well-informed about your cosmetic surgeon’s routines. Rarely, a cosmetic surgeon’s approach is to just “wing it”; most surgeons understand that excellence in before and after-care is extremely important for the overall success of the facelift operation.

Recovery time from a facelift varies but is around 2 to 3 weeks. You have to be prepared for this period as you will not be accustomed to spending such a long time period away from your otherwise busy life. Having support from your significant other or a good friend is important.

Outlined are a few things you can expect – your doctors schedule may differ slightly.

Before Your Facelift

Preparations before your facelift are determined with your safety as the top priority and to ensure a smooth procedure and a fast recovery. Therefore, it is advisable to follow all of your doctor’s instructions closely. If you decide to deviate from your doctor’s recommendations, you should discuss it with him beforehand. You cannot smoke. Smokers choke blood flow through small vessels which can cause problems in the recovery after the facelift. Even if smokers stop tobacco for their facelift, they carry a higher risk for wound-healing and infectious complications. A nicotine patch or gum is also not advisable. In preparation for your facelift procedure, your surgeon will likely ask you to discontinue any medications that could cause increased bleeding and bruising, i.e. Aspirin and aspirin-like products (ibuprofen, naproxen etc.), Vitamin E, blood thinners etc. Also, because of their myriads of possible effects, most nutritional supplements are discouraged. You should continue most of your other prescription medications, especially any blood pressure, heart and asthma medications. If you take medications that could interfere with your healing, your plastic surgeon will decide with your primary care physician how to proceed.

Lastly, although some last-minute apprehension is normal, you should look forward to this procedure. A positive outlook will help you in your recovery period.

After Your Facelift

Facelifts are performed safely as outpatient procedures. After your facelift operation, you will spend some time in the day surgery recovery room. Once you feel comfortable and your physical status meets discharge criteria, you will be released home with your companion. At home, you will have a caring person with you so that you can rest to recover from the facelift procedure. Some surgeons prefer that the patient stays in the hospital for a night or two.

Commonly, your doctor will place a bulky dressing to lent support to your face and prevent collection of blood under the skin. This dressing is left in place for a few days and afterwards, it is commonly replaced by a smaller version. The exact length you will have to wear the dressing varies depending on your facelift surgeon’s experience. Some plastic surgeons will place drain tubes in your neck to collect possible blood and tissue fluid. These drains will be removed after a couple of days. You will receive prescriptions, commonly for pain medications, antibiotics and others. Some cosmetic surgeons recommend the use of homeopathic Arnica Montana for faster recovery. Hard evidence for the usefulness of this remedy is slim but some surgeons report anecdotal success.

Swelling and bruising are a normal part of the facelift recovery process but you can minimize the swelling by keeping your head elevated, even at nighttime. Icing is employed to further lessen bruising and swelling. After a few days, warm compresses can promote faster resolution of remaining bruises. In order to support your fast recovery, you should avoid exercise, straining, heavy lifting, alcohol and spicy food in the early facelift recovery phase.

A soft diet is usually recommended. Your doctor will advise you, when you can take a shower. Most patients feel much better after the hair is cleansed. Pain is commonly not a significant problem after the first 24 hours. Temporarily, your face will feel tight and you may notice some numb areas. Sometimes, there are some initial asymmetries of the face due to swelling and bruising. After 7 days or so, sutures will be removed. At this time, you may resume some regular activities such as walking outside. Exercise has to wait for 2 to 3 weeks.

Call Worcester Face Lift Specialist Dr. Fechner