Facelift Recovery – Getting Back to Normal

Facelift Recovery

Your Continued Recovery

After your facelift - What to expect as you continue to recover

It is normal to have some bruising and swelling after your surgery. The majority of your bruising and puffiness should be gone after two to three weeks. Bear in mind that people heal at different rates, so what you'll read here or on FaceForum's message boards are generalizations or somebody else's experiences. Your own experience may vary.

Your post-facelift appointments with your plastic surgeon

Most people see their plastic surgeons within a few days of their surgery. At this first appointment, your doctor will remove your drainage tubes (if used) and will check under your bandages. Expect to be swollen and bruised.

After five days to a week after your facelift operation, most of your stitches will be removed. Stitches or clips along your hairline may may be removed at the same time as your other stitches, or they may be left on for a few days longer. That area of your face heals a little bit more slowly.

Your plastic surgeon will probably want to see you several more times in the first two to three weeks after your facelift. This will help your surgeon to gauge your progress.  Then, after that, you will have a few more follow-up visits, but at less frequent intervals.

You will probably look worse than you feel after a few days. The choice of whether or not to go out in public will be up to you, although many people only venture out to go to their follow-up appointments.

Resuming your normal routine and going back to work after your facelift

The following are general facelift recovery guidelines. Your plastic surgeon will be able to give you more specific, personalized information.

Plan on resting for the first day or two. After that, you should be able to move about, but you will want to take it easy until you reach about the one-week mark.

You will need to be careful around your face so you do not irritate or pull on your incisions. Your facial skin will probably feel tender and numb, but will improve with time.

Be very careful when working with your hair. You will have incisions along the hairline and you don't want to tug on them.

For the first two or three weeks after your surgery, you will need to avoid strenuous activities. Walking and simple stretches are probably fine, but avoid anything that requires exertion or lifting. (This includes housework.)

If you have given up smoking, don't restart as it slows the healing process.

Get plenty of rest.

Avoid alcoholic beverages for the next few months.

Very hot showers, steam baths, and saunas are to be avoided for several months.

How soon can I go back to work after my facelift?

The average time off work seems to be about two weeks after a facelift. You will probably have a little bruising or some swelling at this point. Your doctor's office may provide you with instructions on how you can hide whatever bruising remains. Camouflage cosmetics is the term used to describe the products and techniques used to cover any bruising and scarring. These products are often available from your plastic surgeon's office. Camouflage cosmetic products are also available many drugstores or department stores where makeup is sold. You may also be able to use your existing makeup products to hide the fact that you had surgery. Just make sure you check with your plastic surgeon to ensure that your products won't cause an adverse reaction or irritate your healing skin.

A note on post-facelift depression

Periodic feelings of depression after facelift surgery are not uncommon. When the bandages first come off, your face will be puffy and bruised. Parts of your face may look distorted until the swelling subsides. Your face will feel stiff and your expressions and facial movements may look different at first. Most people are self-conscious about their scars and bruises. And, because your body is devoting energy to the healing process, you may find that you tire more easily.


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More information on Facelift surgery can be found by clicking on the topics below.

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