Facelift Recovery Timeline: What to Expect
Sep 13, 2016 @ 11:57 AM — by Dina Eliopoulos
The aging process can result in wrinkles and drooping skin. If you are unhappy with these signs of aging and feel that your appearance does not reflect how young you feel inside, you may be interested in undergoing facelift surgery. A facelift can address sagging skin and smooth lines and wrinkles, rejuvenating your appearance. However, facelift is a surgical procedure and requires some time for recovery. Understanding what to expect during recovery can help you prepare for the recovery process. To receive your personalized facelift recovery timeline, schedule a consultation with Chelmsford, MA plastic surgeon Dina Eliopoulos.
The Initial Recovery: One to Seven Days after Surgery
Facelift surgery is a surgical procedure that requires time for recovery. After facelift surgery, the incisions are sutured and bandages are applied to the face. Drainage tubes may be placed to help fluid drain from beneath the tissues. If drainage tubes are placed, they are generally removed two to three days after surgery. During the initial stages of recovery, patients can expect to experience some pain, swelling, and bruising. Pain medication will be prescribed to help alleviate discomfort during the healing process.
During the first week of recovery, patients may experience temporary numbness and temporary skin discoloration. The head should be kept elevated and brisk head movement should be avoided. Incisions should be kept clean and bandages should be kept dry. Showers should not be taken until approved by your surgeon. Patients should also rest and stick to light activity during the first week of recovery. Light walks are recommended to help reduce the risk of blood clots and encourage healing. In addition, during the initial recovery, patients may need help with daily activities, like dressing and putting on shoes, since the head should not fall below the waist.
The Second Stage of Recovery: One to Two Weeks after Surgery
During the first and second weeks of recovery, bruising and swelling will likely still be apparent but should begin to lessen. Approved pain medication may be taken to reduce any residual pain or discomfort. Clean ice packs may be gently applied to reduce swelling. Some patients may feel recovered enough to return to work and their normal routine about two weeks after surgery, but strenuous activity and rigorous exercise should still be avoided at this time.
The Final Stage of Recovery: Three Weeks and Beyond
The amount of time it takes to fully recover after facelift surgery will vary depending on the type of facelift performed combined with personal healing times. In general, most patients are recovered enough to return to their regular routines within a few weeks after facelift surgery, but strenuous exercise or activities should continue to be avoided until approved by your surgeon. Although recovery may only take a few weeks, it can take several months, or even a year, to see the full results of facelift surgery. However, most patients will begin to see improvement as swelling and bruising resolve.
Learn More about Facelift Recovery
For more information about facelift surgery and recovery, or to discuss other facial rejuvenation treatments, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Eliopoulos at the Center for Plastic Surgery.