Cosmetic surgery continues to grow across North America and the rest of the world. the facelift is a procedure that has been used for decades to tighten the skin and limit wrinkles. Most patients understand what kind of results they can expect when undergoing a facelift but few understand the journey they face after their facelift procedure. What a facelift journey looks like is different for every patient because of the unique nature of modern surgical techniques.
Recovery Week One
Your recovery starts as soon as your surgeon completes their work. As soon as you leave the surgery, you will notice you have staples at the site of your incision. Your surgeon will have a cut to allow your skin to be pulled tight. The tightening of the skin allows wrinkles to be removed, with your skin texture not changing. On the first day after your facelift, you will feel pain, with your neck and chest showing signs of bruising. The Mayo Clinic reports the pain you feel following a facelift will be mild to moderate. Pain medicines are prescribed by your doctor for the first week after your facelift.
By the second day after your facelift, you will be able to remove any gauze bandages around your neck and face. You should have organized for friends and family to help you during the first few days after surgery. Help will be needed to keep drains in your wound clean and clear. One or two days after your surgery, your surgeon will complete an examination to check you are clear of infection and safe to return to your daily life.
Surgeons recommend halting the use of prescription medications between the fourth and sixth day after your facelift. The bruising and swelling caused by your facelift should have peaked, with pain already beginning to subside by the end of the first week. By the sixth day after your surgery, most patients are permitted to begin to exercise and complete chores. You should keep your head and neck raised when sleeping using two or three pillows, according to My Health Alberta.
Recovery Week 2
The second week after your surgery will be easier to navigate. By seven to eight days after surgery, your pain levels should be manageable without medication. There will still be some pain if you exert yourself too much, but the majority of patients continue to limit their activities. Your recovery will include itching around the site of the incision made by your surgeon when completing your facelift.
Some patients have reported the bruising and swelling they first felt in the days after surgery continued into the second week of recovery. Between 12 and 14 days after your facelift, you will begin to feel like yourself and see the results of your surgery. The invasive nature of facelift surgery can take several months to fully recover from. The full effect of your facelift will not be visible for several months.
Recovery Weeks 3 & 4
There will be drastic improvements regarding the look of your face in the third and fourth weeks after surgery. A facelift will leave bruising and swelling for several weeks after the procedure is complete. Your facelift will begin to provide results in the first three to four weeks, without becoming completely beneficial for several months. The bruising and swelling around your face and neck will continue to be seen during these weeks. The itching that you feel may continue around the site of the incision, but all these effects of surgery will begin to fade three to four weeks after surgery.
By the third and fourth weeks after surgery, you should be able to return to your everyday life, with exercise and work returning almost to normal. The incision site will remain the most visible sign of your facelift, with a red to pink color as the tissues return to normal. Upon returning to normal life, you should feel confident the visible signs of a facelift are almost impossible to see,
After the First Month
The first month after surgery is the most visible for outward signs of your facelift. By the time the first month has been completed, the worst of the pain should have subsided. It is possible to see swelling and redness around your face, but this should fade away over the next few weeks. The swelling and redness you see on your face can take up to a year to return to normal. The swelling and redness you see will fade away during the first year, with most facelift candidates seeing visible results in the first two months. Your surgeon will schedule regular appointments during the first few months after your facelift surgery.
Short-term Side Effects of Surgery
There are several short-term side effects of facelift surgery to be aware of when you are preparing for your recovery. One of the most commonly seen side effects of facelift surgery including numbness of the skin around the incision site. There are several facelift surgery side effects to consider, with pain medications used to treat short-term pain.
Care After Your Facelift Surgery
Your surgeon will provide you with the details of your self-care after surgery. Your surgeon will explain you need to eat soft foods for the first week after your procedure. The jaw and neck will be painful for a few days, meaning you will need to limit the stress you place on your mouth and neck.
Ice packs can be used on painful areas of your face to help reduce swelling and inflammation. Your incision site will usually crust over with a scab that should be left in place until it falls off naturally. Men should take care when shaving because of the possibility of pain and damage to the incision site.