When you’re considering procedures to rejuvenate your face, there’s often a trade-off. The less invasive procedures, such as fillers and Botox, have the shortest recovery time and often provide results quickly. Those results don’t last for very long, however—a couple of years at most.
More invasive procedures, like a deep plane facelift, typically have longer recovery times. But, your results will also be more dramatic and longer-lasting. Knowing what to expect during the recovery process after a facelift can help you decide if it’s a procedure you want to consider.
How Long Does Recovery Take for a Deep Plane Facelift?
The recovery process after a deep plane facelift can take several months, but don’t let that scare you. The initial part of the process, which is the most intense, typically only takes a few weeks.
After a couple of weeks, you can usually resume many of your regular activities, including going to work or school and exercising. Since every patient is different, your surgeon will work with you one-on-one and give you individualized guidance concerning your recovery.
Facelift Recovery Timeline and What to Expect
What you can and can’t do after your facelift depends on how far along you are in the recovery process. Knowing what to expect after the surgery can help you plan your recovery period. For example, you’ll be able to take the appropriate amount of time off from work and can arrange for childcare or pet care well in advance.
Here’s what you can expect during the first six months following your facelift.
The Day of Surgery
We use a twilight anesthesia for facelift patients at the Glasgold Group, which is safer overall than general anesthesia. It also allows for a shorter recovery time and is often more comfortable than for patients. After the twilight anesthesia wears off and the surgical team determines you’re making good recovery progress, you’ll be allowed to return home on the day of your facelift.
Once you get home, take it easy. Relax with your head propped up in a recliner. You can read or watch TV. You’ll be able to eat normally after your facelift, so go ahead and have dinner if you’re hungry.
The Day After Surgery
The next day, you can expect to return to our practice for a follow-up appointment. We don’t use bandages or drains, so you won’t be restricted in terms of moving your face or taking care of it.
Once you get the all-clear during your follow-up exam, you can return home and wash your face and hair as usual, but be gentle. You’ll be able to shower if you wish.
You’ll likely notice some bruising and swelling the day after your surgery. It will usually persist for a few more days and might actually look worse before it looks better. Cold compresses can help to bring the swelling down.
You might also feel some discomfort in the area of the incisions after your facelift. We can prescribe pain medications or recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to help reduce any discomfort.
The First Week
During the first week after your surgery, you’ll gradually start to resume your activities. While this isn’t the time to start training for a marathon, some light activity, such as taking a walk around the block, is perfectly acceptable and actually ideal. Your surgeon will let you know what types of activities are safe to start again one week after your surgery.
You’ll most likely get your sutures removed after the first week. If you wish, you can start using cosmetics on your face again after the sutures are gone.
At this point, you’re likely to notice that any bruising and swelling are improving. You might still have some discomfort, but it might be more easily controlled with over-the-counter pain medications.
While you still might want to stay home from work at the one-week mark, you might feel comfortable starting to go out and about a bit. For example, you might go to the grocery store or run other errands.
The Second Week
You might feel almost completely back to normal two weeks after your deep plane facelift. At this point, you can most likely go back to work, especially if you work in an office or in a job that’s not physically demanding.
It’s possible that you’ll have some tightness in the surgical area at this point in the recovery process, but things should continue to improve. You can generally expect to feel confident in your appearance and are likely to see the results of your surgery emerging at this point.
After One Month
Your results will continue to improve as you approach the one-month mark after a deep plane facelift. By this point, you’ll most likely be back at work or school and will probably feel comfortable resuming your exercise routine.
Some numbness or tightness might linger at this stage, but it will usually be very minor. Swelling and bruising are likely to have completely diminished.
After Six Months
Many facelift patients see a dramatic transformation within six months of the procedure. Following the instructions from your surgeon to the letter will help your recovery period go as smoothly as possible and will help ensure that you get long-lasting results.
In many cases, people can see visible results from a deep plane facelift for 10 to 15 years.
Daily Activity After a Facelift
Having a deep plane facelift performed will mean that you need to adjust your daily activities. Fortunately, these adjustments are only temporary. Here’s what you can expect from your day-to-day activities in the weeks and months after a facelift.
When Can I Return to Work After a Deep Plane Facelift?
When you can go back to work after a facelift depends in large part on the type of work you do and how your recovery is progressing. People who work in sedentary jobs, such as in an office, can usually return to work after a week or two.
If you have a more physically demanding job, you might want to take more time off after your surgery. Your surgeon can give you a general idea of when you can go back. It might a good idea to take more time off from your job than you think you’ll need.
How Soon Can I Go Back to School After a Facelift?
If you’re in school or teaching at a school, you can generally expect to take the same amount of time off as someone with an office job.
The most significant swelling and bruising are likely to have diminished within a couple of weeks, so you might feel comfortable appearing in front of your students or classmates within that time. You can also use concealer to cover up any remaining bruising before returning to the classroom.
When Can I Resume Exercise or Weightlifting?
When you can resume exercise after your facelift depends in large part on the type of exercise you want to do. Often, light aerobic exercise is fine about one week after your facelift.
That means you can start to take walks or do other forms of light activity, such as housework or taking a gentle bike ride.
It’s usually best to postpone heavy lifting and other forms of strenuous exercise, such as training for a race, until at least a few weeks or a month after your facelift. Getting back to an intense workout routine too soon can affect your final facelift results or slow down your recovery.
Again, there are many factors that affect when you can resume exercise, so your best bet is to discuss your preferred form of exercise and your recovery process with your surgeon. They can make a personalized recommendation.
How Much Pain Can I Expect During the First Week?
Pain is a relative experience. What feels intensely painful to one person might not bother another. Generally speaking, a facelift can cause some initial discomfort, but our plastic surgeons take many steps to reduce that pain and discomfort.
That said, you can expect the discomfort to be the greatest immediately following a facelift. It should improve as the days go on and is likely to be barely noticeable after the first week. Pain medications can help ease any discomfort you experience immediately after your surgery
How Can I Prevent Scars from Forming?
During a deep plane facelift, the surgeon will make the incisions along your hairline and in the hidden creases on your face, such as by the ears, to help reduce their visibility. You can also minimize the formation of scars by avoiding sun exposure after your surgery and by not smoking.
Gently massaging the area near the incisions and following your surgeon’s instructions will also help to prevent visible scarring.
How Can I Reduce Swelling After a Facelift?
Keeping the head elevated after a facelift will help fluid drain away, which reduces swelling. You can use a cold compress to bring swelling down. Drinking lots of water and eating a low-salt diet can also help with swelling.
Learn More About the Deep Plane Facelift Recovery Process
Everyone’s facelift experience is unique. The surgeons at the Glasgold Group can talk to you about your expectations for a facelift and let you know what you can expect during recovery. We can also work with you to tailor a recovery plan that’s just right for you.
To learn more, call 732-838-6621 to set up a consultation today. Our expert facelift surgeons in Princeton, NJ, will be happy to help you plan your procedure.