Taking good care of yourself after a facelift is crucial for the success and longevity of your surgical results. Your plastic surgeon will give you specific instructions on what to do during your recovery and how to care for your face following the procedure. You can use this post-op instruction guide to give you a general idea of what to expect in the days, weeks, and months following your facelift.
The odds are very good that you’ll be able to go home on the same day you have your surgery. At the Glasgold Group, deep plane facelifts are performed on an outpatient basis, using twilight sedation. Here’s what to expect after surgery.
Immediately after surgery
Once your facelift is complete, you’ll be moved into a recovery room while the anesthetic and sedatives wear off. You’ll be monitored in the room to ensure that you’re recovering well. After a few hours, you’ll be discharged and sent home unless there is a safety issue.
After you get home, you’ll most likely want to rest. When resting, keep your head as upright as possible to reduce swelling. You might find that sitting in a recliner is ideal.
You can apply an ice pack to the area around your incisions starting right after surgery and continuing for about four days. Wrap the ice pack in clean gauze or a towel. Don’t put the ice directly on your skin.
Leave the ice pack on for up to 15 minutes, then give the area a 20-minute break. You can continue icing on and off throughout the day. Always give yourself at least a 20-minute break and don’t leave the ice on the skin for more than 15 minutes at a time.
If you live alone, consider asking a friend or relative to stay with you overnight after your surgery. You’ll also need to have someone drive you home from the surgical facility.
On the day after your facelift, you should return to the surgeon’s office for a follow-up. At this visit, your surgeon will examine the incisions and the treated area.
If all goes well at the visit, you’ll be able to return home and shower. You can wash your face and hair at this point, but avoid using any strong chemicals, such as those contained in hair dyes, relaxers, or permanents.
You can continue to apply ice to the surgical area and might find that taking pain relievers helps reduce discomfort.
Continue to take things easy on the third day after your facelift. If necessary, continue to apply ice packs to the area and take pain medication as directed.
After 1 Week
Before the first week is over, you’ll want to go back to the surgeon’s office for another follow-up visit. At this visit, the surgeon will likely remove your sutures.
You can resume light exercise at about the one-week point. Light exercise includes walking and using an elliptical at a slow speed. You can also lift light weights. Avoid anything strenuous, such as spin class or heavy weightlifting at this point.
Depending on the type of work you do, you might feel comfortable returning to the office after about one week. If your job primarily involves sitting, you should be fine going back to work. If your work is more physically challenging and requires you to lift items or move around a lot, you might need to wait a few more weeks.
After 1 Month
You might be pretty much back to normal one month after your facelift. You can expect to have a third follow-up appointment with your surgeon about two weeks after your surgery.
At this point, you’ll most likely feel comfortable resuming your daily activities, including more strenuous exercise and physically demanding work tasks.
What to Eat After a Facelift
You’ll likely be hungry soon after your facelift since you’ll have to avoid eating the night and morning before the surgery. Fortunately, you’ll be able to resume eating immediately following your facelift.
What you eat after your surgery can affect your recovery process. You might find it uncomfortable to chew tough foods during the first few days after a facelift. Stick with easy to eat, healthy foods.
Cooked vegetables and fresh fruit are ideal. Vegetables and fruits also help to promote regularity and give you the nutrients your body needs to heal.
Also, consider eating foods that help to combat inflammation. Fish and other foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids are a good pick. Eggs are also a good option after a facelift, as they contain protein and antioxidants.
Water will be your best friend following a facelift. Keeping yourself hydrated will help with the healing process. If you’re taking pain medications after your surgery, drinking plenty of water will help you avoid constipation.
Sleeping After a Facelift
It’s important to keep the head elevated after a facelift. You might have to change your sleeping position, at least for the first few days after your surgery.
Sleep on your back and prop your head up with a few pillows. If you find it difficult to sleep on your back in bed, you might try sleeping in a recliner.
Keeping your head elevated for the first few days after the facelift will help to keep swelling and bruising to a minimum. Sleeping on your back also reduces the risk of you accidentally pulling out or tugging on the sutures in the middle of the night.
You might experience some minor to moderate discomfort after your facelift surgery. Your surgeon can give you a prescription for a pain reliever if you would like. Another option is to take over-the-counter Tylenol for any discomfort.
Some medications can increase the risk of bleeding or lead to complications. Don’t take ibuprofen (Motrin or Excedrin), aspirin, or naproxen sodium (Aleve) for at least two weeks after your facelift.
If you regularly take prescription medications or supplements, such as herbal pills or vitamins, talk to your surgeon to find out if there is a risk of interactions or complications.
Starting the day after surgery, you can clean the sutures and incision lines with soap and water. Apply a small amount of Aquaphor ointment to the sutures, using a Q-tip. The ointment will keep the incisions moist and protect them from bacteria.
Your skin will be more sensitive to the sun following your facelift, particularly the area near the incisions. To prevent discoloration, wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 anytime you go out in the sun. To extend your results, it’s a good idea to keep up the sunscreen habit after you’ve fully recovered.
What Not to Do After a Facelift
Some things should be avoided in the weeks and months following a facelift. While you can wash your hair the next day, it’s important to avoid any strong chemicals. Talk to your surgeon to see when it will be safe to dye or style your hair again.
In the case of exercise, it’s also important to speak with your surgeon before you resume any activities. Some light exercises are fine starting a week or so after surgery but anything physically challenging should be postponed until you get the all-clear.
Contact Us for More Facelift Post-Op Instructions
Your plastic surgeon will be there for you following a deep plane facelift. If you have more questions about the facelift recovery process, we’re happy to answer them. Give the Glasgold Group in Princeton, NJ, a call at 732-838-6621.