Good things come to those who wait. When it comes to a facelift, that can definitely be the case. The surgery’s results can last for a decade or even longer. But in exchange for having long-lasting results, the surgery also has a bit of a lengthy recovery process, especially when compared to injections and fillers, which provide quick, but not long-lasting results. While you might be ready to go and take on the world a day or two after your surgery, it’s important to take your surgeon’s advice and follow the schedule for recovery.
During the first week after your facelift, you’ll want to take it as easy as possible. Going to work or school is definitely off the table during those first seven days. Instead, you’ll want to stay home, resting as much as possible. Your face will most likely be bandaged for the first couple of days. By the seventh day, you’ll most likely return to the doctor to have any stitches taken out.
Activities should be limited during that first week. Bruising, swelling and puffiness are to be expected, and in some cases, they can get worse before they get better. It’s usually recommended that you keep your head elevated during the first week to help reduce swelling and bruising. Sitting in a recliner and sleeping on your back, propped up by pillows, is usually advised. While you can’t hit the gym for a major workout at this point, you might feel up to going for a short, leisurely walk after the first day or two.
Week two after a facelift is when many patients are able to resume a number of regular activities. You’ll most likely be able to head back to the office by around the tenth day after the surgery. It’s worth noting that if you have a job that requires a lot of activity, such as bending and lifting, it might be recommended that you wait even longer before heading back in.
While you can get back to work and might be able to start doing other activities, such as your daily errands by week 2, your face won’t be completely back to normal at this point. It’s common for people to have some traces of bruising left or to have some slight swelling still.
By the end of the second week after the surgery, you might be able to resume taking certain prescription medications and certain over-the-counter medicines, too. Your surgeon will give you the specific details on when you can resume certain drugs. Even if you feel fine, it’s still a good idea to wait until you get the all-clear from your doctor before restarting any medicines you stopped for the surgery.
Technically speaking, you can also start smoking again at the end of the second week after your facelift. But since you’ve already gone a full month or longer without using any tobacco or nicotine products, it is usually in the best interests of your health to keep off of the cigarettes and tobacco products, even after the two week deadline is up.
Week 3 and Beyond
Starting in the third week after your facelift, your life will begin to get back to normal. You’ll most likely be back at work, settling back into a regular groove. Your surgeon might also give you the go-ahead to start working out again, usually around week three or four.
As far as your incisions go, they will be beginning to fade and to become even less noticeable. Swelling and bruising might linger, but should be less obvious by this point. If you weren’t a back sleeper to begin with, you can probably resume your regular stomach or side-sleeping position at this point, too.
Taking good care of your skin in the weeks and months after your facelift can help improve your results and help you maintain those results. Sun protection is a must, not only in the weeks during which your incisions are healing, but at all times. Your surgeon may advise that you stay out of the sun for some time after surgery. Once you can go out in the sun, it’s usually recommended that you wear a sunscreen. You might also consider treatments such as injections or a chemical peel to help you maintain a refreshed appearance.
Fourth-generation Ohio plastic surgeon Dr. Stephen Smith is available to answer any questions you have about a facelift and about the recovery period afterwards. He practices in two locations. For a consultation at the practice in Gahanna, Ohio, call (614) 702-7342. To schedule an appointment in Columbus, Ohio, call 614-678-7180 today.