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The Facelift Recovery Process and You

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Published in Recovery

Interested in a facelift, but not sure about the recovery process? Lots of people think of recovering from plastic surgery as months and months of pain and bed rest. But is that really the case?

Facelifts, like many other procedures, are surrounded in myths but don’t worry, most procedures don’t delay your life for months at a time. In fact, you’ll probably be surprised how straightforward facelift recovery really is!

How long does it take to recover after a facelift?

First things first—everybody and every body is totally different. You have to account for your age, overall health, amount of work being done, and the skill of your surgeon to get an accurate picture of your facelift recovery.

But with that said, facelift recovery doesn’t take as long as you think. Facelifts are outpatient procedures, meaning after just a few hours you’ll be ready to go home and continue the recovery process on your own terms.

But with any surgery, you will experience some pain and discomfort after the procedure.

So, how do you manage facelift pain and scarring?

Your face is a very sensitive area, so you might be thinking that pain after your surgery will be borderline unbearable. But it’s really not that bad.

First of all, your sutures will be in places easily hidden either with your hair or makeup. However, it’s important to keep these scars out of direct sunlight for at least a year so they can heal properly (and become barely visible).

You’ll probably be taking pain medication for about a week after your surgery, but after that you’ll only experience slight discomfort and tenderness (and not for much longer).

Of course, your surgeon will explain exactly what you need to do ahead of your procedure—don’t worry!

What does a typical facelift recovery period look like?

Your recovery may vary, but on average here’s what patients can expect after their facelift:

  • Day 1: The first day after your procedure, you’ll need someone at home to help out with everyday tasks.
  • Week 1: During the first week, you’ll likely need to use prescription painkillers as your face heals. Your sutures may be slightly itchy, which is normal. You’ll notice swelling and bruising, which is also normal.
  • Week 2: You should begin to see much of your bruising and swelling begin to fade, although not completely. You may be embarrassed to be seen in public (it’s really not that bad!) but you’re encouraged to undertake light exercise like a walking routine to stay active—bed rest is not required!
  • Weeks 3-4: By now your incisions should be making great progress—it’s at this point when most people feel comfortable enough to return to work. Remember, your incision scars and bruises are still healing! Don’t be discouraged if your results aren’t 100% perfect yet.
  • Year 1: While you’ll see significant improvement by the end of the first month, your swelling and scars won’t be fully healed for an entire year. Yes, this is a long time to wait, but your face is very sensitive—don’t worry about looking perfect right away!

Not so bad, huh? Returning to your normal activities doesn’t take nearly as long as people think! And you want to know something else? You’re probably reading and thinking “Wow, I really don’t want to wait a whole year to see results.” So let us clarify:

You’re going to see great results by week 3. At this point, the most noticeable side effects of your procedure will be vanishing, and all that’s left is the new, younger-looking you.

When should you seek medical attention after your facelift?

While modern facelifts are exceedingly safe, complications can arise during your recovery process—though they are rare.

Seek medical help ASAP if you experience any of the following:

  • A large bulge on either side of your face
  • Fever
  • Unusually high pain on either side of your face
  • Extreme itchiness around your sutures or elsewhere on your face and head
  • Bruising or swelling that increases or doesn’t go away

Again, these symptoms are rare. Pay attention to your body—if something just doesn’t feel right, get help.

Feeling overwhelmed about facelifts?

Choosing a surgeon is a tricky process—you need to be 100% sure your doctor has your best interests in mind, both for the procedure and afterward.

A good surgeon can make you look great. But Dr. Jones wants you to feel great, too.

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