Your Facelift Recovery: What to Expect

Written by Dr. Sean Maguire on February 3, 2020

Facelift recovery

Facelift is a dramatic way to change the way the world sees you, restoring the youthful look that lives on in memory and imagination.

Just as it represents major change in your life, facelift is also major surgery. Knowing what to expect, and what you can do to ensure a flawless recovery, will help increase the likelihood of a satisfying result. Below, experienced Louisville plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Maguire of the Physician’s Center for Beauty explains what will happen as your facelift heals, and time recedes.

Phases of Recovery

When you awake from general anesthesia, you may feel cold and slightly nauseated. This is typical of any major surgical procedure. Patients often report experiencing a range of emotions as their body begins the healing process.

As the anesthesia wears off, you will feel tightness and tenderness near your incisions. The area will be covered with a dressing that will also hold in place tubes to drain excess blood and reduce swelling.

Swelling builds during the first three to four days after surgery. It is accompanied by bruising and some pain, which can be managed with medication prescribed by Dr. Maguire. Swelling and bruising won’t entirely disappear for one to four months.

During this phase you may feel some minor numbness and tightness of the skin, but these side effects will not last long. Pain should never be severe; in fact, you will probably only need pain medication for a few days. The development of anything more than moderate pain is a sign of a possible complication.

Patience Is a Virtue

It’s important not to rush your recovery. Plan to stay home for one to two weeks. You should be able to resume most normal activities in a month, although your face will continue to heal for up to a year. You will notice an immediate change from your facelift, but the final result won’t fully emerge for many months.

As soon as possible, you should begin walking around to boost circulation, support optimal healing and prevent blood clots. Straining, lifting and bending should be avoided, however. By the second day, you will be able to wash your hair, and you can use makeup again in about two weeks. Not surprisingly, you will need to sleep on your back with your head elevated during this delicate period.

Eat healthfully, drinking plenty of water and avoiding high-sodium foods that can aggravate swelling. If your procedure included incisions in the mouth, you will need to follow the special diet your doctor outlines. As a general rule, you should avoid alcohol, niacin and aspirin products. Get plenty of rest, and follow the postoperative routine recommended by Dr. Maguire. You will return to Physician’s Center for Beauty the day after your surgery, and again within the week for removal of sutures.

Your body will heal at its own pace, but an aware and engaged patient is a key part of the process. Make sure you take your antibiotics to ward off infection, along with any other medication your surgeon may prescribe. Stay alert for any warning signs, such as rising body temperature, facial redness and excessive pain. Call our office immediately if any of these symptoms appear.

To learn more about facelift or other procedures offered by Dr. Maguire, we invite you to contact the Physician’s Center for Beauty, at your convenience.

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