How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Facelift?

By Dr. Christopher Cote and Dr. Nicolette Picerno on April 4, 2019 under Facelift

How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Facelift?

When it comes to wrinkles, sagging skin, jowls, and other facial problems, a facelift can give patients a more youthful look. Also known as rhytidectomy, this surgical procedure can restore the contour of your face, remove excess skin and fix areas where there is too much or not enough fat.

Because a facelift is a surgical procedure, it is important to understand the recovery process if you are considering having one done. The final results of a facelift take a few months to become apparent, but fortunately, the recovery process is much shorter than that.

Recovery times vary among patients due to the type of procedure performed, the patient’s age, and the patient’s general health status. Following your surgeon’s directions for your postoperative care is crucial in making sure your recovery goes smoothly. Doing so will also ensure that you get the best results possible from your procedure.

The following is an explanation of what you can expect during the first month after your facelift:

The First Week of Recovery

During this first week, your postoperative care is essential in safeguarding against infection.

First Day

Enlist a family member or friend to bring you home after your facelift. You will most likely feel sleepy and unsteady. Be sure to take your prescribed pain medication so you can manage your discomfort.

Second Day

Around day two you should see your surgeon for a follow-up visit. They will evaluate your incisions and any swelling you may have. After redressing the area for you, they will send you home, but not before reviewing postoperative care instructions with you.

Third Day

By the third day, you should start feeling better. Rest is still recommended, but you may want to get up and move around a little. By this day or the next, bruising and swelling should reach their peak. If you are still in discomfort, keep taking your pain medication.

Fourth through Sixth Days

At this point, your swelling will start to go down. Many people no longer need their prescription pain medication. If you feel well enough, start moving around more. You can do light housework at this stage.

The Second Week of Recovery

By the end of this week, many patients start becoming a little more active. You may feel ready to return to work, or you may try more housework and light exercise, such as walking. Bruising and swelling around the affected areas will likely still be present. Do not be alarmed if you also feel tightness, tingling or numbness. These occurrences are common and not a cause for concern.

The Third and Fourth Weeks of Recovery

By the end of the third week, your sutures should be removed. Suture removal may happen earlier depending on how your healing process is coming along. You will start feeling much better, though you may have a bit of residual swelling. You may start to notice improvements in the contours of your face. By the end of this period, many of the outward signs of the procedure will be hardly noticeable, though incision sites may still have a pinkish hue to them.

After the First Month

At this time, you should be back to your normal activities. Your new look will start becoming more apparent. While you may still have slight bruising, tightness, numbness or swelling, it will be minor enough that others most likely will not notice it. These symptoms may last up to a year in some patients, but should not cause any problems.

Each patient is unique and will have their own recovery experiences. The above information is simply a guideline. You will have the best results if you are sure to follow your surgeon’s postoperative care instructions. Communicate with your surgeon throughout the recovery process, asking questions and bringing up concerns. If you do this, you will be on your way to a satisfying outcome. To learn more about your facelift recovery and the procedure process, schedule your consultation with FacesFirst today.