Facelift: Recovery in Four Stages
- 04 March 2014
- Dr. Nidal (Nick) Masri
A facelift, also known as a rhytidoplasty or rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure used to rejuvenate the neck and face. It is a process which takes sagging, loose skin and tightens it while also removing any excess skin. Typically, face lifts are done for people within the age group of 40 to 60 years old, but they are seen performed
all the way to the age of 80 with successful results. Commonly, we want to know how we will recover from a surgery. What should we expect after the surgery has been done? How long will it be to reach full recovery? Do I have to miss work or get a babysitter for my children? Well I have the answers you are looking for. There are four stages to a full recovery following a facelift.
The first stage will last for about 7 days post operatively. During this stage it is important to get an adequate amount of rest, but it is not imperative to remain on bed rest. You may feel drowsing and exhausted but much of that sensation, with the exception of the first day, is commonly due to the side effects of the pain medications. The first 24 hours are the only time that you should plan to have a care taker with you. Otherwise, you should be able and feel comfortable getting around and performing your typical daily routine with no problems. During days 3 and 4 post operatively, you can expect your swelling and bruising to be at its peak, but actually, you still should be able to get around just fine. Swelling and bruising can differ from side to side, but there should not be the presence of any large mass. If one does appear, it is recommended to see your physician for further assessment.
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During the second stage of recovery, days 7-14 post operatively, it is expected to have continued bruising and swelling. It is also normal to have tingling or numbness on either or both sides of your face and up to, and behind your ears. During this stage, you will see improvement but not full results. In fact, it can take up to a year to see the full effects of a facelift. Around this time of your recovery, however, you should begin partaking in light physical activity without strenuous movements.
Days 15-30 are considered stage 3 in the healing process. Within these days, you will see huge strides of improvement and see significant reduction in bruising and swelling. During these weeks, it is typical to return to work since most people experience significant reduction in swelling and bruising. Although, your face may appear a little extra tight, this is an expected result as your incisions continue to heal a little each day. During the early stages of healing, the incisions may have a pink or red appearance, but this will go away with time as well.
Stage four of the healing process is when all the swelling and bruising will completely rid themselves from you. You should gradually, over the lapse of one year obtain completely normal sensations absent of any residual bruising and swelling. Within the first two weeks, most healing will have taken place but the fourth stage is very important because you will see the full effects of the surgery and have complete satisfaction within the year. This is the time when you will truly see the amazing results and realize the previous weeks were worth it! You now can go to work, go to the gym, or out on a blind date without anyone knowing you ever had any work done. You will appear with a young, rejuvenated face!