Last Updated on April 8, 2023 by Tabraiz
Over time, age can impact your appearance. If sagging skin and other changes have begun to damage your self-confidence, you might consider getting a facelift. But before you make that decision, be sure you understand the healing process! Here’s what you can expect.
1. Swelling And Bruising
Just like with any surgery, facelift surgeries will cause bruising and swelling as you begin to heal. These symptoms tend to be at their worst three or four days after the surgery. However, facelifts take a while to heal completely, so you’ll likely notice bruising and swelling for several weeks after the surgery. Over time, they will become less noticeable.
If swelling is especially bothersome, your surgeon might suggest using cold compresses on your face. Cold compresses are safer than using ice or ice packs directly. The skin on your face is very sensitive post-surgery, and ice and ice packs can cause painful ice burns that ultimately delay your healing. Different doctors will have different recommendations for aftercare for bruising and swelling, so make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions exactly!
2. Follow-Up Care With Your Surgeon
Once you leave the operating room, your surgeon will still monitor you to make sure healing is going as expected. Typically, you’ll have a follow-up visit a day or two after the procedure. Your doctor will change your dressings and check swelling and incisions to make sure everything looks normal. How often you need follow-up care will depend on your surgeon and the exact procedure you get. Surgeons often will see you a week after the surgery and then do follow-up visits one month, three months, and six months after the fact.
3. Taking Time Off Work And Other Activities
Most people will have enough pain for the first few days after surgery that they will need to rest. If you feel well enough by day four or five, your surgeon might tell you it’s ok to move around a little bit. Most people go back to work and can handle walking and other relatively light activities by the end of the second week.
With a minimally-invasive procedure like a ponytail facelift, you might find that you feel well enough to get back to your normal activities faster. Be sure to check with your surgeon first—if you rush back into things, you might disrupt your healing process. That may cause delays in healing and even scarring!
4. Avoiding The Sun
Being out in the sun has several health benefits. But during your facelift recovery, your doctor will likely tell you to stay out of the sun or to at least protect your face from sun exposure. Being out in the sun may make scarring look more noticeable. If you need to go outside, use good sunblock and wear a hat!
5. Changing Your Sleeping Position
When you’re thinking about post-operative instructions, you might not even consider how your sleep may be affected! Lots of people prefer sleeping on their sides, but doing this can actually delay healing. When you keep your head elevated as much as you can, you can reduce swelling.
So to make sure your recovery goes smoothly, it’s wise to sleep with your head elevated. You don’t need to sleep sitting upright—even a 30-45 degree angle should be enough to keep swelling at a minimum. Using a wedge pillow is one way to keep your head elevated, although you also could try a recliner if you have one.
6. Not Immediately Washing Your Hair
This one might not be a major issue, but it’s still worth keeping in mind! To minimize irritating your incisions, you’ll probably need to avoid washing your hair for at least a day after the surgery. Be sure to consult with your surgeon, as they may recommend going for a longer time without washing your hair. Most surgeons also suggest going at least six weeks without having your hair cut or dyed.
Now that you have a sense of the healing process, you’ll be better equipped to decide whether or not a facelift is for you. A facelift is certainly an investment, but it’s a great step toward looking and feeling like yourself again.