A facelift is a surgical procedure that can take up to 10 years off your appearance. The secret to a successful facelift (besides selecting an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Andrews to perform your procedure!) is to prepare for a safe and successful recovery process. When it comes to recovering after a facelift, there are a few basic facts you need to know.
Recovery Begins Before Surgery
Believe it or not, the recovery from your facelift actually begins long before you undergo your procedure. Your body will heal much better and faster if it is in optimal health prior to surgery. This means that if you are a smoker, you should quit at least six weeks prior to your procedure. Not only can smoking affect how you respond to anesthesia, it can also negatively impact how well your incisions heal after surgery.
Another factor that can impact your body’s ability to heal is the medication you are currently taking. Some medications can increase bleeding during and after surgery, which can also create more bruising after a procedure. Even over-the-counter medications like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen can impact how your body responds to surgery, so you will likely be asked to stop taking these types of medications for a period of time before your procedure.
Managing the First Few Days
The first few days after a facelift are usually the most challenging. During this time, you may experience moderate discomfort, as well as bruising and swelling. Some patients also have drainage from the incision sites for the first day or two.
These more uncomfortable side effects of surgery will not last long, fortunately. Most patients find the discomfort subsides considerably within a couple of days. Drainage will also likely stop within that timeframe. Although bruising and swelling will likely persist for longer, they usually peak within about 48 hours before beginning to subside. Most patients are completely free of bruising and a large portion of the swelling within 10-14 days. Swelling many linger in some patients for months, however.
The Importance of Following Instructions
After your facelift, you will receive instructions that will make your recovery go as smoothly as possible. Pain medication will be prescribed, along with directions on how to take it to keep you comfortable during those first few days after. You will also be given instructions on how to minimize swelling, including keeping your head elevated and using cold compresses or ice packs for the first two to three days.
Other post-operative instructions may include caring for incisions by changing dressings regularly and wearing a compression garment that can help with bruising and swelling. You will also have a number of follow-up appointments with Dr. Andrews and his staff so that he can monitor your recovery progress. The more carefully you follow your instructions, the safer and more successful your recovery will be.
Don’t Rush the Recovery Process
One of the most important things you can do to ensure a positive recovery is to avoid rushing the process. Make plans before your procedure to have food in the house and some restful activities you can enjoy during those early days of healing. Arrange for child and pet care if necessary and give yourself plenty of time off work and other obligations so your body has ample time to heal fully. We say that most patients are socially presentable 2-3 weeks after surgery and appropriate for events (weddings, reunions, graduations, etc.) 2-3 months post-operatively.
A facelift is a surgery that boasts a relatively high rate of patient satisfaction and long-lasting results when it is done properly. To learn more about this procedure, contact Dr. Andrews at PCI Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery today at 855-338-0261.