What Is the Recovery Process after a Facelift?

middle aged woman smiling after her facelift recoveryLike all surgical procedures, a facelift is accompanied by a recovery period while your body heals. There will generally be some downtime required during the first few weeks after your procedure. Before moving forward with your facelift, it’s important to understand the recovery process and make sure you are comfortable with everything involved.

Dr. Larrabee will discuss the facelift recovery process with you in detail during your consultation and be able to answer any questions you may have. The information below will help you gain a basic understanding of what to expect during your recovery.

Plan Ahead for a More Comfortable Recovery

We recommend that you do a little prep work prior to surgery in order to ensure your recovery starts smoothly and comfortably. Before your facelift, you should:

  • Arrange for a ride home – You’ll still be under the lingering effects of anesthesia after your facelift and it won’t be safe to drive. Make sure you have someone who can take you home after surgery.
  • Make sure you have help around the house – Routine activities may be difficult for the first week of your recovery. You may want to have someone around the house to assist you during this time.
  • Prepare some easy meals – The last thing you’ll want to do after facelift surgery is cook. That being said, your body will need proper nutrients as it heals. The best way to ensure you receive the nutrition your body needs is to prepare a few meals prior to surgery that can be easily reheated. Soft foods that can be chewed easily are the best options following a facelift.
  • Prepare a comfortable resting space – You’ll need to get plenty of rest after surgery, and it’s important that you set up one or two comfortable recovery locations around your house. Make sure you have extra pillows so that your head remains elevated, blankets for comfort, and entertainment options readily available.

Initial Weeks of Recovery

The most important phase of your recovery occurs during the first two weeks after surgery. It’s crucial that you follow Dr. Larrabee’s aftercare instructions in order to ensure your body heals properly and you achieve the best possible outcome.

During this time, you should expect to experience:

  • Mild bruising and swelling which will gradually subside over a few weeks
  • Mild discomfort which can be managed with pain medication

Dr. Larrabee recommends that you take the following steps to promote proper healing:

  • Use a cold compress to help manage the bruising and swelling.
  • Keeping your head elevated will help reduce swelling, but it’s important to use a small towel roll when elevating your head. Big pillows will push your head too far forward, which isn’t ideal for your recovery.
  • Avoid sun exposure or tanning beds for at least two weeks after surgery.
  • Light walking is recommended as soon as you feel up to it in order to promote proper blood flow. However, you should wait to incorporate other activities into your routine until Dr. Larrabee tells you it is safe to do so. In general, it can take as long as two weeks before you are ready to resume regular daily activities and return to work. Resuming exercise and other strenuous activities will require a longer waiting period.

How Long Until I Experience My Final Results after a Facelift?

There will be some residual swelling for several months after a facelift, and you will need to be patient during this time. Often, it can take three to four months to experience your final results. However, most of our patients find the wait to be worthwhile, as they often look up to 10 years younger once their final results are visible.

The good news is that your final results should last a long time. Many facelift patients find that it takes around 10 years before they experience a significant return in their signs of aging. Keep in mind that this timeframe may vary based on:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • How extensive your signs of aging were before your facelift
  • The technique used for your procedure
  • Your lifestyle (excessive sun exposure, smoking or alcohol consumption may cause you to age at a faster rate)

Contact our Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Please contact the Larrabee Center for Plastic Surgery using the form on this page or call 206-386-3550 today to schedule a facelift consultation. We serve patients in Seattle and the surrounding areas of Washington.

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