The results that can be achieved with a surgical facelift can be exceptional and long-lasting, so it comes as no surprise that more and more people are undergoing the procedure each year. Unlike temporary, noninvasive treatments such as fillers and injectables, the effects of a facelift are not always immediately visible and there is a significant recovery time associated with the procedure. While patients tend to tolerate the post-operative period relatively well, it is important to have realistic expectations and make plans for the first several weeks accordingly.
The board-certified plastic surgeons at Austin-Weston, The Center for Cosmetic Surgery are dedicated to providing the highest level of patient care and service, starting with education. During an initial consultation for Northern Virginia patients considering a facelift, the expert team at Austin-Weston will take the time to evaluate your case thoroughly, answer all of your questions fully, discuss your goals, and explain the procedure and recovery timeline in detail.
What should I expect in the first 30 days after a facelift?
The most noteworthy aspect of facelift recovery is that it can take up to a year for the full results to be realized. Typically, however, patients begin to see satisfactory results in about one month. Things will continue to enhance for many months after that, but around the 30-day mark, most patients are comfortable and happy with their new look.
In the first 24 hours following a surgical facelift, rest is imperative. Patients will likely need prescription pain medication and will also be fairly groggy from the procedure, so it is highly recommended that arrangements are made to have full time help for the first day and night after the surgery. After two to three days, your plastic surgeon will evaluate your healing progress and likely change your surgical dressings. Swelling and bruising will be present and usually peak around this time. In general, patients begin to have some relief from the pain around day 4 to 6 and start to notice a decrease in visible swelling and bruising. Most men and women discontinue pain medication within the first week and begin to resume light household activities, but it is important to follow your surgeon’s postoperative care instructions carefully.
During the second week of facelift recovery, you may be scheduled to have your sutures removed, but the timing of this can vary depending on the specific procedures that were performed, your healing progress, and other factors. The experienced and knowledgeable team of board-certified plastic surgeons at Austin-Weston, The Center for Cosmetic Surgery will advise patients accordingly. Around the end of week 2, many Northern Virginia facelift patients are ready to return to work and engage in very light physical activities, such as walking.
The healing process really takes off between days 15 – 30, with the results of your facelift starting to take real shape. Most of the swelling will subside, and your new and improved facial contour will become much more apparent. It is normal for patients to continue to experience some degree of tightness, tingling, numbness, and residual swelling even after the first 30 days, but this typically resolves on its own and is very mild.
While the first 30 days of facelift recovery generally follow a similar path for most patients, it is important to remember that each and every procedure is unique, as is each person, so postoperative instructions and timelines may vary.
How can I speed up my recovery?
Unfortunately there is no real way to speed up the natural healing process, but there are some things you can do to make your recovery from a facelift as easy, smooth, and successful as possible:
- Get plenty of rest: Particularly in the first 24 hours and throughout the first week after a facelift, your body needs a great deal of rest to be able to heal properly. It is not recommended to remain sedentary, of course, but you should ensure that you are getting an adequate amount of sleep and taking it easy during the day.
- Stay hydrated: Whether or not you have recently undergone a facelift, it is always beneficial to stay hydrated. Following a surgery, drinking plenty of water will help the natural processes of the body – including healing – to occur more efficiently. Hydration is also vital for the health and appearance of the skin in general.
- Follow your doctor’s orders: By far the best way to ensure a quick and easy recovery – and the best results possible – is to follow the post-operative care instructions given by your doctor. The board-certified plastic surgeons at Austin-Weston have performed countless successful Northern Virginia facelift surgeries and have extensive knowledge and expertise in all facets of the procedure, including the recovery period.
Am I a good candidate for facelift?
A facelift can be appropriate and incredibly effective for men and women across most age ranges. In general, facelift candidates should be in relatively good health, non-smokers, and have no contraindications to surgery or anesthesia.
The best way to find out if a facelift is right for you is to be evaluated by the award-winning surgical team at Austin-Weston, The Center for Cosmetic Surgery in Northern Virginia. Call our office to schedule your consultation today and learn more about how a facelift procedure can enhance your look, improve your confidence, and change your life.