The first question patients ask when considering any facial cosmetic surgery is “what is the recovery period?” We all have busy lives and very few people have the downtime to fully recover before appearing in public. Believe it or not, facelift recovery periods are not as bad as most would think. It generally takes about 5-7 days to look “socially acceptable.” During this period, most patients describe the experience as painless and often only need an over the counter pain medication. After 7-10 days, depending on the surgical technique, stitches are all out and makeup can be applied.
If you have a big event, such as a wedding or high school reunion, you will want to give yourself a full two weeks to heal properly. After this two week period, bruising is minimal and swelling will be mostly subsided. At this time, patients can continue with their normal physical activities. However, residual swelling may take longer to fully settle. Patients may also experience pinkness along the incision lines with some irregular firm areas on the face. These are normal to the healing process and will disappear with time.
Patients will also experience numbness for quite some time after a facelift. This is normal and related to the surgical technique used to lift the facial tissue. The nerves repair over time and numbness gets better over a period of 2-3 months after surgery up to 18 months. Nerves regenerate and grow at approximately 1mm a day but other factors such as age, genetics, and general health can affect the growth process. Taking proper care of oneself is very important when recovering from facelift surgery. I advise a well balanced diet with proper protein intake and a daily multivitamin including vitamin C.
It is important for patients considering a facelift to be well informed of the surgeon’s credentials, technique, and healing plan before undergoing surgery. Choosing a dual board certified facial plastic surgeon is the best way to ensure long lasting, natural results.
Post provided by Benjamin C. Stong MD