Once your procedure is completed, a bandage will gently be placed around your face to minimize swelling and bruising. A thin tube may be present to drain any excess blood that may collect under the skin. Before being released, you and an accompanying family member, friend or caregiver will be given specific instructions that may include:
- How to care for the surgical site.
- Medications to apply to take orally to aid healing and reduce potential for infection.
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in overall health.
- When to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
Initial healing will include swelling and may include numbness and discomfort that can be controlled with medication. Your skin will likely look bruised or discolored. In addition, facial movements may be temporarily restricted. These are common conditions.
Your plastic surgeon will instruct you to keep your head elevated at all times until initial swelling has subsided. You will be provided specific postoperative instructions including cleansing of your face and hair. Follow all instructions carefully; this is essential to the success of your outcome. A return to light, normal activity is usually possible within a few days of surgery.
For the most part, facelift incisions are well healed within a week. You will be ready to return to work and light, normal activity sometime between 2 to 4 weeks. Cosmetics can usually camouflage any bruising that remains.
Healing will continue for at least several more weeks as swelling resolves and incision lines continue to improve. You must practice diligent sun protection until the healing process is fully complete. Continue to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.
It may take several months for swelling to fully dissipate and up to 6 months for incision lines to mature. Life-long sun protection will help to maintain your rejuvenated appearance by minimizing photo-aging or sun damage. In addition, a healthy lifestyle will also help extend the results of your rejuvenated, more youthful appearance. Most patients find that the benefits of their facelift results are long-lasting, even as they continue to age.