The recovery from the facelift is characterized by more swelling than pain. Because the face is very visible, that swelling keeps patient out of view for at least one week, and possibly two weeks, depending on the patient’s level of desired privacy. Every patient is different, and below is a typical outline of the recovery period from a lower facelift procedure.
Right after the surgery (day one): the surgery is sometimes performed under anesthesia, and sometimes under local anesthesia…right after the surgery, you will be placed in a bulky dressing to keep the swelling under control. The discomfort stems from the tightness felt by the patient as well as some incisional pain. The pain is usually well controlled with some oral narcotic medication. After observation, you will be sent home with an adult companion.
The first night: Icing the area helps, as well as constant elevation. Sleeping in a reclining chair or in a bed with minimum of three pillows is recommended to keep the head above the heart and minimize swelling. The head is wrapped elaborately in a very bulky dressing. Sometimes swelling spreads to the eyes and you may have puffy eyes even though no surgery has been performed on the eyes.
The Day After the Surgery (day 2): While the pain has subsided generally at this point, the swelling continues. Often it reaches a maximum around the second day after surgery. Eating can be hampered by the bulky dressing and the new tightness around the throat from tightening the muscles, but drinking is easy and foods such as yoghurts and soups are also easy to take. This is a good day to spend at home, icing the area, and relaxing.
Day 3: A visit to see Dr. Khalifeh is typically scheduled around this point, and the bulky dressing which is a bit soiled with some oozed blood will be removed. If you have a drain, this will be removed typically at this time. The postop check will ensure that you don’t have any large hematomas or infections. A few sutures may be removed at this point too. You will be placed in much less bulky compression strap.
Day 4: you are starting to feel much much better, but you are still very swollen and possibly bruised. Going out of the house in “disguise” with a hat, a scarf, and sunglasses is a strategy employed by those that are feeling good but don’t want anyone to know they have had surgery. the pain is improved.
Day 5: a bit less swelling and bruising, improving every day
Day 6: continued improvement
Day 7 or so: Another visit to Dr. Khalifeh, check up and removal of sutures/staples and evaluation for any fluid accumulation.
Day 8: many return to work. You will look more or less presentable, but it will still be noticeable that you have had surgery. At this point a dichotomy is created between aptients who feel comfortable telling others they have had a procedure, which can return to work, and those seeing more privacy, who can certainly work from home but it would still be obvious that surgery has been performed. The incisions are best hidden by wearing the hear down. Scarfs and turtle necks help hide the swelling in the neck
Day 9-11: continued improvement
Day 14: At this point, it is hard to tell you have had surgery (other than the nice results!!)
This is an outline created by observation of many patients thru our practice. This cannot be taken as a guarantee that your recovery will be as smooth or as difficult as noted above. Some people heal faster and others slower. Note that complications can occur and the risks of surgery has to be evaluated. Complications can prolong the healing period, or cause signs (such as nerve palsy) of the procedure that can be obvious longer than typical. We hope that by providing info you will have the tools to make a more informed decision.
Return to Facelift Homepage