Tips for a Successful Facelift Recovery
If you are bothered by the increasing number of wrinkles, creases, or drooping features of your face, a facelift procedure may be an excellent way to reduce these signs of aging. With an experienced plastic surgeon, a facelift can tighten your skin and facial musculature, removing years of apparent age from your face.
At our Manhattan practice, we want your cosmetic experience to be exceptional, from the initial consultation to your end results. After surgery, every patient will need to take time for recovery and healing to achieve the best results possible. We therefore offer the following tips to help you through the recovery process.
The First Few Days After Surgery
In the first few days following surgery, it’s important to get adequate rest and refrain from unnecessary physical activity. During this time, try to keep your head elevated as much as possible, avoiding lying down or reclining. When sleeping or relaxing, elevate your head with additional pillows in order to promote circulation and thus healing.
It is also during this time that the side effects from surgery will be most prominent. Swelling, bruising, and discomfort are the most common side effects throughout the first week, although severity varies among patients. To reduce swelling, apply an ice pack or cold compress for 15-minute intervals over the first 48 hours. By keeping swelling to a minimum, you can also minimize accompanying bruising and soreness. For additional pain management, both prescription and over-the-counter pain medication are effective, depending on the patient.
Although it is vital to keep your face clean and free of infection, avoiding washing it or your hair for the first 24 to 48 hours. Afterward, use a skin-sensitive soap and baby shampoo to avoid irritating your skin. Be sure to check with your doctor regarding your individual recovery timeline and when you may resume certain daily activities.
What to Avoid Throughout Recovery
By taking the right precautions during recovery, you can avoid unnecessary damage to your skin or health complications. The following things should be avoided until otherwise directed by your doctor:
- Hot water: When showering or washing your face, use lukewarm water. Similarly, avoid steamy environments such as saunas.
- Sun exposure: Stay out of the sun as much as possible, as your face will have increased sensitivity to heat and radiation. When going outside, apply sunblock, but do not apply sunblock on any open incisions.
- Strenuous activity: Although patients should be walking and moving around to help circulation, they should not engage in demanding physical tasks. Exercise and heavy lifting should be avoided completely until directed.
- Tobacco use: Smoking and chewing tobacco should be avoided in the weeks prior to and following surgery, as tobacco use limits healing and increases the risk of infection.
- Alcohol use: Alcohol use should also be suspended following surgery, as it may cause additional bleeding. Likewise, the interaction between alcohol and post-surgical medication can result in additional complications.
Any surgical procedure poses a risk of infection, but this risk can be largely mitigated with the right care during recovery. First and foremost, incisions should be kept clean. After the first day or two, once incisions have begun to heal, it’s important to regularly but gently wash the area. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding the removal and/or replacement of bandages and surgical dressings. You may also be given a special antibacterial ointment to apply periodically.
If swelling, bleeding, and pain persist or increase, it may be symptomatic of an infection, as is any inflammation around an incision. Call your doctor immediately if you have reason to believe an infection is present or forming.
Schedule a Consultation
From start to finish, we are devoted to your well-being and satisfaction. If you are interested in facelift surgery or another one of our cosmetic treatments, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Foster.