Facelift surgery, or rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic procedure that targets facial rejuvenation and tightening by removing excess facial skin, lifting underlying facial muscles and removing wrinkles and fine lines.
Although it is common knowledge that the results of a facelift can be very transformative, many patients wonder what they can expect during the recovery process. If you’d like to learn about the recovery process, this article provides an overview of the periodical changes facelift patients can anticipate after their procedure.
If you’d like to have an idea of what the end result of a facelift might look like, check out this before and after photo gallery: https://ivogwanmesia.com/photo-gallery/facelift/
Stages of Post-Facelift Recovery
Following facelift surgery, here are some typical recovery changes to expect:
Immediately after the facelift surgery, your face will be wrapped in bandages to minimise swelling and bruising. A few drainage tubes may be attached to your face to drain excess blood and fluid. After the surgery, you can go home, followed by a caregiver.
You’ll likely experience the worst pain and discomfort on the first and second days and need to use pain medication. On the second day, a follow-up visit will most likely be scheduled. Your doctor will change your dressings, remove the drains and examine your incisions.
By the third day, you should feel less discomfort but still need a lot of rest. Swelling and bruising will be prominent for the first 4 to 5 days, after which it should begin to get better. Lay down with your head elevated, avoid strenuous activities, and follow the post-operative care instructions provided by your surgeon.
Swelling and bruising will gradually subside during the second week post-surgery, and you may notice some initial improvements in your facial appearance. However, it’s essential to note that your face will still be healing, and complete results will not be evident at this stage.
Your stitches may be removed, and you can typically resume light activities to get your blood flowing. You may feel some tingling, numbness or tightness, but don’t be alarmed, these are all common occurrences. Most importantly, continue prioritising rest and avoiding activities that could strain or put pressure on your healing tissues.
Week 3 to Week 4
By the third and fourth weeks, most visible swelling and bruising should have subsided, revealing more noticeable improvements in your facial contours. You are likely to start feeling more comfortable and confident in your appearance.
Some residual swelling, tightness and numbness may persist at this stage, particularly around the neck and jawline. Incision lines may continue to fade, and it’s essential to protect the skin from sun exposure and follow any scar care recommendations from the surgeon.
You can get to your normal activities at this stage, but you should still avoid extremely strenuous exercises to prevent injuries.
Week 5 to Week 6
Around the fifth and sixth weeks, you should experience a significant reduction in swelling, and your facial features will continue to look more natural and refined. The majority of the incision lines will be well-healed and less visible. You can always use makeup to conceal any visible lines or colouring.
You can gradually resume your regular exercise routine at this point, but it’s crucial to consult with your surgeon before engaging in high-impact or strenuous activities. Your skin is likely extra sensitive, so proper sun protection and care are essential to prevent hyperpigmentation.
Week 7 and Beyond
By this time, you should be enjoying the full benefits of your facelift. There may still be some minor swelling, which might take about a year to subside fully and is nothing for you to worry about. As the months pass, your incision lines will continue to fade and blend into the face’s natural contours, and your skin will settle into its new position. The final results will become increasingly apparent.
You can typically resume all normal activities, including vigorous exercises.
To maintain the longevity of the facelift results, you should adopt a diligent skincare routine, including the regular use of sunscreen and moisturisers. Try to avoid excessive sun exposure and smoking to ensure prolonged results.
A facelift procedure is a life-changing experience that calls for patience during recovery. Patients must adhere to their surgeon’s postoperative instructions carefully, show up at all follow-up appointments, and express any concerns or queries throughout the healing process. This will help you maximise the effects of your facelift and enjoy a renewed, youthful, and natural-looking appearance for many years.