Plenty of people decide to put off having a facelift because they are concerned about the lengthy recovery process. While the recovery from a facelift is considerably longer than from non-surgical procedures such as fillers or Botox, the results also tend to be more dramatic and to last longer, making the time it takes to recover worth it in the end.
The immediate recovery after a facelift is about 10 days long. After that time, many patients feel ready to go back to work. You might still have some swelling and bruising in the area, and that might continue for another few months. In most cases, people are able to start working out again after three or four weeks and find that their lives are pretty much back to normal.
While you will need to devote some days to downtime and to resting up after the procedure, there are a few things you can do to make your recovery go as smoothly as possible and to cut down on the amount of time you’re off of your feet.
Watch Your Medications Before Surgery
Before your surgery, your surgeon will most likely review with you any medications you take daily or on a regular basis. Certain medicines, even those that are sold over-the-counter and seem harmless, can have an impact on the results of your surgery and your healing time.
Medications that thin your blood, such as aspirin and other common pain relievers, should be avoided in the days leading up to the surgery, as they increase your risk for bleeding during it and as you heal. Other pills that can thin your blood and delay healing include certain herbal supplements and vitamin E.
After your surgery, only take medication if your surgeon tells you it’s OK to do so. Your doctor will most likely prescribe medication to help you cope with any discomfort. If you want to take a different pain reliever than what’s been prescribed, double check with your surgeon before doing so.
Watch Your Diet
The better you eat before and after a facelift, the better your recovery will be. A diet that features plenty of vegetables and fruit, as well as lean protein, will give your body the nutrients it needs to heal itself. Hold off on eating a lot of sugary treats, which have little to offer nutritionally, and salty snacks, which can make swelling worse.
If you don’t currently drink a lot of water, try to increase the amount you consume before your facelift. Replace any sodas or other beverages with a glass of water, for example. Talk to your surgeon about drinking alcohol before or after surgery. He or she will give you specific instructions on when it is okay to enjoy an alcoholic beverage again.
Lying flat or putting your head down in the first few days and weeks after your surgery will make swelling worse. To keep swelling down, make every effort to stay upright after your facelift. Invest in a comfy recliner so that you can sit back and relax while keeping your head up. Put a few more pillows on your bed, so that when you sleep, your head is elevated.
While you’ll want to hold off on going for a run, vigorous bike ride, or swim until your surgeon says you’re good to go, moving around somewhat the day after your surgery will help you feel back to normal more quickly. Make an effort to get up and walk around the next day. You don’t have to go far, around your home should suffice. Try to get up and move every few hours to keep your joints from getting stiff or your muscles from getting too weak.
Along with walking, you can stretch out a bit to get your blood flowing and help speed up your recovery. Stand up and lift your arms above your head or hold them out to the side and rotate them in circles, for example. Talk to your surgeon about what types of movement are safe to do in the first days following the procedure.
At the Naderi Center in Virginia and Maryland, Dr. Jessica Kulak is a face specialist who regularly performs facelift procedures. To learn more about the surgery and what you can expect during recovery, call the practice to make an appointment. Dial (703) 481-0002 in Virginia or (301) 222-2020 in Maryland for a consultation today.