What to Expect after a Facelift

Before undergoing any surgical operation, whether cosmetic or medical, it is important to know what to expect during the recovery period. Everyone heals differently and a facelift operation is no exception. Certain physical changes are expected following facelift surgery.  Some individuals may experience all of the following side effects and others may only experience a few.  The degree to which each person is affected is variable and unpredictable.

The Recovery Process Following a Facelift

BLEEDING – Oozing of blood and tissue fluid along the suture lines is normal for several days following surgery.  Bleeding that is severe or does not stop within 10 minutes of continuous pressure should be reported to our office.

SWELLING – Facial swelling is expected and may be more pronounced 24-72 hours after surgery. Excessive swelling of only ONE side of the face is abnormal and should be reported to our office immediately.  Sleeping with your head elevated and sitting upright during the day for several days following surgery will help minimize swelling.  Most swelling will gradually resolve in 14-28 days.

BRUISING – Bruising, too, is normal.  The bruises on your face may “fall” onto your neck and upper chest before disappearing.  Most bruising will resolve in the first 14 days and may be concealed by makeup after one week.

TIGHTNESS – Facial tightness is greatest in the first several weeks after surgery, but may persist to some degree for several months.  This is due to subtle swelling in the facial tissues that will subside.  Be assured, your face will again feel “normal.”

ITCHINGNUMBNESS – Itching along suture lines and in areas adjacent to the face (scalp, forehead) is common and temporary.  A feeling that the face, neck, and earlobes are numb also occurs.  Normal sensation usually returns within weeks to months.

HEAVINESS – Your face may feel “heavy” for 4-6 weeks following surgery.  This is due to swelling and changes that occur with healing.  Use of the chinstrap will help alleviate this sensation.

ASYMMETRY – For the first several weeks following surgery your face may appear to be slightly lopsided.  This is because swelling is not symmetrical following surgery and resolves at different rates on different parts of the face.  This “unevenness” will settle out as the swelling goes away.

LUMPS/BUMPS – You may experience small lumps and bumps for a few weeks after surgery under the skin or on the incision lines.  These will resolve over time.

After Surgery: Facelift Surgery

  • All stitches will be removed in 4-8 days.
  • Wear the head wrap provided as much as possible for 1 week after leaving surgery center. Remove if skin irritation begins. DO NOT allow bandage to roll up or wrinkle under the chin.
  • DO NOT use earrings for three (3) weeks after surgery.
  • You may shower with lukewarm water starting 48 hours after surgery.
  • No heavy exercise for 4 weeks.

Schedule a Facelift with Carolina Facial Plastics!

Whether you are considering a facelift or are currently in recovery after a procedure, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Kulbersh at Carolina Facial Plastics to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Contact us online or call (704) 842-3644.

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