Is the Facelift Recovery Painful?

Facelift is a surgical procedure that lifts and tightens loose, sagging skin on the face and neck, creating a more youthful expression. It is one of the most popular and asked-about procedures at Enhance® Medical Center, the plastic surgery practice of Charles S. Lee, MD. Many candidates are particularly interested in the recovery period and what they can expect in terms of pain or discomfort.

Common Aftereffects of Surgery

Bruising and swelling are two common facelift aftereffects. These effects usually get a little bit worse in the days following surgery before they start to subside. The worst of the bruising and swelling usually occurs three to four days after surgery, and it can take several weeks for swelling and bruising to completely disappear. Sometimes swelling and bruising can cause numbness, tingling or a tight sensation in the face and neck; these side effects are usually nothing to be worried about.

Some patients experience mild to moderate discomfort after facelift surgery, but severe pain is rare. Dr. Lee prescribes pain medication to help relieve any discomfort. Most patients who take the pain medication only need it for a few days, or they opt for an over-the-counter pain reliever.

Caring for Yourself after Facelift

Following Dr. Lee’s post-operative instructions and taking good care of yourself can help minimize the likelihood of experiencing pain or discomfort.

Avoid any strenuous activity or exercise that elevates your heart rate until Dr. Lee clears you to resume these activities. For the first few days after surgery, you should rest as much as possible.

Getting enough sleep after surgery is crucial. Make sure you keep your head elevated, even when resting and sleeping, by sleeping in a recliner or propped up on a few pillows.

Eat a balanced diet full of nutrient-rich foods. Avoid foods that are high in sodium, as they can exacerbate swelling. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Be sure to follow all of Dr. Lee’s instructions for keeping your incisions clean to prevent infection.

Attend all of your follow-up appointments, as follow-up care is important to your safety, well-being and surgical outcomes. If you have questions in between appointments, don’t hesitate to call Dr. Lee’s office.

Plan to take one to two weeks off from work to recover. Do not push yourself to return to the office before you feel ready. By the end of the second week after your facelift, you will probably be ready to go back to work and perhaps ready to socialize.

After about a month, you should be back to your normal routine and will be able to see visible improvements in your facial appearance. It can take up to a year for any residual bruising or swelling to resolve.

If you have additional questions about facelift or facelift recovery, Dr. Lee invites you to schedule a consultation at our practice. Call 310.271.5954 or send us an email today to request an appointment.