When anticipating any cosmetic procedure, including facelift, it is essential to plan for the aftercare and recovery period. Although you will undoubtedly be anxious to see your results unveiled, expect some post-operative bruising and swelling to initially conceal the surgical improvements.
Here, experienced Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Charles S. Lee, MD reviews ways to ensure optimal healing, including effective management of the swelling that is an expected part of facelift recovery.
Right after facelift surgery, your incisions will be bandaged and your face may be wrapped in special bandages. These bandages apply gentle, even pressure to support the healing tissues and minimize swelling.
It is completely normal for swelling to get worse before it gets better. Swelling usually peaks about three to four days after surgery, and is often accompanied by bruising and mild discomfort. Your facial skin may also feel numb or tight as it heals. Dr. Lee can prescribe painkillers to manage the discomfort, or you may take over-the-counter pain relievers. Many patients only need medication for a few days.
Swelling begins to resolve about a week after facelift. By the second week after surgery, approximately 75 percent of the swelling should go away.
Be patient with your body as it heals. It can take one to four months for swelling to completely subside. Although your results will slowly reveal themselves, and you will look noticeably better than you did before surgery, it may take up to a year for the results to completely stabilize.
To control swelling, drink plenty of water and avoid high-sodium foods. Keep your head elevated — even while you sleep. Instead of sleeping on your sides or stomach, sleep on your back, propped up on several pillows. Some patients find it more comfortable to sleep in a reclined position.
Another useful way to manage swelling is to periodically apply cold compresses to your face. Be cautious at first, especially if you have numbness or sensory changes. Never apply ice directly to your skin; instead, wrap it in a towel or cloth.
Avoid straining, heavy lifting or bending, which can aggravate swelling. Exercise is off-limits, except for short, slow walks to boost your circulation and prevent blood clots. Smoking and direct sun exposure are also discouraged.
To learn more about facelift recovery, schedule a personal consultation with Charles S. Lee, MD by contacting the Beverly Hills office of Enhance® Medical Center today.