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A facelift, medically known as a rhytidectomy, is the most widely performed and popular cosmetic procedure to battle signs of facial aging: Wrinkles, deep lines, jowls, sagging skin, marionette lines and more. It lifts the skin upward and removes excess tissue to give you a taut and youthful look of up to decade younger when performed by a skilled cosmetic surgeon.

However, a facelift is also a major cosmetic surgery and patients are often concerned about the recovery period. If all post-operative instructions are followed, basic recovery may take from 10 to 14 days, i.e., that’s when you can resume many of your most basic daily activities and exercises. But the recovery period varies for different individuals and your complete recovery journey doesn’t end once the sutures are off. You may still have signs of swelling and it may take a bit longer for your face to return to “normal,” expect that normal will be a more youthful and beautiful new you!

Following is a day-by-day overview of what you can expect during the recovery period after a facelift.

Facelift Recovery, Week 1

After the surgery, you will remain in the office for a few hours to ensure your body doesn’t have an adverse reaction to the surgery or anesthesia. The doctor will prescribe painkillers to manage pain and discomfort and after a few hours, you can have someone drive you back home.

You will be scheduled for a follow-up appointment a few days after the initial procedure. Your doctor will remove or change the surgical dressings and determine how you’re healing is progressing. If everything is alright, the doctor will apply new dressings and you can return home.

You should continue resting for the complete first week. However, your head should remain elevated, and you shouldn’t press your face against the mattress or pillow. You may start moving about a little after the second or third day. You will likely have considerable bruising and swelling for a few weeks after the surgery, but they’ll peak around the third or fourth day, after which point they will recede rapidly. You can start doing light housework as you feel comfortable with it and as the swelling starts dissipating.

Facelift Recovery, Week 2

You’ll have swelling and bruises throughout the second week of recovery as well, but it will gradually start receding. You may also experience light tingling sensations or numbness. However, these symptoms will continue dissipating through the second week of recovery, and you may start feeling quite good by the end of the week. You may even return to work 10 or 14 days after your surgery. However, you mustn’t push yourself, only doing as much as your body allows.

Facelift Recovery, Weeks 3 & 4

Your doctor may remove your sutures sometime between weeks 2 and 3, depending on how you’re recovering. You’ll still have some swelling and tightness on your face, but you’ll start looking a lot better, and the incision marks will likely be only a dull-pink at this point. You’ll start seeing real improvements on your face, despite the swelling. 

Facelift Recovery, Weeks 4+

You can resume most or all of your daily activities and exercises after about four weeks. By now, the incision marks will be barely visible and your face will start looking normal and you can enjoy your gorgeous post-facelift and youthful face. You may still notice some swelling and tightness, but these will be so mild that only you will notice them.

If at any point throughout your recovery you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the office and we will be happy to assist you.


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