A facelift (rhytidectomy) is a surgical procedure that gives a patient a more youthful facial appearance by reducing skin folds and sagging in the jawline, lower face, and middle face (including the cheeks).
After the procedure, you should look more youthful and consequently feel better about yourself. However, it is worth noting that the success of this procedure can significantly depend on your level of post-surgery care. How long the recovery will take depends on various factors, such as the extent of the surgery, your body’s natural ability to heal, your health conditioning, and the quality of care.
Therefore, you need to ensure that you follow the facelift surgery recovery guidelines provided by your plastic surgeon.
So, what will these guidelines entail?
Be Careful About Your Activity Level
Experts agree that patients can start walking and doing minor stretches as soon as possible after facelift surgery. In fact, this can minimize the risk of developing a blood clot. However, you can expect to tire quickly and will need to take it easy for the first few days. Furthermore, you should avoid strenuous activities, such as running, heavy housework, and sexual activity.
You should also not drive for at least two weeks after the surgery. However, you can return to work and your normal day-to-day activities (as long as they are not too tiresome).
Monitor Bruising and Swelling
After your facelift, you can expect swelling and bruising. However, there are several steps you can take to prevent these issues. For instance, you can place a cold pack over the surgical area. You need to do this as much as possible for the first three days following facelift surgery.
To avoid swelling, you also need to avoid bending and lifting heavy things. It is also advisable for you to sleep with your head elevated. To this end, you should consider sleeping in a reclining chair or propping yourself up with extra pillows.
Last but not least, you should avoid excessive exposure to the sun (as this can increase scarring after your facelift).
Manage Discomfort and Pain
Pain is another challenge you might have to deal with after a facelift. As such, your doctor might prescribe you pain relievers. Alternatively, some patients choose to rely on over-the-counter pain relievers like TYLENOL®.
You should avoid taking aspirin or ibuprofen during your initial recovery, as these drugs can increase bleeding.
Generally, pain after the procedure should improve with time. If the pain does not subside — or gets worse — reach out to your doctor right away, as this can be a sign of a more serious complication.
The quality of food you take can significantly affect the facelift recovery process. To optimize this time, you need to eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and avoid unhealthy food (heavily processed meals and refined sugars) as much as possible. You also need to avoid smoking and drinking until you have fully recovered.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, several factors can affect your facelift surgery recovery. The good news is that by following your doctor’s guidelines and the above-discussed tips, you can heal quickly and go back to work well within a month.