At Utah Facial Plastics, we see a lot of patients for facelift surgery and strive to set expectations and prepare patients for all they need to know pre and post surgery. We’ve also compiled some direct advice found on RealSelf.com from people all over the country that have had facelift surgery and offer some great extra advice!
1) Finding The Right Plastic Surgeon
“If you need an electrician, don’t hire a plumber. I found a facial plastic surgeon. He is a specialist, and only works on the face.” By Brown55
“Fancy addresses are just geography and have nothing to do with the results you get. Also, you are paying for those high rents. Go to the best surgeon, not the best address.” By yogajan
2) What To Ask During Your Facelift Consultation
“When interviewing the doctor’s patients, focus in on the stitch sites. If there are visible scars after eight months, most likely the doctor did not take the time to do the best job”. By David22
Prior to selecting my doctor, I interviewed several plastic surgeons, got price quotes and spoke with women I personally know who have had “work” done. My doctor took “before” photos and he sat down with me and on a laptop showed me how I would likely look after a facelift. He also had me look into a special mirror that showed how your face isn’t symmetrical. That was funny! In other words, he prepared me that everything won’t be PERFECT just as my original face wasn’t perfect. By Blondpeache
3) Types of Facelifts
“The old facelift just pulled the upper layer of skin, which I call the “wind tunnel” look. Today attention is placed on the underlying tissue as well.” (by David22) See more about the SMAS layer on our FACELIFT page.
“Sometimes a less invasive procedure (laser tightening) is appealing because it is less invasive, but the results tend to be short- lived because the underlying muscle and fat is not corrected: Just the skin is tightened.” (by Misty H.)
“The mini face lift may not give you the full results that you are looking for, when wanting to restore your looks. Yet, it will give you a nice improvement. So, you may want to opt for a full face lift, depending on your age and target goal.” (by hansonscreen)
4) Preparing for the Big Day
“I saved my pennies and did my homework. I read lots of books on cosmetic surgery — the best of which was “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Cosmetic Surgery” by Charlee Ganny (awesome!).” (by Boston9280)
“I bought an incline pillow to help sleep in an elevated position. Good investment. It supports your lower back. Order from JC Penney or get one at Bed, Bath & Beyond.” (by debcartier)
5) Pre-op Shopping List
- Button-up pajamas
- Handheld mirror to hold up behind your head and look into your bathroom mirror, so can see where to apply the ointments and peroxide to the areas behind your ears and neck, especially if you don’t have anyone helping you.
- At least four clamp hairpins, to hold your hair out of the way so you can see to apply ointments and peroxide.
- Peroxide, neosporin, Q-tips & baby shampoo – You won’t believe how fast you’ll go through them. The peroxide keeps away infection and helps the healing process, apply using a Q-tip around the ears and chin areas.
- Decent ice bag
- Dove soap for washing your face after the first week. Skin will become dry at first and this will help, since you can’t use harsh soaps or lotions. (by Angellady65)
“I drank EAS shakes (you can buy a four pack at Walmart for $5). Low calories (110), lots of protein, vitamins, etc. Goes down nice with straw on the first day. Good nutrition. I plan on living on these for the next week. Along with soup, coffee and anything else I can get in my face with minimal chewing.”(by debcartier)
6) What Will Happen to Your Hair?
“Do something drastic with your hairstyle beforehand. Everyone seems to think it’s my haircut that makes me look different. I had a guy come up to me again just last night and tell me that my new style makes me look 10 years younger. I wanted to smack my husband when he started snickering!”
“Get your hair cut and colored a few days before you have the procedure done. It will be six weeks before you will be able to have either done again.” (by Angellady65)
7) Tips for Home Recovery
“I was required to spend one night in the surgery center with nurses in attendance and released early Saturday morning to my son’s care. My son left on Sunday afternoon and I pre-arranged to have a lady who takes care of plastic surgery patients stay with me for two evenings. After that, I was fine.” (by Blondepeache)
8) What to Expect Immediately Post-op
“I looked like I was in a Halloween costume! Bloody dreadlocks (description of the drains)!” (by Blondepeache)
“I have learned not to look in the mirror every day. Give yourself time to heal.” (by David22)
9) How to Control Swelling
“Keep cold compresses on the swollen areas for the first two weeks instead of just the first few days. I did this and most of my swelling was gone after the first week and my bruising was almost gone after the second week. My doctor was very surprised. Keep the chinstrap on as much as possible, if you are given one. It isn’t comfortable but it does help keep the swelling down. I used one across my forehead too, like a headband, to help with swelling there also.” (byAngellady65)
“Swelling of your face is a weird thing. First off, swelling falls down your face, so your neck will be the last to relax. Swelling also tends to go from one side of your face to the other. Wait it out.” (by truckin 916)
10) Healing Takes Time
“Healing is a slow process and it takes a long time to know the final results. At first you will look overdone, because the skin will eventually relax. Also it takes a while for swelling to go down. You have to be patient. Results will continue to develop up to a year.” (by Misty H.)
“I was worried about areas on my face that have since shown improvement. If the areas are showing improvement, try not to worry (I know, easier said than done). I had some difficult moments. I had a great doctor who kept reassuring me and I am looking better and better.” (by Dider)
11) Pain Expectations
“Write down when you take your meds. My doctor gave me prednisone, antibiotics and painkillers, though he recommended I use the extra-strength Tylenol first and then use the heavy duty ones for any big pains.” (by debcartier)
“After surgery the doctor gave me drugs that really knocked me out, and I remember little about coming home or settling into bed. The next few days were a trip. I have read that facelifts are “almost completely painless.” That you only need Tylenol. NO NO NO. I was in pain — not excruciating — but enough that I used my pain meds to sleep through much of it for the next few days. My face really swelled up and I looked like an egg (!!). But a young egg – yes, it was evident immediately that my jaw was tight and my cheekbones restored (thanks to a temporal lift with the face lift).” (byBoston9280)
“The pain is different for each individual. I had incisions from the back of my hair line to my sideburns on up to the top of my head. When the skin is lifted off and stretched back into a different place the nerve endings are affected. This is what causes the long healing period. It takes time for the nerve endings to reattach, so in the meantime there is a very uncomfortable tightening feeling over the top of the head and a feeling as if you have a brick for a forehead.” (by Angellady65)
12) General vs Local Anesthesia
“I’ve recently undergone an upper and lower mini face lift. I was wide awake for the entire procedure. There was no pain, during or post procedure, apart from a mild headache for a few days.” (byhansonscreen)
“My procedure was a mini facelift. I was awake. I was able to speak with the surgical team throughout the procedure. I was given a Valium and some pain medication pre-op, and I was given a prescription for pain medication to take home, which I took one in order to rest the first night.” (by Diana Professional surgical nurse)
13) Going Back to Work
“After the surgery, I won’t lie, it hurt. But nothing I couldn’t handle. I was back at my office in less than one week. I work for myself and could take it easy. I wouldn’t suggest going back that soon for most folks.” (by Signwench)
“I’m a realtor working from a home office so I was working within three days and went out for an appointment within one week. I looked pretty rough so I just told people why. Most people were really interested in the procedure!” (by Blondepeache)
14) Take Photos to Track Your Results
“Take pics so you can see the progress or lack of” (by Dider)
“When I went into the O.R. there was a picture on the wall of a lady. I wondered who that old tired looking lady was. When I went for my first follow-up appointment, the picture was in my file. I asked who it was and the doctor said it was me! I had no idea I looked that old. I honestly didn’t know I looked that bad until I saw the pictures he took in February. My surgery looks good – I look maybe seven years younger – but not half as tired as I looked in February.” (by FL721)
15) Lumps, Bumps & Side Effects
“Doctors post pictures and testimonials from patients who have good outcomes. We all want to think we will look that good and be that pleased. I cannot stress how important it is to go to a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon. However, even those doctors will have patients with complications.” (by Dider)
“Some people heal quicker than others. The lines and ridges will eventually go away. Try not to worry, they WILL eventually disappear.” (by castellano)
“The lumps all will go away. I’m at a little over seven months out and it looks great. All I have still is a bit of numbness in my forehead and on top of my head. It tingles and itches like crazy sometimes but they say that it could take a year for all to reconnect.” (by face neck brow upper and lower eye lids)
“You will have that “rubber band” feeling for some time, perhaps months, but I promise it does go away. I personally would be glad it feels tight because you don’t have to worry about something sagging as you heal.” (by coney)
16) Will You Need a Revision?
“When you opt to have cosmetic surgery, realize that you may need to have a revision or have the doctor tweak his work, because something simple can go wrong and will need to be redone. So, prepare yourself and ask your doctor how he handles revisions. What are the costs of a revision or is a revision free?” (by hansonscreen)
“I don’t remember much about my first facelift because it was 10 years ago, but I am getting ready to get my second facelift and some fat grafting.”
If you’ve undergone facelift surgery, we’d love to hear any advice you have that hasn’t been covered! To learn more about facelift and mini facelift (MACS-lift) surgery at Thompson Facial Plastics, visit THIS PAGE. For more great information and plastic surgery forums, visit www.realself.com.