Facelift Surgery Recovery – What To Expect

Dr. Thompson performs an average of two facelift surgeries per week as a top facelift specialist in Utah. The first question many patients have is about facelift surgery recovery, how long it will last and what to expect. It’s important for all facelift patients to understand what is involved so they are prepared as it can be very difficult without the proper expectations.

Most patients spend the night at the facility following their surgical procedure and then Dr. Thompson visits them first thing the following morning before beginning another day of surgical procedures or in-office clinic. He checks everything, changes the bandages, and make sure the patient understands proper wound care and medication instructions before leaving.

Starting that next day, it’s important that the patient cleans all incisions morning and night with diluted hydrogen peroxide and then applies Neosporin, Polysporin, or Bacitracin. The neck area and lower face will feel tight and be quite swollen. Drains have been inserted into the cheek area through an area behind each ear and will come out 3-4 days following facelift surgery. A head wrap is worn for 5 days straight, only taking off to clean the incisions, and then just at night for another 7 days. Here’s an example of what one patient looked like at 24 hours post surgery.

Bruising and swelling peak around 48 hours so we advise patients sleep with their head elevated and avoid bending over or any heavy lifting. Here’s our patient on day 3 following facelift surgery. The drains as well as some of the sutures come out 3-4 days following the initial procedure.

This patient was very positive through the entire experience and felt the pain was very minimal. Many patients feel the hardest part is just hiding out until the bruising and swelling subsides. Here is a side view of our facelift patient on day 6.

Facelift patient, day 7. She had more sutures removed on this day. Sutures are removed in stages with steri-strips glued for another 3-4 days to minimize scarring. Following this post-operative appointment, she only had “key” sutures remaining with a few above and below each ear.

Facelift patient, day 8.

sharon day 8

Facelift patient, day 10. She had her remaining sutures removed on this day. As you can see on her neck and chest area, the bruising is resolving as it’s moving downward. She is starting her scar recovery gel by SkinMedica morning and night to help heal incisions faster.

sharon day 10

Facelift patient, day 14. Some swelling and bruising remains but is getting much better. She has also started her SkinMedica skincare kit that we include with all facelift procedures. They come with SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum and full Skin Brightening System.

sharon 7.21 4

Facelift patient, day 18 (2 1/2 weeks) post facelift surgery. Almost there!

sharon 7.25

Week 3! Patient is looking great, feeling great, and really happy with her facelift results!


Six weeks post-surgery while patient was leaving for vacation….




Where incisions were….


7 weeks post facelift surgery:




In-office before and after photos of this patient will be posted soon to our photo gallery.






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