When considering a facelift, a common question and interest of concern is the recovery time. Facelift surgery is very rewarding, but the recovery process can also be mentally and physically difficult for some patients. The first week following surgery is typically the hardest, but again recovery varies from patient to patient. We are going to walk you through your first month of recovery, so you can feel more prepared for your facelift recovery.
How is Facelift Surgery Performed?
At Utah Facial Plastics, deep plane facelifts are performed by our dual board-certified facial plastic surgeons in our state-of-the-art operating room. The patient is always under general anesthesia, which means they are asleep during the entire surgery. A typical facelift can expect to last anywhere from 4-5 hours, depending on each individual. More time is added for additional procedure. Often we are combining an eyelid lift, fat transfer, or browlift procedure with a facelift for full face rejuvenation.
The incision typically begins in the the temple, just above and in front of the ear. The incision then continues under the earlobe and follows the back of the ear and blends into the hairline. Once the incisions are made, the skin is carefully and gently lifted and repositioned. The underlying facial muscle and connective tissue is also tightened, which makes for a long-lasting, more natural looking facelift. Once the skin is tightened and excess tissue is removed, the incisions are closed with fine sutures. The individual’s face is then carefully dressed and wrapped to protect the incisions, reduce swelling, and to hold everything in place.
We highly recommend that patients stay one night to be monitored and have a proper dressing change but is not always required. The next morning, we release the patient to go home with very detailed instructions and specific dates on when to return to the office.
The 1st Week After Facelift Surgery
On the third day following surgery, the patient is scheduled to come into the office to have their drains removed. The drains are put in place to collect blood and fluid following surgery. The sutures start coming out around day 5, with the last ones coming out around day 10-12.
The first week patient’s have reported that they experience low energy, emotional ups and downs, concerns about not looking like themselves and even begin questioning their decision to have a facelift. This is all to be expected and it is important that the patient has a good support system at home. As mentioned above, the first week has been reported to be the most difficult, but these things do pass and the following weeks the patient will start feeling more normal again.
2 Weeks After Facelift Surgery
By the second week all of the sutures are removed, and patients are feeling anxious to be on the mend. It is normal during this time to still have significant bruising and swelling, as each person is different. Energy is coming back, and the patient’s mood is slowly improving. Patients can start to do light activity and should be back on a regular skin care routine.
Three Weeks After Facelift Surgery
Week three of recovery is usually a huge milestone for patients because they start feeling and looking great. Bruising and swelling are on its way out and the patient is beginning to feel most confident with their decision and overall appearance. By this point the patient should be looking pretty normal and is able to hide signs of surgery.
1 Month After Facelift Surgery
At this point in the recovery process patients can expect to feel even more confident and rejuvenated than last week. If there is any bruising hanging around it is usually just about gone, but any residual bruising can be easily concealed with makeup. Swelling can be expected to have gone down tremendously, but swelling can take up to two months to completely resolve. However, this swelling generally isn’t noticed by other people after about 2-3 weeks.
The facelift recovery process can be challenging, but the reward is much greater. Enjoying youthful features you once had and looking your best for years to come is priceless. We like our patients to be informed of the road ahead of them so they can be as prepared as possible with a strong support system to help get them through the physical and emotional lows. It is a process, but worth it.
To learn more about UFP’s Exclusive Facelift Procedure, please contact our Draper or Layton, Utah office at (801)776-2220.