Over time, wrinkles, deep creases, and drooping can make you appear older than you feel. A facelift is one of the most effective ways we help patients combat the symptoms of aging to look and feel younger and more refreshed.
When you decide you’re ready to take years off your appearance with surgery, my team and I prepare you for what to expect before, during, and after your procedure. With this in mind, let’s cover what a realistic facelift recovery timeline looks like and share tips that can contribute to an optimal healing experience.
Your Customized FaceLift
Dr. Cason and I have extensive training in advanced surgical facelift techniques. We customize your facial rejuvenation based on your facial anatomy, aging symptoms, and desired goals. Based on our assessment, we will perform your facelift using one of the following surgical approaches:
- Traditional Facelift: We make incisions by your hairline and in front of and around the ears to release deep plane retaining ligaments, tighten facial muscles and resculpt underlying facial tissues. The skin is redraped, and excess skin is removed to give you a more youthful, rested look. We often perform a neck lift in conjunction with a traditional facelift.
- Short-Scar Facelift: Also known as a mini-facelift, this procedure requires smaller incisions to help patients address early signs of aging. It does not treat sagging or laxity in the neck.
- Midface Lift: Using this newer approach, we focus on the portion of the face that extends from the lower eyelid to the upper lip. This includes subtly lifting the cheeks and enhancing the lower eyelids. This procedure is often combined with eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty).
Depending on the approach we take, your facelift recovery time can vary slightly. While a facelift procedure has the potential to take 10 years off your appearance, it’s important to emphasize that it does not halt the aging process. You can learn more about the different facelift options we offer patients in this blog post.
Facelift Recovery Stages
Keep in mind that transformative results don’t happen overnight! Although every patient is different, most facelift patients should plan to designate 2 weeks for facelift recovery downtime. During this window, it is essential to follow your post-op protocol and prioritize healing and rest.
In general, your facelift recovery timeline is broken into the following stages:
You will likely experience swelling, bruising, and some initial discomfort during your first week post-surgery. You will need to keep your head elevated, even during sleep. We suggest using cool compresses on your eyes to help with swelling and bruising and take your pain medication as prescribed. Your priority should be rest, but short walks are encouraged to boost circulation. During this period, you will need to rely heavily on your support system to help you with caregiving and household duties.
After 2 weeks, swelling and bruising have diminished but will not fully resolve for several weeks. It is common to experience some itchiness and tingling. Most patients feel much more “back to themselves” by now and are cleared to return to work and non-strenuous activities. Many patients apply makeup to cover their residual bruising.
After 3 to 4 weeks, you should feel comfortable showing off your initial results. You can resume workouts and other everyday activities. By now, most swelling and bruising has subsided. Protecting your skin by avoiding sun exposure and maintaining a good skincare routine is essential.
At 4 to 6 weeks post-op, you are looking and feeling better and in the home stretch of your recovery! Continue to protect your skin and have patience with the healing process. It can take 6 to 12 months to completely heal and achieve your final results.
The good news is that most patients can enjoy their facelift results for 10 years or more! To better visualize the possibilities of your transformation, view our before and after facelift photo gallery for actual 2301 Plastic Surgery patient results.
Facelift Recovery Tips
Now that you have a better understanding of what to expect during your facelift recovery timeline, here are some suggestions to help ease the healing process and preserve your results:
- Plan: Check your calendar and schedule surgery during a window that allows for at least 2 weeks of downtime. Before surgery, set up a comfortable recovery area at home, fill medications, stock your pantry, and arrange for help.
- Take it easy: Follow your post-op protocol, and don’t risk harming your incisions or jeopardizing the healing process by taking on too much too soon.
- Take care of yourself: Prioritize skin care, stay hydrated, and eat nutritious, well-balanced meals to accelerate healing.
- Protect your skin: Avoid sun exposure, apply sunscreen, wear sunglasses and hats, and use high-quality skincare products to preserve your facelift results.