Stages of Recovering from Facelift Surgery

Recovering from facelift surgery is a gradual process, and this process is best described in stages. It usually takes a full year to recover, but if done properly it will go smoothly and with minimal inconvenience.


Stage One

Resting is of primary importance during the first week of recovery; however, this does not mean you should be confined to bed for the entire time. You should be able to move around within 48 hours after surgery. Common symptoms are fatigue and nausea (usually due to pain medication) as well as swelling and bruising on the face (due to surgery). You may also feel stiffness and soreness in the neck, ears, and face, but if you take your medication as prescribed by the surgeon the discomfort should be minimal. Remember that even though you can move around, activities should remain light.

Stage Two

Bruising and swelling normally occurs on one or both sides of the face and neck as well around the eyes and ears. These symptoms are not abnormal and usually recede about four days after surgery. You should not, however, expect bruising to fully fade for approximately one or two weeks after. Also, keep in mind that full recovery spans over a period of one year.

Instead of stitches, staples may be used to hold together any incisions made in the hair-bearing skin. These will be removed one week after surgery. During this time, you should still keep your activities light as you are still in the early stages of recovery. It is possible to use makeup to camouflage surgical incisions.

Stage Three

By stage three (two to four weeks after surgery) the surgical incisions will begin to heal rapidly, although it does vary from patient to patient. During this stage of the healing process, you will notice that your incisions appear pink or light red. This is normal and it will disappear on its own, but treatment is available. There may still be some swelling in isolated areas, but this will also be temporary. You should be careful not to over-expose your skin to the sun after surgery as this can cause the skin to age prematurely.

Stage Four

The immediate effects of cosmetic surgery (bruising, swelling, and skin sensations) tend to dissipate after two weeks. After three weeks any residual effect will hardly be noticeable by anyone other than you. In fact, it is unlikely anyone will notice you underwent surgery.

In every stage of the recovery process, you should exercise care and follow your surgeon’s instructions.

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