Over the first five days, you will notice dramatic improvement in your discomfort as well as your disposition. Facial swelling goes down, but the bruising will sometimes become more noticeable the second or third day following a facelift. As the swelling continues to improve, some irregularities may become apparent over the cheeks and upper neck—this is normal and these issues will generally resolve themselves with time.
On the third postoperative day, you can shower and even wash your hair. Do not submerge your incisions in the bathtub, a swimming pool or at the beach for another 10 days. Sun exposure on the incisions should be avoided for 6 months. This can be accomplished with a hat, a scarf and sunglasses. Sunscreen can be applied after three weeks. Hair color and makeup can also be applied after three weeks.
In the first six weeks following your facelift, you should sleep with your head elevated and avoid strenuous activity such as weight lifting. You can ease into cardiovascular exercise after 3 weeks. Use common sense and listen to your face and body: if any activity causes discomfort, swelling or tightness in the face and neck, discontinue that activity immediately and do not attempt it again for a week.
For the first seven to ten days after a facelift, you may have misgivings about your decision because of the amount of swelling that can distort the appearance. Some patients may even experience a postsurgical depression, which is both a physiological and psychological response to the stress of surgery. This will usually resolve and does not require treatment. The face and neck usually remain swollen for about six weeks, but most patients feel capable of returning to work within 10-14 days. If you are in a business that relies on face-to-face contact, you may want to consider taking three weeks off from work.
To put your facelift recovery in a social perspective, it will be three months before you want to appear in the wedding photographs of your children, six weeks before you want to attend your niece’s or nephew’s wedding, three weeks before you want to entertain work acquaintances and two weeks before dinner in a dark restaurant with your significant other would be comfortable.
You will be aware of the fact that you had a facelift for at least six months. It is not painful—but your face will feel different due to an altered sensation that exists in all scar tissue. This sensation fluctuates with diet, activity and, quite frankly, barometric pressure and altitude. It gradually returns to normal in six months, but can take up to a year in some cases.
Throughout your entire recovery process, it is imperative that you do not take advice from the internet. Everyone heals differently: the people online are not you and do not have the experience or knowledge of your case like Dr. Farrior and his staff. If you have any questions, contact Farrior Facial Plastic Surgery immediately; our staff is informed, experienced and totally committed to your care and recovery.