Choosing to undergo facial surgery can be a daunting prospect; with so much to consider before you have a facelift it’s easy to neglect the recovery period in your considerations. Of course, understanding the procedure you are choosing to undertake, along with your choice of plastic surgeon, are important elements of the full process, but knowing what to expect after facelift surgery is also vital.
All forms of cosmetic facial surgery (including neck lifts, brow lifts, eyelid rejuvenation and indeed facelifts) carry some form of risk and complications, but the recovery post-operatively varies patient to patient. During your initial consultation,Dr Chana will explain in depth what to expect following facelift surgery, allowing you to make an informed and educated decision in moving forward with your surgery.
What to expect following facelift surgery is different for each patient; there are various types of facelift surgery available, and in some cases, even combinations of techniques may be required to give the patient their desired result. Each type of facelift has different indications and you should discuss with your surgeon, prior to making your final decision, which one is the right option for you.
Each patient is individual and as with all cosmetic surgery, a one-size-fits-all method wouldn’t be appropriate. However, the most common type of facial rejuvenation surgery of this kind is the SMAS facelift. During this surgical procedure, the skin and the underlying tissues (known as the SMAS layer) are tightened, and the surgeon will try to address both skin laxity and laxity of the underlying muscles and ligaments.
Facelift surgery of any kind is considered invasive, and you will more than likely be given general anaesthesia. For some less extensive facelifts, a local anaesthetic may be used with additional sedation if required; this should be discussed during your consultation.
What to expect after facelift surgery: the basics
• After your facelift surgery, you will wake to find a head dressing on which will remain on overnight before being removed around 24 hours later, along with any drains that have been used.
• Many patients are able to go home the day following surgery if they feel comfortable to do so and any discomfort can be managed with simple painkillers, given to you before you leave.
• The degree of bruising and swelling differs between patients, but often gets worse for the initial three to four days and then begins to settle down. It’s suggested that sleeping with your head elevated for the initial seven days can help to reduce swelling.
• The majority of visible swelling should settle within a fortnight after facelift surgery although small changes will occur over the coming months.
• You should avoid taking pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen prior to surgery and for two to three days following facelift surgery as this can cause bleeding.
• Avoid exercise for two to three weeks after surgery. Vigorous exercise should be avoided for four to six weeks after facelift surgery.
• Sutures will be removed after a week following surgery, but it’s important to remember it can take six to nine months (up to a year in some cases) for the scars to completely settle. The scars, however, are hidden in the curves and creases around the ear so will not be easily visible Some patients may also find their scars may appear red and raised, but this should subside in time, along with any numbness to the area treated.
• The best results are usually seen approximately 3 months after surgery when most of the healing has occurred and the tissues have settled.
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