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Facelift, Face

How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Facelift?

The idea of getting a facelift has probably crossed your mind if you've lost volume in your cheeks or noticed loose skin where your face used to be firm and smooth. You may already have an appointment to talk to a doctor about getting a facelift.

The thought of facial restoration can be exciting at first, but when the time comes to go in for surgery, you may experience feelings of uncertainty. For most patients, there is apprehension not just over the operation, but of the recovery process as well.

How Long Does Facelift Recovery Take?

If you're like most people, you're wondering what the weeks following a facelift are going to be like. These are common questions we get asked all the time:

  • How long will it take to recover from facelift surgery?
  • When will I be able to go out in public?
  • What factors contribute to the success of a facelift operation?

These are all normal concerns, and you should feel confident in your doctor's answers to these questions before you go in for surgery. At 77 Plastic, Dr. Fan has performed hundreds of facelifts and understands each client's concern about the recovery process and timeline.

If you have reservations or anxiety about the recovery time, know it usually depends on you, your health, and your attitude. Those who are positive about their choice for a facelift, and follow the post-surgery instructions experience the best results and the faster recovery times.

Let's take a look at what you can generally expect after a facelift procedure.

The Time-to-Recovery After a Facelift

A facelift is a surgery. It's going to require a recovery time like every other kind of surgery.

You should plan for someone to help you for the first few days as you relax and allow your body to heal before resuming normal activities in and around the house. Even then, you should still take it easy and avoid doing anything too strenuous.

Recovery time varies depending on your age, health, skin quality, genetics, and complexity of the procedure. For most people, recovery time is about 10-14 days. However, this time could be longer if proper post-operative instructions are not followed, or if the patient tries to rush back to normal activities too fast.

Be sure to plan in advance for your downtime, discuss the guidelines for proper recovery procedures with your doctor, and then follow through.

The First Three Days

The first day following surgery, you will still be under the effects of anesthesia. Most patients sleep during this time, as their body begins the healing process. While normal exercise should not be resumed for at least four weeks following surgery, it's important not to remain bedridden at the same time.

For the first three days, you should plan to get up and walk every 3-4 hours. This will improve circulation and speed up the recovery time. Just make sure not to overdo it. Even if you feel ready to do more than you should, it's best to play it safe. Allow your body to recover by giving it the rest it needs. Err on the side of caution.

The Timeline to Being Presentable

Being able to go out in public again is one of the primary concerns of all facelift patients. You should prepare for about two weeks of downtime before planning on resuming work or public activities.

All of the areas operated on will experience a bit of bruising and swelling. The degree of bruising and swelling depends on the individual and following post-op instructions, such as sleeping with your head elevated above your heart, will help reduce these effects. Most of the stitches are removed during the first and seconds weeks post-surgery, usually between days 4 and 14.

You should be ready to face the world again after a couple weeks, providing there have been no complications with the operation or recovery. You should also expect mild swelling and numbness for several weeks or even months. You should also keep in mind that you need to avoid direct sunlight exposure to the incisions for 12 months after surgery. This safeguard will help you prevent hyperpigmentation or darkening of the wounds. Nicotine should also be avoided for at least three weeks following surgery.

Surviving the Recovery Time

Recovery time and results have a lot to do with the surgeon who performs the procedure, as well as the unique genetics and health of each patient. You should always discuss realistic expectations with your doctor based on your individual needs and physical health.

Take the time to recover fully, keep a positive attitude about the process, and follow the doctor's orders. You only have one face, and this procedure will have a lasting effect on your appearance. A skillful surgeon and proper recovery protocols will help you through the recovery process. These are the keys to a long-lasting, natural-looking facelift.

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About the Author

Dr. Larry Fan is a Harvard educated, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Francisco, CA. He is a Master Artist who is known for creating beautiful, stunning, and natural results. Dr. Fan has been named One of America's Top Plastic Surgeons for the past 10 years running and has received several national awards for his work in Plastic Surgery. He has successfully performed more than 10,000 cosmetic procedures of the face, breasts, and body over a 20 year period. Dr Fan has been an invited speaker at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons, and has been featured in national media outlets such as CNN, NBC, and ABC.

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