The delicate skin of the face is often the first to show signs of sun exposure, gravity, collagen loss and other causes of facial aging. A facelift (rhytidectomy) is one of the most comprehensive and effective treatments to address these concerns. If you are considering facelift surgery with Dr. Odinet, you are likely curious to know how long it will take to recover and what you might experience along the way.
A smooth recovery is a key to a successful surgery. Just as every face is unique, every recovery is unique to the patient. Factors including your age, your health and the elasticity of your skin will all play a role in your recovery time and your final results. How you care for yourself after a facelift will also influence the outcome of your surgery. To achieve the best result possible, we recommend abiding by the following guidelines.
Your first responsibility after facelift surgery is rest. Your body needs time to heal itself. Relax during the day and get the recommended number of hours of sleep at night. Use this time for low-stress, low-movement activities, like reading a book or catching up on your favorite television shows. Keep your head elevated to minimize swelling. Most patients return to work after one to two weeks of recuperation at home.
Arrange for Assistance
You will need a friend, family member or other trusted caregiver to drive you home after surgery. Plan to have someone with you for at least the first 24 hours to assist with chores, cooking and other tasks. Arrange for childcare if needed. The first two to three days are usually the most uncomfortable and the most limited.
Pain, swelling, bruising and potential complications can be reduced by carefully following your surgeon’s postoperative instructions. Take prescribed pain medication as directed. Care for your incisions by keeping them clean and protecting them from excessive motion, abrasion or force. Watch for warning signs that could indicate infection or another concern that should be evaluated by your surgeon.
Do Not Smoke
Smoking prolongs healing and increases the risk of developing complications. You can improve your chances of a successful facelift outcome if you are a nonsmoker or stop smoking for the recommended timeframe before and after surgery.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Dress in comfortable, loose clothing on the day of your surgery. As you recover, wear clothing that fastens in the front or back rather than clothing that must be pulled over your head.
Resume physical activities slowly. Start with light exercise, such as walking around the house, to promote healthy circulation. Avoid moderate to strenuous activities and exercise until you have received clearance from your surgeon. When you do return to your regular exercise routine, gradually increase the time and intensity of your workouts over several sessions. Stop if you feel lightheaded or dizzy. Do not strain yourself or try to rush the recovery process.
Eat a healthy diet full of beneficial nutrients that support your body as it heals, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Limit your consumption of processed sugars and alcohol. You will feel better, have more strength and heal faster if you focus on taking care of yourself from the inside out. Continuing these healthy eating habits after you have recovered will have a positive impact on the appearance and feel of your skin, helping you enjoy the results of your facelift for as long as possible.
Practice Proper Hygiene
You will be issued instructions regarding how to clean and dry your incision sites to avoid infection. Follow these carefully. You may shower the day after your facelift surgery but should do so mindfully – be gentle when brushing or washing your hair and cleansing your face so as not to disturb your healing incisions.
Wait to Resume Your Makeup Routine
Though it is tempting to try to hide bruising or swelling with makeup, do not rush back to your cosmetics bag. Your incisions should be completely closed before applying makeup again. Mineral makeup is a gentle but effective alternative to liquid and cream products while you are healing. When you do resume your makeup routine, use only gentle pressure to apply products and always wash off your makeup at night before going to bed.
Minimize Future Scarring
Facelift incisions are carefully placed so as to be concealed by the ears and hairline. Scarring after a facelift procedure can be nearly imperceptible, even from a close distance. Your scars will initially appear red or deep pink in color, and may feel firm to the touch. With time, the color of the scar will fade to white and the firmness will soften. Gentle massage with a product designed to moisturize the skin and improve the appearance of scarring can be helpful. Incisions and fresh scars should be kept out of direct sunlight.
Prioritize Sun Protection
Sun protection should be included in your daily routine at all times, but it is particularly important after facelift surgery. Ultraviolet light exposure is one of the primary causes of skin aging and can lead to darker scars. Limit time spent in the sun, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen and wear protective clothing to shield your skin and scar tissue from damaging UV rays. Maintain these good sun protection habits to extend the longevity of your facelift results.
Support Your Skin
While a facelift can dramatically improve signs of aging, it cannot stop the aging process. Maintaining a regular skincare routine with medical-grade products can help keep your skin smooth, bright and supple. Cosmetic treatments such as laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, injectables and microneedling can complement your facelift results and function as an extension of your home skincare regimen.
Request a Consultation for Facelift Surgery in Lafayette
Your plastic surgeon is your closest ally from the initial planning phase through your final follow-up visit. Choosing a knowledgeable and experienced surgeon who will take your needs into account, answer your questions and provide thorough instructions for aftercare is essential to ensure a healthy recovery. Dr. Kenneth Odinet is double board-certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and has more than two decades of experience making facelift recovery as comfortable as possible for his patients. Call 337-234-8648 to schedule a facelift consultation with Dr. Odinet.