The recovery period after a facelift can be full of a great number of unknowns, but it doesn't have to be. If you are contemplating a facelift, you probably want to know what you can expect while recovering or what changes you'll need to make to help your recovery go as smoothly as possible. Your facial plastic surgeon can provide further details about the recovery period during your consultation, but the answers below should give you enough information to get started.
What Can I Eat?
If you received general anesthesia, odds are that you haven't eaten for many hours. Your surgeon will let you know exactly what you can consume in the first few hours after your surgery, but generally, it's advised that you stick to liquids for the first few hours, then start to add soft foods to your diet. You may have some nausea as the anesthetic wears off, meaning you won't want to eat much, if anything.
To help your body heal, it's a good idea to eat as healthfully as possible in the weeks and months after your facelift. A diet that contains plenty of nutrients can also help you maintain the results of your surgery for as long as possible. Try to eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can and look to limit sugary foods and other types of processed or junk food.
How Should I Sleep?
Sleeping can be a bit tricky as you recover from a facelift. It can be particularly tricky if you're a side or stomach sleeper, as your surgeon will strongly suggest sleeping on your back, with your head supported by two pillows, during recovery. Sleeping like that will keep your head elevated, reducing swelling, and will keep pressure off of your incisions.
You can make sleeping a bit more comfortable after surgery by trying to get used to sleeping on your back a few weeks before the facelift. Surround yourself with pillows to keep yourself from rolling over while you sleep, too.
If you're struggling to get some shut eye as you recuperate, you can talk to your surgeon about sleep aids or pain relievers. It could be that discomfort is keeping you up, and a pain reliever can help considerably. Also be aware of what you're consuming during the day. If you're drinking a lot of coffee or tea, the higher levels of caffeine can be disrupting your sleep.
When Can I Get Back to My Usual Life?
While you might have chosen a facelift over a treatment such as an injectable filler because of its longer lasting results or because it was better suited to fixing your issue, the trade off is that the recovery period takes a lot longer. At the very minimum, you can expect to be out of the loop, meaning staying home from work, for at least a week after your surgery.
Even after you get back to the basics, such as heading back to the office, other regular activities will need to be avoided for even longer. For example, you'll want to hold off on going to the gym or your yoga class for about a month after your facelift. Your surgeon will give you a clear idea of how long you'll have to avoid specific activities.
What Do I Do About Showering and Makeup?
Usually, you don't have to wait very long before you can shower or bathe after your facelift. Typically, it's OK for people to shower the day after their surgery, but you'll want to double check with your doctor before you do so. When you do shower, be very gentle, particularly around the incision areas. Washing your hair is usually allowed, but you should let it air dry, instead of using a hair dryer.
You'll also want to check with your surgeon before you start wearing make-up after a facelift. Some cosmetics can be applied to cover up bruising or redness, but you don't want to irritate your incisions or cause long-lasting discoloration. It's always a good idea to discuss your cosmetic routine with your surgeon and see what he or she has to say about it before you start applying foundation or concealer.
When Can I Have Other Treatments Performed?
You can decide to have just a facelift or to combine the surgery with another related procedure, such as a brow lift or eyelid surgery, at the same time. Generally, if your goal is to have multiple facial surgeries, it makes sense to combine them, as you can save money and time.
It might be a different story if you are thinking about having a non-invasive treatment, such as Botox or a similar injection, or a filler. In some cases, Botox can be performed at the same time as your facelift, since the injection is used on a different part of your face. Some surgeons recommend waiting a few weeks before receiving any type of injection after a facelift, to give yourself time to heal.
Dr. Ross Clevens, an Ivy League-trained facial plastic surgeon, can answer any additional questions you might have about the recovery process after a facelift. He can also let you know if the surgery is the right choice for you or recommend a more appropriate treatment, based on the signs of aging on your face and a number of other factors. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Clevens at one of his Central Florida practices, call (321) 727-3223 today.