Plastic Surgeon Questions Plastic Surgeon

What to expect after a face lift?

I am a 48 year old female and I will have a face lift. I want to know what to expect after a face lift?

6 Answers

Hello, if you have consulted with a qualified surgeon, he/she should have a booklet which should have all the instructions and they should go over everything with you. Generally, your head will be bandaged up. You may or may not have drains for bleeding. I remove them after 2 days. You will most likely have a headache for a few days. Make sure you are in good health and have a medical clearance. There is absolutely no smoking 6 weeks before and after a facelift. If you have any further questions or inquiries please visit my website at Good luck!
Expect modest bruising and swelling after either a mini or a full facelift, and while your comfort level should increase within a few days after surgery, it can take as long as 10 to 14 days before you want to be seen in public. At that time, any residual bruising can be covered with make up.
Good luck.
What to expect after a facelift?

In my practice my patients leave my surgery center in a bulky dressing serving two purposes. It is intentionally bulky to get in your way and limit your neck motion and secondly to apply gentle pressure. The most common post operative complaints are soreness around the ears, the location of the incisions, and tightness in the neck as those muscles are tightened during the surgery. Soreness take a pain pill, tightness take a muscle relaxant. The dressing is changed the day after surgery and a similar one are applied which is then removed on day 4 with your sutures. On day 8 you return for a quick check by me and for makeup. You will be presentable with makeup at 8 days and doing well at one month. You will have numbness of your cheek for a period of months. As the numbness resolves, you will experience itching.

Roger Friedman, MD
This could be a double question.

1 About Post Operative Recovery:

Pain is not a common issue in face lift recovery and is well controlled by medication and prevention of swelling with cold compresses, cold mask, etc. Swelling and distortion are often disturbing but virtually always fade away around the 5th or 6th day. A short course of steroid can help but is not advised if fat grafting is performed as part of the lift. Most lifts are socially presentable after 7 to 10 days unless some severe bruising has occurred. A face lift become quite natural after 5 to 6 weeks and continue changing for several months .

2 About Results Versus Expectations:

If you are lucky enough to have a board certified plastic surgeon that performs computer imaging, the anticipated results will be much less of a surprise and reduce your anxiety. If your surgeon has designed your procedure well enough to avoid the feared "Face-lift look", your results should ideally be a fresher, rejuvenated face with a more engaging look. My practice focuses a lot on improving an aging expression, restoring youthful volumes and a vertical type of up lift such as my RefresherLift. The focus in my mind is the reason that virtually all my patients have received plenty of compliments on their new look from their entourage that has remained wondering if they had lost weight, exercised, changed hair style, etc. but have never suspected a face lift! A face lift ideally should restore in your face the vitality your still carry at any age.

Best of luck to you!

Christian Drehsen MD, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
After a face lift you can expect two weeks of absolute downtime. The first three days will be more so than the rest of the duration of your healing time. You will experience swelling for up to 6 months and the outcome and
your aesthetic results around that time as well. Report anything you feel isn't normal immediately to your surgeon as it could prolong your recovery if not mentioned.
You can expect relatively little pain, variable swelling and bruising for 10-14 days. You should be able to look presentable to go out in public in 7-10 days. She should expect numbness in the cheeks and temples for up to a year or more. You expect to feel tightness for months in your neck. You should expect scars that will be sufficiently well hidden and of good enough quality that no one should see them but your plastic surgeon and hairdresser (ask your surgeon if he/she puts their incision in front of the ear or along the inside of the ear for less visibility). should expect to look like yourself, just refreshed and more youthful. You should not look fake, "plastic", or like you have clearly had surgery. You expect a permanent result, realizing that you will continue to age and your face will, too. 

Richard T. Bosshardt, MD, FACS