Facelift surgery can significantly improve the shape of the face and, in so doing, mitigate the signs of aging like jowls, flat cheeks, and deep creases around the nose and mouth. As we age, our skin loses elasticity. Most adults are aware of this. The skin isn’t the only part of the face to lose firmness and stretchiness, though, underlying connective tissue also weakens, and the fatty tissue and muscle beneath that can degrade, too. These combined changes in tissue often result in flattened cheeks and sagging jawlines. The skin under the chin and on the upper neck also gets looser with age. To correct these conditions and restore a more youthful, vibrant appearance, many people seek facelift surgery. Where it used to be that facelifts were sought by “older adults,” meaning those in their sixties or older, this procedure is now extremely common among fifty-somethings. If you’ve been considering facelift surgery for yourself, you may wonder what you’ll feel like after surgery. We’ll discuss that here.
After Your Facelift
Every patient is unique in their healing response and in their threshold for discomfort. That said, it is generally recommended that a patient take two weeks off from work and most normal activities to focus solely on recovery. After two weeks, light activities can resume. Strenuous activities must remain off-limits for a full six weeks. This isn’t because the face will remain sore or tender for that long but because we want the tissue that has been repositioned and stitched into place to have ample time to integrate and stabilize in its new location. For the initial two weeks of recovery, patients can expect bruising and swelling to occur. This may seem to worsen at first, since these side effects develop over the course of a few days after surgery. After about three days, though, we usually see them begin to subside nicely. Sometime during the second week of recovery, patients start to see what they will look like when their tissue settles and they have completely recovered. At that time, though, the face may feel tight and sore.
The skin naturally feels tight after a facelift because it has been pulled up and to the side to some degree and has been stitched into a new position. This tightness is exacerbated by the swelling that is pushing against it. While tightness can feel odd, it should not be painful. Patients are prescribed powerful pain medication that, when taken as directed, should alleviate pain very effectively. After the first week or two of healing, it may be possible to reduce the use of prescription pain medication or stop altogether. The doctor may recommend alternative remedies to help soothe post-operative discomfort, as well, such as applying cold compresses and sleeping with the head elevated during the first week of recovery.
Facelift surgery can be immensely gratifying for the person who is interested in aging on their own terms. To learn more about this procedure, contact us at 440-459-0007 and schedule a consultation at our office near Cleveland.