What to expect and what you can do to speed up your “time off”.
If you’re putting off having a facelift because you don’t know how long recovery will take and you’re concerned about missing work or social commitments, you’re not alone. Many people postpone having facial cosmetic procedures due to the unknowns.
You can make time for facial rejuvenation. What you need is the information to plan ahead, including what to expect and your role in making your recovery as quick as possible.
To help in your planning, here are some guidelines from Dr. Robert J. Smyth MD, facial plastic surgeon located in Cincinnati OH, with 30+ years of specializing in just the face and neck area.
Recovery Time After a Facelift
Today’s minimally-invasive facelift, such as the highly-popular Timeless Lift® of which Dr. Smyth has performed more than 3,000, is done with the patient having local anesthesia only, along with some light relaxation medication. Patients are kept entirely comfortable during the procedure, and they avoid the risks and longer recovery associated with general anesthesia.
The sutures, which are artfully placed in a skinny incision line immediately in front of and behind the ears, are removed eight days post-procedure. During that first week, most women can pull down a few pieces of hair in front of their ears to somewhat hide the incision line. Most men and women with very short hair will not be able to hide the incision line during this period.
Once sutures are removed, the incision line is pink for the first week or so, gradually fading each day and becoming easier to hide with one’s hair. At three weeks post-procedure, patients (women and men) can gently pat a bit of base makeup/concealer over the incision line, if desired, to hide it as the healing continues. Most incisions are fully healed on the surface at 4-6 weeks post-procedure.
Patients may have some slight bruising and/or swelling post-procedure, both of which fade quickly.
Your Role in Speeding Up Your Recovery
Avoid Taking Aspirin or Aspirin-Related Products 2 Weeks Pre-op and 1-Week Post-Op
These products will thin your blood which can lead to more bruising and a slower recovery. Products include aspirin, acetaminophens (Advil, Aleve, etc.), as well as some vitamins, herbs and other natural products. Dr. Smyth gives his patients a lengthy list of such products to avoid pre-procedure.
Take Arnica as Directed Pre-Procedure
This age-old herbal supplement has inherent qualities to minimize bruising and reduce inflammation.
Closely Follow Post-Procedure Instructions
Read and follow the post-op instructions your plastic surgeon will provide, including what products to use for some simple cleansing and lubricating of the incision lines. Adhere to your doctor’s advice and directions, not that of well-meaning friends. Do not deter from the surgeon’s directions without first checking with his or her office to get consent. If you feel you’re having a reaction to the recommended cleanser or ointment, call the doctor’s office immediately and they can suggest an alternative.
Sleep at a 30- to 45-Degree Angle for At Least Two Weeks Post-Procedure
While some patients put a foam wedge behind their pillow, you can stack up a few pillows to prop yourself up to a 30- to 45-degree angle.
Don’t Sleep on Your Stomach Post-Procedure
Stomach sleepers don’t like to hear this, but unless you want to undo the results of your facelift, sleep on your back ideally or on your side gently (not with your hand or arm buried in your cheek) forever more after your facelift procedure.
Take It Easy
You don’t have to stay in bed or just sit in a chair after your procedure, but your face and neck need time to heal. Wait at least two weeks before undertaking any heavy lifting (anything over 15 lbs., including grandkids) or engaging in any sweat-inducing work or exercise (running, jogging, fast dancing, aerobics). Also, avoid a lot of bending over with your head down.
Wear Sunscreen, Eat A Healthy Diet, and Do Not Smoke
These three lifelong tips cannot be stressed enough. A facelift sets back the clock a good 10 years or more, but the aging process always continues. Now that you’ve taken steps to refresh your face and look and feel younger, protect your investment by taking care of your skin and health overall.
Let’s talk. Dr. Robert J. Smyth, MD is a leading facial plastic surgeon and specialist in Cincinnati OH whose patients come from a 100-mile radius. He has performed more than 3,000 minimally-invasive facelifts and thousands of other surgical and non-surgical, anti-aging, facial cosmetic procedures, including upper eyelifts, lower eyelid lifts, brow lifts, submental liposuction, laser skin resurfacing, chin implants, injectables (dermal fillers) and Botox.
For more information or to schedule a one-on-one, complimentary, no-pressure consultation with Dr. Smyth to discuss today’s finest solutions for attaining the natural, refreshed and “younger-you” look you deserve, call 513.201.8490.