Hi, I’m dr. Dan Shapiro I’m a board-certified plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of plastic surgery and I’ve been practicing the Scottsdale Paradise Valley area for over 21 years.
Today I’m going to talk about a commonly asked question and that is, what is the recovery process like after a facelift. A peer-based look, I’ll go through the whole process of both before and after surgery. Today if someone comes in for a consultation we talk about what I think a patient could benefit from and then they decide if they want to have the surgery done. The first thing we do is give them a list of medications to avoid in order to try to minimize any bruising after surgery. It’s always difficult to avoid completely any bruising or swelling but we try to do things to minimize that. Some common things we recommend you avoid are Motrin, Aspirin, Vitamin E and a whole list of medications that will go through with you. Also we like to have patients have a heart rhythm strip and blood work if they’re over 50 in order to make sure they can receive general anesthesia.
So now let’s go to the day of surgery. A patient will come in having taken some medication from the night before to help them relax a little bit and then have the surgery. After surgery patients generally spend about an hour in the recovery room, then go to our surgical recovery center. That surgical recovery center is staffed 24 hours a day by our nurses and is a certified facility. That evening patients are medicated and they’re surprisingly there is minimal to no pain after having facial surgery. Commonly I will add a brow lift or some eyelid surgery to the facelift and that will go into the recovery equation.
The morning after having surgery, I come in and see the patient and I take some drains out that would have been draining any fluid out of the. Patients will then go to my office and have their hair washed. The day after having had surgery, patients go home. The main thing have to remember it’s just to keep their head elevated not to sleep with a pillow, instead use a rolled up towel. Keep some frozen peas on their eyes, that swelling generally peeks out at about day three. Bruising generally peaks at about the same time.
The first postoperative visit in my office is generally about a week, maybe sooner if there’s any issues. But generally about a week after having surgery. Patients come in and have stitches removed the majority of their facelift and their eyelid surgery. So let’s say it’s day seven a patient would come in have their eyelids sutures taken out along with most of your facelift sutures. Those sutures along the inside of the ear beneath the chin and sometimes near the scalp are taken out another three days later. Which is about day ten, patients come in and have everything removed.
So what is what is generally a patient look like at this point occasionally there’s some lingering swelling. There may be some bruising beneath the eyes and very low in the neck but generally between 7-14 days is when patients feel that they can comfortably socialize. Albeit you may feel like you are having a bad hair day. May take a bit before a patient feels like themselves. Depending upon how much work I do, will determine how much swelling and bruising there is. Generally about two weeks is when people feel comfortable going on doing the normal things of daily life. Some ask about how long before they can color their hair, and generally that is performed that about three weeks after surgery. I think about that time patients really feel like they’re getting their spring back. Thanks a lot.