05 Aug Facelifts & Neck Lifts: What To Expect For Recovery Time After Surgery
Ready For Facial Rejuvenation?
Facial rejuvenation via a facelift or neck lift can be transformative for many. Commonly, middle-aged men and women are young and active. However, aging, stress, genetics, weight changes, environmental exposure, and even gravity can be unforgiving on the face. The resulting wrinkles, sagging skin, and folds do not reflect the actual age of the body and mind. Surgical procedures such as facelifts and neck lifts can help correct these signs of aging. After surgery, recovery is an important step, and knowing what to expect can significantly improve this process.
Why choose a facelift and neck lift?
As the skin begins to lose elasticity, wrinkles, jowls, glabellar lines, and dropping can develop. The neck can also experience sagging skin and muscle weakness in the platysma bands. Facelifts and neck lifts address the most troubling signs of aging. These procedures are beneficial if non-surgical options fail to achieve the desired results. Dramatic weight loss can also lead to an older appearance due to excess skin. The goal of the surgery is to reposition the skin and tissue of the face and neck. Based on the surgeon’s recommendation, a patient can get a facelift, neck lift, or both.
Getting ready for your facelift
Facelifts and neck lifts can take anywhere from 3-4 hours. First, the cosmetic team will administer a light sedative, usually around the face and ear. For facelifts, cosmetic surgeons make a long incision in front of the ear on both sides of the face. These cuts can extend from the hairline to behind the earlobe. Next, the surgeon pulls the skin towards the ear and removes the extra skin. Finally, the skin is stitched back by the ear. If desired, the doctor may redistribute fat and tissue to give a more contoured look.
Lifting your neck at the same time
Neck lifts follow the same process as the facelift with an additional incision and fat removal. The surgeon would not address the upper face for most procedures without addressing the lower face and neck. For a neck lift, the surgeon makes a small incision under the chin. The excess skin and fat under the chin, neck, and jawline are removed with special surgical devices. From there, the incisions around the ear and chin are closed. After surgery, the recovery process starts at the hospital.
Starting off recovery
After the facelift and neck lift, the patient will be moved to a recovery area. In some cases, the patient can leave the same day. However, it is common to spend one night in a recovery center. A nurse will provide antibiotics and other painkilling medication as necessary. Some tubes attached to the face can help with draining excess fluid and blood. Once the surgeon is satisfied with the post-operative process, the patient can go home to continue recovery. A loved one can drive the patient home at this point.
In week 1, rest is best
Bruising, pain, and swelling at the surgical site are common, especially in the first 2 days. The goal at this point is rest and pain management. Make sure to keep the head elevated, especially during sleep. Patients must also keep the wound and bandages dry. Resting is recommended for about 5-7 days. It is recommended to limit activity, which means no strenuous work, heavy lifting, sex, or sports during the first week. Short walks and simple at-home desk work or chores are acceptable after 7 days.
Keep up your rest and recovery
After the first 7-10 days, the surgeon will remove the bandages and stitches. For the following 2 weeks, patients should continue to prioritize rest and pain management. Continue to avoid heavy lifting or overexertion during this time. After the first 3 weeks, patients can return to work and resume minimal activity. Continue to maintain a healthy weight and follow the doctor’s instructions to ensure the best results.
A fresh new face
During the 6-8 week mark, the face can continue to feel tight and a bit uncomfortable. At this time, some patients will start to see the effects of the facelift and neck lift. However, the procedure can take as long as 6 months to show the full impact. Even with that timeframe, patients have a 90% to 95% satisfaction rate. For a smooth recovery, follow the instructions of the surgeon for the best outcome and a fresh, new face.