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With the advent of new technology to aid plastic surgery, many patients wonder if the downtime from a facelift is worth it. Despite this, however, there are certain issues that only a facelift can address, making it very much in demand. Let’s look at the recommended facelift recovery time and why it’s so important to get the necessary amount of rest.


What Is A Facelift And Why Is It Done?

During facelift surgery, incisions are made in order to lift the skin. The tissues underneath the skin may be surgically changed or moved in order to make the contours of the face look younger. A facelift may be desired to

  • Lift the appearance of sagging cheeks
  • Remove excess skin along the lower jaw (also known as the jowls)
  • Smooth out the folds of skin between your nose and mouth
  • Lift sagging skin on the neck

Facelift surgery won’t necessarily remove wrinkles and creases from your face, but it can help to smooth the skin and make it fit your face more tightly, contributing to a more youthful appearance. It also will not add volume to your face. Should you want fuller cheeks or a more defined jaw, you would need to consider dermal fillers. 


Facelift Recovery Time: What To Expect After The Procedure?

Once the anaesthetic has worn off you can expect to feel some sensations. These might include

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Pain from the incisions
  • Numbness
  • Fluid drainage from the incisions.

Your plastic surgeon will have covered the incisions up with bandages. The bandages may also help in keeping the swelling and bruising contained by pressure. There may also be a small tube to help any fluid drain easily. 


Facelift Recovery Time: How Long Do Side Effects Last?

  • You can expect swelling and bruising to be their worst two days after facelift surgery, but these side effects should start to improve thereafter.
  • Your sutures will be removed five to ten days after facelift surgery.
  • General recovery is usually expected to take around two weeks. By that stage, most of the minor discomforts should have improved. You can look to resume vigorous physical exercise and activity around four weeks after your plastic surgery.
  • You might experience muscle stiffness or numbness as you heal. This may be felt for some weeks after facelift surgery.

While good plastic surgeons take care to make very small incisions, scars could take up to a year to heal completely. 


Caring for your incisions

While you are healing and recovering, it is important that you keep your incisions clean and dry. Your plastic surgeon will give you clear instructions on washing your face and hair during the recovery period. 


General healing and recovery

expectation facelift recovery time sydneyBoosting your system with plenty of rest, light exercise and a wholesome diet can boost your recovery. Avoid drinking alcohol as this can thin your blood and also slow down healing. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids.

You should avoid smoking and sunlight exposure for as long as possible while your incisions heal. Avoid exposure to allergens and pollutants (this includes perfume) for the first six weeks after the procedure. This includes not dyeing or chemically treating your hair. If you have to be in the sun after the first few weeks, use an SPF40 or higher, and wear a large comfortable hat and sunglasses to cover as much of your face as possible.

Make sure you have tops to wear that fasten at the front, so you do not have to pull clothing over your head.

You will avoid wearing make-up for a few weeks as your skin heals.


Possible Complications For Facelift Recovery Time

All plastic surgery carries some risk and facelifts are no different. Any complication could impact your recovery time. While risk factors are generally managed before plastic surgery takes place and they are rare, it is statistically relevant to mention them. Some of the more common complications include

  • Complications from the anaesthesia
  • Damage to the facial nerves; (this is a temporary issue)
  • Infection
  • Haematoma
  • Numbness which could persist for months
  • Tissue death
  • Scarring
  • Lack of facial symmetry


Any fever, pain, redness or worsening swelling the days following your procedure could indicate the presence of haematoma and needs to be reported to your surgeon as soon as possible. A fever could also indicate the presence of an infection.

It’s important to note that patients who have diabetes and high blood pressure are at increased risk of complications. Patients who have unmanaged chronic conditions or a condition that affects the body’s ability to heal are also at increased risk of complication.

Patients should quit smoking before their facelift and should certainly not smoke during the recovery phase, as it increases their chances of developing an infection.

You will need to disclose all medication that you are taking, and may need to quit blood-thinning medicine at least a week before your facelift. 


Is A Facelift Worth The Downtime?

As mentioned, modern technologies like chemical peels, laser treatment, fillers and Botox are effective but they cannot lift sagging skin or remove excess skin. If you have a facial concern such as sagging jowls, enhanced nasolabial folds or need to lift your facial features, only a facelift can achieve these results.


To find out more about facelift recovery time, and what can be achieved with this procedure, it’s best to seek professional advice. Please contact us for a confidential appointment: (02) 9158 6375.

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