Facelift Recovery – What to Expect After Surgery

Okay, the months of planning and research have paid off, and facelift surgery is behind you. No doubt you are excited to see your new face and the results you’ve excitedly anticipated. But now is the time for patience because it takes time for recovery and healing. Understanding the recovery process will help you get through these hours, days, and weeks with little to no anxiety.

The First Day

When you wake after surgery, you will be in a recovery room. It is quite possible you will feel cold or nauseated. If you are cold, simply ask for a blanket; if you feel a bit nauseated, inform someone because there are medications that can help. You may also feel emotional, don’t worry, this is normal and will pass.

Expect your face to be tender and tight after you wake from anesthesia. You may also find yourself in surgical bandages that are large and fluffy. This dressing will be temporary and is replaced with an elastic wrap within 24 hours. You may also have drainage tubes to remove excess fluids and reduce swelling. These may remain for a few days.

Most facelifts are outpatient procedures, so, you will need to have someone with you to drive you home. You may also experience mild to moderate discomfort after the anesthesia wears off. Don’t worry, you will have been prescribed medication for pain and should take as directed. Antibiotics will also be prescribed to stave off infection.

The Next Few Days

As a rule, you should be up and active within a few days and can wash your hair after 48 hours.  Some patients stay overnight in a suite and are assisted in washing their hair the next morning.

Swelling and bruising are normal after surgery, and you can expect both during the healing process. Expect a gradual facial swelling for three days after surgery with the swelling diminishing afterward. You will also experience facial bruising so; you should not expect to realize your facelift results for at least two weeks.

Two Weeks After Surgery

You will be released to return to work or your normal responsibilities after two weeks. If needed, you can wear makeup. During these two weeks, it is important for you to walk around at least three to four times daily to promote blood circulation and prevent blood clots. Also, you may not lift heavy objects (including your children) until Dr. Dreyfuss informs you it’s okay.

No steam rooms, saunas or any related steam devices or products used to promote facial flushing. Also, avoid products containing niacinamide and niacin because they too promote facial flushing.

Abstain from alcohol and anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin and ibuprofen until Dr. Dreyfuss allows them.

Some facelifts involve mouth incisions which will restrict your diet. Make sure you understand what you can and can’t eat during recovery before you have surgery. An antiseptic mouthwash may be required for several rinsings daily.


Sleep with your head elevated above your heart for one week. This practice will help reduce swelling. Prop up multiple pillows and place a foam wedge (found in surgical supply stores) under your torso. You may also sleep in a recliner.

Red Flags

Although most facelift procedures experience no complications, all surgeries have some risk. Red flags to look for include:

  • Elevated body temperature
  • Redness
  • Excessive pain

If you experience any of these complications contact Dr. Dreyfuss immediately. For optimal recovery care, monitor your temperature regularly and make sure to take prescribed medications like antibiotics faithfully and as prescribed.

After Surgery Appointments

Expect to come in for your first visit after surgery the day after the procedure. Here, Dr. Dreyfuss may change your bandages. Any sutures to be removed will stay for at least five more days. You will also be encouraged to discuss any concerns at this time if for no other reason but to put your mind at ease.

You will have multiple after surgery appointments to check your progress and administer any necessary post-surgery care. Anything you wish to discuss during these visits is encouraged no matter how trivial or insignificant it may seem. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Enjoy Your Outcome

After a couple of months, you should be ready for primetime. Recovery is different for each patient, so an exact timeline for healing is unique to the patient. But within a few months, you should be ready to show off your revived facial appearance. You will enjoy a big event like a wedding or high school reunion so much more with a young, fresh, and rejuvenated facial appearance.

For more information about Facelift Recovery call Dreyfuss Plastic Surgery at 815-806-9400 or contact us here for a consultation.