When facelift patients arrive for their consultation, many are concerned about how much pain will follow surgery and whether they will be able to manage it. While it may seem like facelift surgery should be an incredibly painful procedure, the truth is that most patients are surprised at how little discomfort they actually experience. The facelift does concentrate on a sensitive area of the body, yet refined surgical strategies and pain management techniques can help to curb whatever amount of pain you may be expecting. Read on to learn more about the pain most patients experience and how you can be prepared to handle it.
How Much Does Surgery Really Hurt?
Your facelift procedure will be performed while you are snoozing under the influence of anesthetics, so you won’t have to worry about feeling anything throughout the procedure. Facelift surgeries take between three and six hours depending on the amount of work that needs to be done, so you’ll be given enough medication to sleep straight through it all. Even better, you’ll have some time to adjust to new sensations as the anesthesia wears off and you wake up.
During the procedure, your facial plastic surgeon will carefully make incisions along your hairline, extending around the ears and down to the lower scalp. From here, he or she will be able to manipulate the tissues, skin, fat, and muscles of the lower face to achieve a natural and more youthful appearance. Excess skin and fat will be removed and the underlying supportive tissues will be strengthened. The specifics of your facelift procedure will be determined at a one-on-one consultation with your facial plastic surgeon, since each surgery is specially tailored to meet the patient’s needs.
How Much Will It Hurt Immediately After Surgery?
As you wake up, your anesthesia might make you feel disoriented, nauseous, and groggy. It is common to experience some blurred vision and numbness or tingling throughout the body as your body gradually processes the anesthetic. Other symptoms may include headaches, chills, fatigue, and dizziness, but most patients don’t experience all at once. Eventually, you will begin to feel slight soreness at the surgical treatment area at which time you can begin taking pain medication to manage your discomfort.
If you’re planning to sneak a look at your new face, hold off for a while. Patients who sprint toward the first mirror they see are often upset to find that their face is swollen, bruised, bandaged, and not what they had in mind. Your results will emerge gradually, but only after they have a chance to heal. Be patient and give your body some time to recover before you take a peek at what’s under the bandages.
What Should I Expect From My Facelift Recovery?
Your first two days of surgery will likely bring you some discomfort. You may be tired and sore, so get as much sleep as you can. Doing so is good for your body and helps you to get through the toughest part of recovery. Take your pain medication as directed and don’t skip doses to try to be “tough.” Pain can be stressful to the system and may contribute to a longer recovery time if not managed.
Throughout these early days, make sure that you are carefully following your surgeon’s instructions to care for your incisions and replace your bandages. Avoiding infection and other post-surgical risks is essential to keeping your pain to a minimum.
As your face heals, you will gradually lose the bandages and drainage tubes that might have bene put into place. Your face will feel better each day as the swelling subsides and the bruises heal. Work with your facial plastic surgeon to ensure that your aftercare is thorough and successful.
How Can I Better Manage My Pain?
Any cosmetic surgery can put stress on the body as it forces change, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Help your body to adjust to the new changes and manage your pain all at once by following these facelift recovery tips:
• Plan for someone to help you out during your first 48 hours post-op. An extra pair of hands is good to have when you’re stuck in one spot resting all day. You may also need assistance making your way to the bathroom or preparing food.
• Prop your head up at all times. Even if you’re sleeping, it is essential to keep your head elevated at an angle to reduce swelling. Less swelling means less pressure and less discomfort.
• Have your pain medication ready before you come home. You won’t want to stop at the pharmacy to fill your prescription on your way home from facelift surgery, so fill it ahead of time. Tuck it into your purse or a safe place at home where you can get to it easily.
• Use cold compresses to reduce swelling. Talk to your facial plastic surgeon about cold compresses, when they can be used, and how. They can be a great relief on days that you feel swollen and uncomfortable.
If you ever experience a sudden increase in your pain or you find that you’re not improving steadily, contact your surgeon to address your concerns. He can help you identify whether your problem needs additional medical care in order to prevent or treat a post-surgical complication.
Where Can I Plan for Facelift Surgery?
Before you plan your pain management strategies, you should book a facelift consultation with Dr. Andrew Frankel, board certified in both Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (ENT). His focus is on facial rejuvenation, especially through procedures such as the facelift, brow lift, or eyelid surgery, as well as rhinoplasty. Since 1994, Dr. Frankel has been practicing at the Lasky Clinic and earned recognition as an expert in his field. He has many publications on a variety of topics including midface lifts, Botox, rhinoplasty, and more. To consult with Dr. Frankel, contact the Lasky Clinic located at 201 South Lasky Drive in Beverly Hills, California. Call