Even when change is a happy occasion, it’s human nature to feel unsure about it. A facelift surgery can present major changes to a patient’s life and, although they are positive, they can bring anxiety, frustration, anticipation, and other unwelcome emotions. Many patients find it easier to stay calm during the transition time after a facelift surgery if they go into the process with a clear understanding and realistic expectations. If you’re worrying about how you’re going to look, feel, and even heal after your surgery, these pointers are a great place to start. Read on, take some notes, and remember that your low stress levels during recovery will only help you to heal faster.
The Early Healing Process
After your facelift surgery, you will do the most important part of your healing within the 48 hours that follow. During this time, it is essential that you stay calm, get enough rest, focus on relaxing, and let your body start healing at its own pace. You will most likely be in pain and a good deal of discomfort on your first day, but this is all normal. You will have pain medication prescribed by your facial plastic surgeon to manage it, as well as other helpful tips to lessen swelling. Use cold compresses as directed by your surgeon and always keep your head elevated, especially when reclining or lying down to sleep. Keep pillows and blankets nearby to make sure you can find a comfortable angle that will allow blood to flow away from the head and ease your swelling.
Other common side effects that patients experience after facelift surgery include nausea, lethargy, swelling and bruising, tightness of the face, a tingling sensation or numbness, and even anxiety. It is normal to be uncomfortable and to question your decision for a facelift; many patients are daunted by the bandages and swelling as they struggle to imagine their actual results. Give yourself time to heal and stay calm; your results will appear before you know it.
While pain and discomfort is typical for these first hours, many patients are more comfortable than they expected to be. Keep an open mind about how you’ll feel and don’t stress about the pain. Whatever level of discomfort you experience initially will gradually fade with time, so remember that Day One is the toughest day of your recovery. It’s really all uphill from here!
Avoid Your Mirrors for 48 Hours
It’s tempting to rush home and find the nearest mirror after your surgery. After all, how else can you see your facelift results? However, that first day after surgery is really not the best time to try to assess how well your facial plastic surgeon achieved your desired results. Swelling, bruising, redness, and even bandages are going to get in your way. In fact, most facelift patients that do check things out in the mirror are often upset by what they see. While all of these side effects are a natural part of the healing process, for many they are just too disturbing to witness.
This swelling will subside in time. Within a couple of weeks, you’ll begin to see a clearer vision of your post-facelift self and picture where you’ll end up at the end of this healing process. If you are disturbed by the idea of seeing yourself puffy and sore, it’s best to skip the mirror altogether. Ask your friends and family members to steer you away from mirrors until you start to look a little more like yourself again. This is also a great idea if you’re hoping to be surprised with your newly healed, younger you!
Info on Incisions
While swelling and bruising might keep you occupied after your facelift, it’s the incisions that might actually require your care to heal properly. Following surgery, your incisions will be bandaged and one or more drainage tubes may be used to help alleviate the accumulation of fluids. If you’re brave enough to look in the mirror, keep checking on your incisions every day or so to make sure they don’t change in appearance too much. If you’d rather not stare at yourself, have a friend or family member check for any signs of irritation or infection instead. Any unsettling changes should be reported to your surgeon as soon as possible to rule out complications.
From your first day into your first week, your incisions will likely feel itchy and might pinch a little. This is completely normal but you must resist the urge to scratch them, rub them, or keep touching them. Doing so could cause an infection, excess bleeding, poor healing, the formation of extra scar tissue, and other unwanted consequences.
Tips to Survive Day One
The first day after your facelift will likely be a foggy one, thanks to the anesthetics and sedatives that will still be in your system. You may be extra emotional because of this or experience higher levels of anxiety. Remember to keep calm during these moments and stay focused on a safe, healthy recovery. Follow these instructions to build a solid foundation for your recovery starting on day one:
• Rest, stay comfortable, and keep your head elevated to reduce your swelling.
• Be prepared with various methods of pain management, as recommend by your facial plastic surgeon, including cold compresses and prescription pain medication.
• Don’t mess with your face at all to allow it to heal properly.
• Wear only comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that buttons down the front. Don’t pull anything over your head, especially for those first few days.
• Avoid mirrors as much as you can to keep yourself from getting discouraged, if you’re a visual person. If you can handle it, try to use mirror-viewing to monitor the healing process and the condition of your incisions.
Consult With a Facial Plastic Surgeon Today
If you’re just beginning the process of having facelift surgery, start out right by booking a consultation with Dr. Andrew Frankel, board certified in both Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (ENT). He focuses on facial rejuvenation, especially 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 (310) 552-2173 to schedule your appointment today.