Like any surgery, a facelift involves a lot of prior planning before your procedure date arrives. You may find yourself facing a long to-do list, filled with tasks to complete during the days and weeks that lead up to your surgery. Taking care of these preparations can help to ensure you have a smooth recovery that leads to your best results. Your facial plastic surgeon will most likely walk you through these important steps, but make sure to keep your own checklist handy to keep yourself on track.
Start One Month Before Your Facelift
A month seems like a long time to be preparing for a surgery, but remember that the things you do now can reap big benefits for you later, especially when you’re laid up on the couch and just want to rest. During the last three to four weeks before your facelift surgery, here’s what you can expect to be doing in preparation:
• All of your pre-surgical tests will be ordered, often including laboratory tests and EKGs for some patients. Not every patient will be asked to have these tests performed; your individual pre-op appointments will be based on your health, medical history, and any current medical conditions you may have. Don’t leave these tests to the last minute to avoid unwanted surprises and surgery cancellation.
• Work on maintaining a healthy lifestyle each day, complete with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise. A fit and healthy you is the best way to ensure that your body will be ready to heal following surgery.
• Talk to your facial plastic surgeon about your current hairstyle and make plans to have your hair cut as needed to better accommodate him or her during surgery.
• Be proactive in preventing pregnancy, if you are a woman of child-bearing age. You will not be able to have a facelift surgery performed if you are pregnant, as it can risk your health and your baby’s health. Take steps to protect yourself against pregnancy until your surgery and recovery has ended.
Start Two Weeks Before Your Facelift
As you draw closer and closer to your surgery date, it’s time to move on to the next phase of your planning. Your focus should be on being (and staying) healthy in these final weeks. Follow these instructions to do just that:
• Go through the list of medications and supplements that can cause harmful interactions during surgery and stop taking them. Typically, these include aspirin, ibuprofen, and vitamin E, among others. Get the full list from your facial plastic surgeon to be safe.
• If you’re a smoker, use chewing tobacco, or have been wearing a cessation patch, it’s time to stop. Say goodbye to nicotine to give your body a chance to reverse the constriction of your blood vessels and improve your chances of healing well. If you decide to resume smoking, you must wait at least two weeks after your procedure to do so.
• Apply sunscreen daily, especially to your face, to avoid sun burns and damage.
• Boost your vitamin C intake with an extra 1000 mg every day. With high, healthy levels of vitamin C in your body, you’ll be healing faster and more completely after your facelift surgery.
• Start talking with friends and family about your travel plans on the day of surgery. You will need someone to drive you to and from surgery, so plan accordingly.
• If you are traveling more than 30 minutes to your facial plastic surgeon’s office/clinic/hospital, it is important that you plan to stay more locally and book a hotel for you and your driver.
• You won’t want to travel more than 30 minutes after your surgery, so give yourself a closer place to stay those first critical hours.
• At home, start planning a special recovery space that is dedicated to rest and relaxation. Pick a place that is easy to get to, close to the bathroom, and comfortable. Stock this space full of pillows, blankets, comfy clothes that don’t pull over your head, healthy snacks, bottled water, medical supplies and medications, and something to keep you occupied.
Start One Week Before Surgery
Now is the time to check off the last few odd to-dos from your list and really start thinking about your recovery time. In the last week leading up to your surgery, make sure to keep these guidelines in mind:
• Avoid alcohol during this final week, as well as one full week after surgery. Alcohol can restrict the blood vessels and also lead to dangerous interactions and potential complications during surgery. Give yourself a week free of alcohol before surgery to be safest.
• Patients who regularly dye, highlight, or perm their hair should book a last salon appointment during this week before surgery. As you recover, it won’t be wise to have these services done. Take care of your hair now so you can last through your recovery period without getting the urge.
• Run all of those last-minute errands to clear your slate during your recovery time. Make a list of what needs to be done and start working your way through the grocery store, pharmacy, dry cleaners, dog groomer, etc. Don’t leave anything hanging over your head that will distract you from relaxing. And remember that you won’t be able to do these things during recovery, so don’t say you’ll just “do it later.”
Start on the Morning of Your Facelift
Yes, you’ll be prepping straight up until you arrive at your surgeon’s clinic for your facelift appointment. To make sure that you’ve followed all the rules and that nothing will keep you from having your procedure, follow your pre-op checklist closely. You’re so close to the end; don’t give up now!
• Avoid eating or drinking anything, including water, after midnight on the night before your surgery. This is a good rule that ensures your stomach is empty and you are eligible for surgery.
• Confirm your ride to and from the procedure. It must be a friend or family member who can stay in the waiting room during your facelift. You will not be permitted to take a cab, bus, or other form of public transportation home following your surgery, for your own safety.
• The morning of your surgery, take a nice long shower to clear your head and mentally prepare for surgery. Do not apply any makeup, hair styling products, or facial products. Remove any nail polish from your fingers as well.
• Dress in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing that buttons or zips in front. Avoid clothing that must be pulled over your head, because it will be too uncomfortable to dress and undress after your surgery.
• Don’t bring any jewelry or other valuables with you. Leave them safely at home during your surgery.
• If you require corrective lenses, wear your glasses but do not wear your contact lenses on the day of your surgery.
As your facelift surgery creeps closer and closer, following this list closely can help you transition through the various planning stages leading up to your procedure. Being prepared can help you to achieve the facelift results you really want and have a smooth, uneventful recovery process. Talk to your facial plastic surgeon to make sure your list is thorough and you’re staying on track.
Start Your Facelift Planning 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). His focus is on facial rejuvenation, especially through procedures such as the facelift, brow lift, or eyelid surgery, andrhinoplasty. 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.