You will be given thorough written instructions to prepare for and recover from your procedure. Face and neck lift recovery time is largely the same for all of the different techniques. Expect some soreness, bruising, swelling, tightness, and numbness. Oral over-the-counter or prescription medications can be taken to manage any discomfort you experience.
Bruising and tenderness should subside within 7 to 10 days, and 90% of swelling usually goes away within 3 weeks. It may take a few months for all of the tightness and numbness to resolve.
You will wear a gauze bandage around your neck and jawline the first night. In rare cases, tubes may be placed under the skin to drain any excess fluids during the first day or 2 of healing. We will see you in the office the next day to make sure that you are healing well.
Usually, all stitches are removed in 1 week. In most cases, you may shower within 2 days and dye your hair in 3 weeks. Most patients dye their hair a few days before their surgery.
You will need to sleep sitting up for a few days to reduce swelling, but you should be able to return to work and normal, nonstrenuous activities in about 2 weeks. We ask that for 3 weeks, you do not strain yourself with any exercise that could raise your blood pressure. High blood pressure is what causes bleeding under the skin. Light exercise can be resumed in 3 weeks, and strenuous exercise in 6 weeks.
You should be presentable 1 week after surgery, when it is safe to wear makeup to cover any residual bruising. Most patients are safe to drive after about a week. Most patients refrain from social activities for about 2 weeks. We do recommend that you wait 2 to 3 months before scheduling a big event after your surgery, such as a wedding or presentation. Please be careful to wear sun block for 6 months after your surgery.
You will need to follow up with your surgeon periodically for a year to check on your progress.
When the stitches have been removed, we will begin our scar regimen, which we continue for a few months to improve the incision areas as much as possible. We apply scar cream and perform massage. We also usually provide cortisone injections anywhere on the incisions where the skin might thicken. This prevents the scars from becoming raised and prominent.
How long does a face lift last? It depends on the patient and the surgical technique used. As already mentioned, since we do more than just pull the skin back, our face lifts last longer. For younger patients, the rejuvenated under-structure of the face can last as long as 10 years. For patients in their 70s, the aging process is accelerated, so the under-structure may last 5 to 7 years. No matter what, you will always look better than if you had never had the operation – even 20-40 years later.
The better you care for your skin, the longer your results will last. For example, you can protect your investment in a face lift by using skin care products and having microdermabrasion, Botox, and dermal fillers to keep the area looking youthful. Patients often come to us for small revisions several years after their first face lift.