How Long Does It Take to Look Normal After a Facelift?
Published on November 11, 2019 by Andrew Barnett
A facelift can safely and effectively improve your appearance by reducing or eliminating sag, wrinkles, fullness in the neck, and other signs of aging. Many of our patients want to look and feel their best before a big event. With proper planning and preparation, you’ll be able to facilitate a smooth recovery so you can look and feel your best with minimal time away from work, and interference with social events.
As a board-certified surgeon, I’ve helped numerous men and women achieve lasting results with limited pain, scarring, and downtime. Recovery is variable from patient to patient and is influenced by many factors. While there are no absolutes, having performed many thousands of facelifts, I have a good idea about what you can expect during your recovery. Let’s take a closer look at how long it will take you to become fully camera-ready.
*Individuals Results May Vary
Facelift Recovery: Day One
During surgery, I use a specialized technique known as a two-layer facelift. Although it takes slightly more surgical skill, the two-layer technique allows for maximum results and a natural-looking outcome. The two-layer technique, despite taking more time than the single-layer technique, shortens the recovery period. Following surgery, you will be staying in the hospital for one night following your procedure and will be attended to by a private duty nurse. She has worked with me for many years and follows a protocol of cooling the surgical areas to reduce swelling and bruising. Please note, you will need someone to drive you home and while not essential, it is always a good idea to have someone with you for 24-48 hours.
Facelift Recovery: The First Week
You’ll likely feel swollen and tight for the first week or two. A pain medication prescription is provided in order to keep discomfort levels down. Every patient is unique in their pain tolerance, therefore your pain management plan will unique to you. During the first week, rest and recovery is your primary goal. You should refrain from any strenuous activity during this period and minimize head motion. Remember not to push yourself too hard too quickly following surgery.
An appointment will be scheduled within 4-6 days following your surgery. We’ll discuss the recovery process in detail before your surgery, but I will review your progress and present you with a custom set of instructions at the first visit to guide you and shorten your recovery. At this visit, I will remove most of your stitches.
Facelift Recovery: Two Weeks In
Swelling and bruising will be present up until week two and should not cause concern. Residual swelling may be present for up to several months following the procedure, although it is fairly subtle after the first two weeks. In most cases, you’ll start looking and feeling better allowing you to enjoy more social activities.
Depending on the type of work you do, most patients feel comfortable returning to work after 10-14 days. You’ll be allowed to return to the gym at one week but your activities will be limited. By two weeks you’re able to lift light weights and do aerobic activities, but no straining, head down, or high impact. Incorporating more strenuous tasks is generally okay towards the third week of recovery.
General Facelift Recovery
You’ll continue to see gradual improvement as any residual post-operative swelling subsides. In general, the results from your facelift will look very good after about 1-month and you’ll look your best at 6 months.
A facelift can produce long-lasting results for years to come. And while everyone has a unique aging process, many of my patients don’t feel they need more work for 12-14 years.
Facelift Consultations Available
How Far in Advance of a Big Event or Wedding Should I Have a Facelift?
Even though desired results can often be achieved, having plastic surgery less than 1-month before a big event (like a child’s wedding) is not typically recommended. That’s because physical downtime and social downtime are two different animals. The best time to have your surgery is at least 6-8 weeks before any social event. However, you’ll also need to consider the time it takes to go through the consultation phase and actually schedule your surgery.
I often suggest considering having your surgery done as soon as possible to ensure an optimal, stress-free outcome. At the time of your in-person consultation, we’ll discuss every aspect of your upcoming procedure more in-depth. Each facelift is highly customized according to your facial anatomy, specific concerns, and ultimate goals. In some instances, combination procedures, such as facial fat grafting or a brow lift, may be suggested for more dramatic results.
Great, great and great. Dr Barnett is an artist. I trust his work and judgement. He knows how to turn your clock back naturally. The absolute best
Take the Next Step
Ready to look and feel your best? Schedule a consultation with Andrew Barnett M.D. to discuss your options today. Consultations are available in both our San Francisco and Walnut Creek offices. You may schedule for either location by calling (415) 879-8735. Renee or Laurie will help you and answer any pre-consultation questions you may have!