Most patients can follow the same guidelines to prepare for a face lift but it is important to consult with your surgeon to see if you require an individualized plan.
Before Your Face Lift
In the six-months prior to your surgery it is a good idea to get within 15-20 pounds of your ideal weight and maintain that weight. Losing a lot of weight after the surgery can alter the appearance of your face lift.
Tobacco use can affect recovery time by restricting blood flow so it is also recommended that you quit smoking three weeks prior to surgery and not smoke for at least two weeks after the procedure.
Some medications and dietary supplements could have side effects with surgical medicines. Discuss possible drug interactions with your doctor and suspend or reduce use based on specific recommendations.
If you are having anesthesia, do not eat or drink anything prior to the surgery. The surgeon will advise when to stop ingesting food or drink in order to prevent side effects such as upset stomach.
Shower and wash your hair as close to the surgery as possible. Keeping the sutures dry after surgery is essential and it may be suggested that you wait 4 or 5 days after surgery before showering or entering a sauna.
Wear clothing that does not require being pulled over the head and face before and after the surgery. It is easier to prevent touching the sutures by having button-up shirts or wrap dresses.
Risks During/After Your Surgery
Face lift surgery is a relatively low risk procedure, but with all surgeries risks do exist.
Anesthesia will often cause nausea after surgery but subsides within a few hours.
Bleeding under the skin is rare but a potential issue. Seek surgery to remove the blood if painful swelling occurs.
Infections are a possible risk of any surgery. Swelling, pain and feelings of heat in areas could mean you need to be treated with antibiotics.
Facial nerve injury can occur in face lift operations. You may have temporary loss of facial muscle control or numbness.
Scarring or skin discoloration are possible side effects of face lift surgery. Surgical techniques may leave small scars near the ears and on the bottom of the chin.
A little bleeding after a surgery is normal, but uncontrolled or continuous bleeding may occur. Seek medical attention if bleeding does not stop.
Face Lift Recovery
Recovery after surgery takes varying amounts of time based on the individual. Plan for at least 2 weeks of minimal activity.
Most people will need a couple days of bed rest with the head elevated. Immediately following surgery the face may have drainage tubes and be covered with bandages. Usually both are removed within 1-2 days.
After the first few days you will be able to get up and move around gently. Strenuous activity of any kind should be avoided for the first 7-10 days.
Doctors may request that you do not shower for 4-5 days following surgery in order to keep sutures dry.
The majority of patients can return to work after 2 weeks. However, if a job requires heavy physical labor you may want to wait 3 weeks.
For several weeks after surgery you may want to avoid tobacco, alcohol, saunas, hot tubs and sexual intercourse. Healing time may take longer if you increase blood pressure or thin blood.
Swelling and redness reduce gradually following surgery, but most people will see excellent results within 3 weeks after surgery. Scars may take longer to heal, but most fade within 6 months to 1 year.