A facelift can dramatically revitalize your facial appearance. Over time, aging, gravity, sun damage, and stress can cause the face to lose its youthful form and elasticity—resulting in the formation of deep creases, folds, wrinkling, laxity of the jaw line, and droopy cheeks. Fortunately, facelift surgery allows for the youthful contours of the face to be restored.
The Facelift Procedure
Facelift surgery, also called rhytidectomy, can improve the most visible signs of aging from the inside-out by tightening the underlying muscles of the face, removing deposits of excess fat, and re-draping the facial skin, making it appear firmer and tighter. A facelift can be performed alone or in conjunction with other procedures, such as a forehead lift (brow lift), eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), or neck lift for patients desiring more extensive facial rejuvenation.
Facelift Results – Supple, Smooth, and Natural
The aesthetic results of facelift depend upon skin thickness, the level of skin elasticity, and the patient’s unique facial structure. Most patients who come to our office for a facelift are extremely pleased with their results. Dr. Steven Holzman—our experienced plastic surgeon—is careful to keep the results of this procedure looking natural by minimizing potential scarring and preventing the skin from being overly tightened. Patients can emerge from this procedure looking youthful and refreshed, with an appearance that has been gracefully enhanced rather than dramatically changed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Facelift Surgery
How should I prepare for my facelift?
Shampoo your hair the evening before your procedure. Do not use any conditioners, gel, or hairspray. Do not apply any makeup, facial creams, or lotions to your face the day of surgery. You may color your hair two days before the procedure, but must wait six weeks after your procedure to color again.
Are there tips for the first 24 hours after facelift surgery?
Take your pain and nausea medications at regular intervals.
Begin advancing to a regular diet as tolerated. If you feel nauseated, immediately take anti-nausea medication and drink only clear fluids. As your nausea improves, you may add soft, easily digested foods—like broth-based soups, applesauce, or plain, steamed rice—to your diet as tolerated.
Keep the incision sites clean and dry, and replace any wet gauze quickly. It is normal to see a small amount of bleeding from the incisions for the first 24–48 hours. If the bleeding is moderate to severe, call Dr. Holzman.
What type of dressing is used after facelift surgery?
A head wrap / chin-strap / headband with foam will be used to hold your dressings in place after surgery. These will absorb any drainage and will provide gentle compression to decrease swelling. The dressings should be left intact. Keeping the tissues compressed aids in wound healing and provides more comfort.
The compression dressing is generally worn 24 hours per day for five to seven days, then only at night for the next week.
How should I sleep after facelift surgery?
Keep your head elevated, even while sleeping.
What type of physical activity should I avoid after my facelift?
Minimize your head and neck movements after your procedure. Exercise during the first postoperative week should be limited to activities of daily living (eating, sleeping, and showering).
You may begin light exercise after your first postoperative week. Walking is preferred, as it is minimally disruptive.
You should not perform any exercises or movements that require severe turning of the head or produce episodes of breath holding—such as weight lifting, rowing, golfing, or heavy aerobics—for approximately four weeks after your surgery. Extreme movements can disrupt your sutures, as well as lead to poor wound healing and unacceptable scarring. Dr. Holzman will let you know when normal activity may be resumed. This is usually four to six weeks after surgery.
Driving should not be resumed until full range of motion of the head and neck is regained.
When can I shower after facelift surgery?
You may shower and gently wash your hair 48 hours after surgery. Use a conditioner to help detangle your hair without pulling. You may notice some hair loss during your shower. This is not true hair loss, but rather hair that was cut when making the incisions.
Can I blow dry my hair?
If you need to dry your hair, the blow dryer should be set on low heat. Avoid using high heat on your hair dryer until four to six weeks after surgery. Be careful combing or brushing your hair. The areas around the incision sites may be slightly numb, and could be accidentally injured.
Will I be able to care for myself after facelift surgery?
Adequate rest is very important and will allow your body to heal more quickly. Arrange to have a caregiver available for the first two to four days after surgery.
Reminder: listen to your body and do not push yourself too early!
What can I do to manage the pain?
Dr. Holzman will prescribe a narcotic pain medication and an anti-nausea medication. Take both of these medications as scheduled for the first 24–48 hours after surgery. After that time, you may simply take them as needed.
After the first 48 hours, you may switch to non-narcotic pain medications, if desired. Ibuprofen 600mg (three tablets) taken every eight hours, as needed, provides excellent pain control and also reduces inflammation. Take ibuprofen (brand name: Advil or Motrin) with food to avoid stomach upset.
- Consider taking them at bedtime so you can rest well
- Pain is best controlled if you take medicine when you first feel pain, or even ahead of time
The pain management instruction sheet provided by Dr. Holzman will have more information.
What other medication(s) should I take post-op?
Continue taking the Arnica supplement that you started taking before surgery.
My face and neck are tight, is that normal?
For the first seven to ten days after surgery, your face and neck will feel tight. You may find it difficult to fully open your mouth. Do not force neck movement or mouth opening, as you may disrupt sutures. For this reason, a soft diet for the first week after surgery is preferred, as it decreases mouth and facial movements.
How long should I expect to be swollen and bruised?
Swelling and bruising is common after facelift surgery. The swelling may be significant for the first three to four days. You will notice significant bruising on your face and neck after surgery. Bruising will appear purple in color initially, and will fade to brown and yellow over the next week or so. The swelling will make the face and neck look distorted initially but will resolve over the next two to four days. Most swelling and bruising will resolve after two to four weeks.
Can I use makeup to hide my bruising?
Camouflage makeup may be used after any sutures or staples are removed, and the incision sites are no longer crusted.
What can I do to help reduce scarring after facelift surgery?
Facial scars usually heal well, but take some time to do so. Dr. Holzman places your incisions in the most hidden areas possible. Careful closure techniques ensure minimal scarring. Dr. Holzman may recommend a silicone-based scar treatment at your first postoperative visit. These treatments decrease the appearance of the scars and speed healing. Avoid sun and tanning bed exposure to prevent permanent discoloration in the bruised areas. Use a medical-grade sunscreen to minimize sun exposure.
Contact us for more information about facelift surgery or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Holzman.