Face FAQ

How should I prepare for my surgery? 

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 2 days before the procedure, but must wait 6 weeks after your procedure to color again.   

Tips for the first 24 hours? 

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 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 5-7 days, then only at night for the next week.  

How should I sleep after surgery? 

Keep your head elevated, even while sleeping. 

What type of physical activity should I avoid after surgery? 

Limit 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, golf or heavy aerobics for 4 weeks after your surgery.  Extreme movements can disrupt your sutures, and can lead to poor wound healing and unacceptable scarring.  Dr. Holzman will let you know when normal activity may be resumed.  This is usually 4-6 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 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 4-6 weeks after surgery. Be careful combing or brushing your hair.  The areas around the incisions sites may be slightly numb, and could be accidentally injured.   

Healing Process: 

Will I be able to care for myself after surgery? 

Adequate rest is very important and will allow your body to heal more quickly.  Arrange to have a caregiver available for the first 2-4 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 8 hours as needed provides excellent pain control, and reduces inflammation as well.  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.   

Refer to the pain management instruction sheet for 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 7-10 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? 

Patients who have facial surgery will notice swelling and bruising.  The swelling may be significant for the first 3-4 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. The swelling will make the face and neck look distorted but will resolve over the next 2-4 days.  Most swelling and bruising will resolve after 2-4 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 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 insure 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.