Although all areas of the body tend to change with age, the face seems to be the most telling when it comes to judging one’s age. Between wrinkles, loose skin, and drooping features, an older looking face can certainly garner certain perceptions and preconceptions about a person. A facelift can therefore have a multitude of benefits for those patients who wish to restore a look of youth and energy to their appearance.
If you have recently undergone a facelift at our Gainesville practice or are still considering one, keep in mind that all plastic surgery procedures require a healing period. By anticipating the side effects of surgery and acting accordingly, you can make the most of your recovery and subsequent results.
Early Effects after Surgery
Upon waking from surgery, you will likely feel drowsy from the lasting effects of anesthesia. Depending on the type of anesthesia used and your reaction to it, you may also feel dizzy, groggy, or nauseated. You will therefore require a ride home from a friend or family member, as you will be unable to drive safely.
As the anesthesia gradually wears off, you will begin to feel pain and discomfort in the midsection and lower areas of your face where tissues have been damaged. It is best to begin taking your prescribed painkillers as soon as you feel the anesthetic wearing off, as this will more effectively prevent pain from setting in.
Because the incisions have barely begun to heal at this point, you may also experience light bleeding after surgery. Applying gentle pressure to your bandages should be enough to stop the bleeding. If blood loss does not lessen or stop past the first day, contact your doctor for further instructions.
Side Effects throughout Recovery
A facelift does not normally result in any side effects aside from those of typical plastic surgery, but since they affect the face, patients may be more initially alarmed. However, each of these effects will resolve in time, and patients should not be worried unless they continue to worsen past their expected timeframe.
- Pain: Patients will likely experience some pain around their incisions and in areas where tissue has been removed. There should also be soreness from facial musculature that has been repositioned. Most of this pain can be minimized through the appropriate use of prescription painkillers. After the first week, most patients feel comfortable enough to use over-the-counter medication instead.
- Bruising: Patients experience different levels of bruising, depending on the procedure and their body’s reaction to it, but any discoloration should be expected over the first few days. After seven to 10 days, most bruising should be resolved and patients can return to work confidently.
- Swelling: It is natural for tissues to swell after they have been damaged, and this effect may last for weeks after surgery until the body has fully recovered. Luckily, most swelling should be gone within the first week or two, and patients can begin to see their results even as residual swelling lingers.
Since swelling tends to last the longest, patients often inquire as to what they can do about it to hasten recovery. While it may be impossible to avoid swelling altogether, the following steps can reduce its onset and longevity:
- Apply a cold compress to the area for 15 minutes at a time over first the 24 to 48 hours. This is the best way to reduce the initial severity of swelling in the first week. Once swelling begins to recede in the third or fourth day, the use of a warm compress may sooth the area and promote circulation.
- Keep your head elevated. Avoid bending over and keep your upper body propped up with pillows when reclining or lying down.
- Try to avoid sodium in your diet, as sodium will slow the drainage of fluids from the swollen area.
- Remain hydrated and get plenty of rest in order to promote a quick, healthy recovery.
Visit Our Office
Whether you are currently in recovery or have concerns about an upcoming procedure, we will gladly assist you with any questions you may have. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Gaines today to ensure a safe procedure with satisfying results.