Although we’ve got a plethora of dermal fillers, laser and light therapies, and other modalities at our fingertips these days, the facelift has not been replaced. For many people, the time comes when problems like jowls and nasolabial folds are too much to look at anymore. A facelift can correct these and other concerns in a way that nonsurgical treatments can’t. So the question of when is sometimes more related to “when is the best time to schedule my facelift?” Here, we discuss recovery and the timing of returning to work and other normal activities.
What is facelift recovery like?
For the first 24 to 48 hours after facelift surgery, most patients are quite fatigued. Sleepiness stems from a combination of physical stress (a natural byproduct of surgery) and prescription pain medication. During this time, it is important that an adult caregiver is present at all times. This person will help administer medication, serve food, and provide assistance to and from the bathroom. After 1 to 3 days, most patients can switch from prescription pain medication to over-the-counter pain relief.
Due to fatigue and early side effects, patients are encouraged to rest as much as necessary for the first 3 to 4 days after surgery. Driving is not allowed until prescription pain medication is no longer being taken. patients should also resume driving only after it is comfortable to turn their head enough to operate a vehicle safely. For the first 3 weeks of recovery, activity must be no more strenuous than walking.
Pain subsides to soreness, numbness, and a tight sensation within a day or two. These side effects can last for weeks. Bruising and swelling typically peak by Day 5 before gradually improving over 2 to 4 weeks to a point of being undetectable.
Returning to Work
Once it is safe to drive, the question about returning to work revolves around strenuous activity and personal comfort. Most patients with a desk job are back to work in 10 to 14 days after their procedure. At this time, scars from incisions will still be pink but can be disguised with makeup. Patients should also be aware of their energy level and gauge their return to full-day activities based on their recovery.