Facelift Post-Op Care Patient Q&A

Here are frequently asked questions and answers for patients of the New York Group for Plastic Surgery following a facelift procedure:

Q: My face and eyes are swollen, and more swollen 2 days after surgery compared to the first day, is this normal?

A: Yes. Swelling in the face and eyelids is very normal after facelift surgery. The swelling actually peaks at 24-48 hours after surgery and will then begin to decrease. You can sleep with you head slightly propped up to help the swelling drain down your face.

Q: How long will it take for swelling to resolve?

A: Normal swelling after facelift surgery usually takes 6-8 weeks to completely resolve. Final results are better visualized at 12 weeks after surgery.

Q: How long does it take for bruising to resolve?

A: Bruising takes about 2 full weeks to completely resolve. After about 6-7 days, the bruising will turn from a purplish color to a more green/yellow; this will then fade by 2 weeks.

Q: When will my sutures (stitches) be removed?

A: Typically sutures around the eyes are removed 3-5 days after surgery. Sutures in front of the ear are usually removed 5-7 days after surgery, and finally the sutures behind your ears and/or staples in your scalp will be removed 2 weeks after surgery.

Q: When can I begin exercising?

A: You may walk at any point, but strenuous exercise where you may raise your blood pressure should not be done for 2 weeks. After that period, you may begin to work up to your normal exercise routine but begin slowly.

Q: When can I wear make-up?

A: You may wear make-up to cover facial bruising after 5-7 days. You may wear eye make-up to cover bruising after 10-14 days.

Q: How long should I wear the compressive facial garment?

A: Your surgeon will place you in a “head wrap” that will be worn continuously for the first 1-3 days. He will then remove this and give you a removable compressive garment that should be worn as much as possible for the first 2-3 weeks. Most patients wear it at night so they can return to work without any bulky dressings, but if you do not work or you work from home, we encourage you to wear it as much as it’s tolerable.

Q: When can I drive?

A: You may drive when you are off pain medication and can safely and comfortably maneuver the car; typically this is 5-10 days after surgery.

Q: When can I travel?

A: You may go on long car rides or fly on a plane at 4 weeks after surgery, but you need to get up and walk around every 2-3 hours if possible.

Q: When can I get in a pool, submerge in a bathtub or go to the beach?

A: You may be submerged in water at 4 weeks post-op as long as you don’t have any open wounds. It’s best to wait for 6 weeks before going in hot tubs because they typically harbor more bacteria than pools.