Facelift After Care Instructions

  • After surgery elevate your head and shoulder on 2 or more pillows. Avoid bending forward at the neck for the first week.
  • Avoid straining of any kind for the first 48 hours. When awake in bed, please flex your feet and legs 3-4 times every hour.
  • Apply ice bags or Swiss eye masks (keep them cold or in ice) to the exposed areas of your face for the first 48 hours to reduce swelling post-operatively.
  • If you have pain or discomfort take the pain medication every 3-4 hours. It is best to take the pain medication with crackers, jello, etc. If you do not have pain please do not take the pain medication. Do not drink alcohol while you are taking pain medication.
  • The first 24-48 hours, to keep the pain cycle depressed, you may take the pain medication every 3-4 hours and the Xanax (anti-anxiety/muscle relaxant)every 8 hours.
  • A light diet is best following surgery that day. Begin by taking liquids slowly and progress to soups or jello. You may start with a soft, regular diet the next day.
  • You may have drains in place under the skin, in the neck only, after surgery. These will be secured and you will/can sleep in them- we will show you, but avoid pulling on them. The bulbs connected to the end of the drain should be kept compressed at all times. Instructions regarding the drains will be given to your caretaker. The drains will be removed within 72 hours.
  • After the drains have been removed you may start cleaning along the stitch lines, in front of and behind the ears and under the chin, with ½ strength hydrogen peroxide (use tap water to dilute). Apply a think layer of polysporin ointment to these areas after cleaning twice daily for the first 3 days only.
  • You can expect some swelling of the face and eyes after surgery. If the swelling on one side is definitely more pronounced than on the other side or if you are having pain which is not relived by the pain medication please call the plastic surgeon on call at 573-882-4141.
  • Avoid turning your head to either side as this will pull on the stitch lines. To turn, move your head and shoulders as one unit.
  • DO NOT SMOKE. This is very important.
  • Facial movements (smiling, talking, chewing, yawning etc) should be kept to a minimum for the first week.
  • After your dressings and drains have been removed you may wash your hair with baby shampoo. Lather your hair gently using the palms of your hands and rinse thoroughly until the soap is out. It may take several washings before all the crust and ointment is out of your hair (use a conditioner to help remove the ointment/oil). Do not use hairspray, conditioner, gels etc while the stitches and clips are in place. You may start washing your face gently with a bland soap (Neutrogena, Ivory etc) and use a moisturizer on your face, being careful to keep it away from the stitch lines.
  • Your hair may be dried with a blow dryer on a cool, NOT hot, setting.
  • Hair coloring should be delayed until 3 weeks after surgery when healing is completed and no crusts remain.
  • Normal activity can be gradually resumed after 3 weeks but strenuous activity (heart rate above 100 beats per minute) should be avoided for another week.
  • The skin of your face is sensitive to sunlight after surgery. Protect your facial skin from excessive exposure to the sun for 8 weeks. Wear a wide brim hat and sunscreen (SPF 20 or greater with UVA and UVB protection) if you are in the sun for prolonged periods
  • Your neck/face will feel tight but not necessarily look tight (it will look natural) and there will be a feeling of numbness in these areas for several weeks to months after surgery. It will disappear and your feeling will be perfectly normal.
  • The scars and any areas of bruising can be massaged with vitamin E or aloe vera cream (apply twice daily for 6 months) beginning 3 weeks after surgery. This will promote softening and maturation and improve scar healing in these areas.
  • Strenuous activity/lifting of objects heavier than 10 lbs should be avoided for 3 weeks.
  • All incisions will be extremely sensitive to sunlight during the healing phase. Direct sun contact is to be avoided and always use a sunscreen with SPF 20 or greater with UVA and UVB protection even on cloudy days for at least 6 months.
  • Take all medications only as directed.
  • If you have nausea, vomiting, rash, shortness of breath, or diarrhea after taking your medication, please call the plastic surgeon on call at 573-882-4141.
  • If you develop a fever (oral temperature greater than 100 degrees) redness or increased pain at the site of the surgical incisions, please notify the plastic surgeon on call immediately at 573-882-4141.
  • Do not wear pullover clothing or hairpieces for 2-3 weeks after your facelift as your could disrupt your earlobe or hairline incisions.