How do I prepare for a facelift?
Your surgeon will provide thorough preoperative instructions, answer any questions you may have before your surgery, take a detailed medical history, and perform a physical exam to determine your fitness for surgery.
In advance of your procedure, your surgeon will ask you to:
- Stop smoking before undergoing surgery to promote better healing.
- Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs, and some herbal medications that can cause increased bleeding.
- Hydrate before and after surgery for safe recovery.
- Stabilize your weight before surgery or make other lifestyle suggestions to minimize your risk for complications.
A facelift is usually an outpatient procedure. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and stay with you for the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours, unless you and your surgeon have decided on other postoperative recovery options.
For the most comfortable recovery period, prepare carefully:
- If you color your hair, you should do it just before surgery, or you will need to wait several weeks after surgery.
- Stock your refrigerator with lots of fruits and vegetables and lean protein. Lean protein assists in healing. Sodium increases swelling; avoid it! Prepare frozen meals in advance. High protein, low sodium foods are best for the first couple of days.
- Plan where you will recuperate. If you have a recliner chair, it is best to elevate the feet, knees, and head. If you do not have a recliner, be sure to have lots of pillows available to prop up your head and knees. If possible, keep your phone and remote control for the TV by your bed.
- Decide what you will wear for the first few days; pick items that open in front and do not have to be pulled over your head. You should wear the same kind of clothing on the day of your surgery. Wear slip-on shoes.
- Be sure to get plenty of rest and don’t do any housework, heavy lifting, or exercise. Avoid hot showers, hot tubs and saunas for two to three weeks.
What can I expect the day of my facelift?
What you can expect depends on the type of facelift you get. Be sure to consult with your surgeon before your surgery so you have the most accurate expectations.
- You may have your facelift in an accredited hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility, or office-based surgical suite.
- Facelift surgery typically requires at least two hours to complete, though more extensive procedures may take longer.
- The surgeon will administer medications for your comfort during the procedure.
- Local anesthesia combined with sedation is commonly used during facelift surgery, though general anesthesia can be used instead. If general anesthesia is used, an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will be present to administer sedatives and assist in monitoring.
- For your safety during the surgery, various monitors will be used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse, and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood.
- Your surgeon will follow the surgical plan discussed with you before surgery. Once surgery has begun, the surgeon may decide to combine various techniques or change a technique to ensure the best result. It is important that you feel comfortable and trust your surgeon to make these decisions.
- After your surgery, you will go to a recovery area for continued monitoring.
- Your surgeon will likely cover your incisions with bulky bandages that provide gentle pressure to minimize swelling and bruising. They may also place a small tube under the skin behind one or both of your ears to drain any excess blood or fluid.
- Before heading home on the day of surgery, you or someone looking after you should feel comfortable emptying and resetting the drains.
- You may choose to go home on the day of surgery or spend the night with an office consultant or nurse unless you and your plastic surgeon have made other plans for your immediate postoperative recovery. Under no circumstances will you be permitted to go home alone.