Health and Lifestyle for the over 50s
The Best of Guide to Cosmetic Surgery

Recovery

recovery-time

A night in hospital is usual immediately after a facelift, where trained nurses and doctors are on hand to provide immediate post-operative care. The bandages from surgery are usually removed before leaving hospital, and are often replaced with a stretchy supportive strap.

Although a small number of people prefer to spend their recovery period in a retreat, or in the private hospital where their surgery took place, the majority of people go home to recover.

Support from a friend or relative (or a hired nurse) is essential when recovering at home. As with any surgery, a facelift means you have to take it easy. The general advice is that it takes two weeks before you would be ready to go back to work, and the same can be said for doing heavy chores around the home.

Going to the gym is also out, as is any form of normal exercise. However, some movement is recommended after the first 24 hours to prevent deep vein thrombosis. A gentle walk around the house or garden is sufficient.

Bruising and swelling continues to increase around the eyes, ears, jaw and neck during the first week. The neck feels stiff and the face feels tight. However, these should subside around 7 days, and it is usual to have a follow-up visit to the plastic surgeon at this point to check on progress.

Explore the buttons below to learn more about the after effects of facelift surgery:

[expand title=”Pain Management”]Any pain felt should be managed according to your surgeon’s directions. It’s necessary to take pain relief medication, without it blood pressure can increase, which in turn can cause more bruising, and, in some cases, cause bleeding. . Excessive pain, infected wounds, or a fever are a sign something is wrong. Anyone suffering from these symptoms should notify their surgeon immediately.[/expand] [expand title=”Depression”]Feeling low and depressed is a common reaction to cosmetic surgery. Reasons vary, but in the majority of cases the low comes from not seeing an instant improvement, being alone whilst recovering, the discomfort from surgery, anxiety about what family and friends will think. However, there are a small percentage of people whose desire for cosmetic surgery is driven by more complicated psychological issues. In these cases surgery rarely improves their self image and it is advised to seek out alternatives such as therapy to address the problem.[/expand] [expand title=”Drainage”]In some cases drains are fixed to the face to remove serous fluid to reduce the build up of serous fluid. This is a fluid released by the body as a reaction to the separation of the underlying facial muscles and the overlying skin.

If drains have been fixed, they will be removed between a couple of days and a couple of weeks after surgery. If recovery is being done at home, this will be require visiting the clinic or hospital where the surgery took place to have them removed.
[/expand] [expand title=”Sleep”]It is necessary to sleep propped up on more pillows than normal, and on your back to allow your surgical scars to heal properly. Elevating the head around 30 degrees, and with pillows under the top of the shoulders, reduces the pressure on surgical wounds. Some surgeons suggest sleeping on a reclining chair, others recommend using bed wedges, which are made with memory foam and come with removable covers
[/expand] [expand title=”Ice-pack”]Applying ice-packs to the face helps reduce swelling and bruising in the first 2-3 days after surgery. However, it is important to wrap the ice carefully so that it doesn’t come into direct contact with the skin.
[/expand] [expand title=”Beauty Routine”]The skin will be delicate and more prone to infection after surgery, so it’s recommended to wait 2 weeks before using make-up, 4 weeks until dyeing hair, and six weeks before have a facial massage. Cosmetic surgeons will recommend the best cream to keep the scar tissue moisturised.
[/expand] [expand title=”Driving”]Face lift surgery and driving don’t mix well, which is why it is common to be told not to drive for at least a week after a facelift. Apart from the face and neck being stiff and sore, requiring time to heal, turning the neck around sharply can cause the sutures to tear.
[/expand] [expand title=”Exercise”]Don’t exercise for at least 3 weeks after surgery. This includes heavy lifting around the house and office. The sutures need to be given time to sew the skin together and physical strain my result in torn stitches. However, surgeons generally advise patients to move around after the first day, take a turn around the house, or go for a short walk if the weather is fine. This will also help improve bowel movements.
[/expand] [expand title=”Diet”]Eating a normal, low salt, healthy, balanced diet after surgery is essential to the healing process. If you usually take supplements it is advisable to discuss these with your surgeon and your GP, as some supplements impede the healing process. As one of the effects of having pain medication is that it can cause constipation, drinking fruit juice is advised. One fruit in particular, pineapple, can help reduce swelling because of the enzyme it contains, bromelain. But speak to your surgeon as this enzyme is known to increase the effect of blood-thinning medications, and can cause stomach upset and diarrhoea.
[/expand] [expand title=”Sunscreen”]Once you are ready to go outsides, it is recommended covering scars with an SPF 50+ sunblock. This prevents hyperpigmentation (darkening) of the skin. Although there are no strict guidelines on how long, most clinics will suggest protecting the scar with sunscreen for 12 months post surgery.
[/expand] [expand title=”Swimming & Hot Tubs”]Avoid going into a swimming pool and resist the temptation to jump in the hot tub after surgery. Bugs and fungi breed in the warm water and can infect your healing scars. The warmth of a hot tub can also dilate arteries and cause haematomas.
[/expand] [expand title=”Infection Control”]Keep the area clean at all times and try to avoid going near dusty, dirty or sandy places. Check the incision regularly to make sure that there is no redness, or discharge such as green or yellow pus.
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