How long does it take to heal after a Facelift? What is the healing time of a facelift?
With any surgery, us surgeons will often answer “it depends” to this question. There are many factors that influence healing time as each one of us are different. Some people heal quickly, some slowly. Some people bruise more than others. It’s very difficult to predict, but we do have a general idea.
In the field of facial plastic surgery, cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons often get asked about the healing time of a facelift. We all have our time frames but I like to look at it in stages. I think of four stages to healing after a facelift.
Stage 1 – The Post-Op Period or “Watch movies and read some books” time
This is the first week after a surgery. You will likely have bruising and swelling and most people do not want to go outside. You need to take it easy and relax. If you exercise or exert yourself there is a risk that stitches can pull out or bleeding can start under the skin. This is a key period of healing and without a doubt, the most important. You will also likely feel a bit drained of energy as your body is using a lot of energy to heal. You will also have some pain medication to use if needed.
Stage 2 – “Socially acceptable” appearance but still need to relax phase
Around week 2 you’ll likely start feeling like yourself. You still may have some bruising but most times it is significantly reduced. The swelling will be less and the stitches will be ready to be removed. You may also notice one side of your face is more swollen than the other, which is normal. People often consider this the “socially acceptable” phase as the feel ok to go out and be seen.
Also, you may notice some tingling, numbness and tightness. This is due to nerves that are starting to work again as well as your skin settling into position.
Stage 3 – Getting out there and feeling like yourself
This is the time from week 3-4. You should feel great with some swelling. The bruising is typically gone and all the stitches are out. You can start to resume activity (light activity).
The incisions/scars will still look red, which is normal and typical. Most people get back to work at this stage. It is also safe to use make up on the scars.
Stage 4 – Waiting and getting back to normal
This is the long stage. At this point after 1 month, you can do whatever you like. Your incisions/scars from the facelift will improve over time. The swelling will resolve more and more as time passes. The final results can take up to one year, yet you will look great even with the swelling.
Its always difficult to predict exactly what the healing time will be for a facelift but this can serve as a guideline for planning. As I mentioned, everyone is different but the key is that you have nurses and a surgeon who is available any time to talk and discuss any issue you may have.