Okay, the mirror says it’s time. You’ve thought about it for months, and now you’re ready to have that face and/or neck lift. Patients who prepare themselves recover much more easily. The most common question Dr. Griffin’s facelift patients ask is, “what can I expect regarding recovery?”

Your recovery time depends on the extent of your facelift surgery. Some minimally invasive facelift techniques may involve shorter recovery periods than those that target the deeper tissues in your face, such as the SMAS (an area of facial musculature) lift. If other procedures like eyelid or brow lift surgery are done in conjunction with your facelift, your recovery may take longer.

Everyone experiences their facelift recovery differently, but some general principles do apply.   Preparing your skin and body in the weeks and months prior to a surgical procedure like a facelift, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle afterward, can greatly increase your chances of healing quickly, healing well, and loving your results.

Dr. Griffin recommends these tips to help you prepare for your facelift:

  1. Get on the health train now, and start with drinking and eating.  Healthy, hydrated skin heals quicker and better. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid sugar, excessive caffeine and energy drinks.
  2. Smoking and drinking will delay healing. Eliminate smoking and heavy alcohol intake at least three weeks before and three weeks after your surgery.
  3. Make sure your doctor knows about all medications and natural supplements you are taking or have taken over the past year.  Some can dangerously interact with the anesthesia and medications your plastic surgeon may administer or prescribe, or even thin blood and cause excessive bleeding.  Supplements like Echinacea may seem harmless but can contribute to allergic reactions.
  4. Dr. Griffin recommends supplements to help with swelling and bruising.  This will be discussed at your consult.
  5. Begin and maintain a good skincare regimen. This will only maximize the results of your procedure.
  6. If you have short hair, you may want to let it grow out to help cover your incisions until they heal.  Once healed, they are barely visible.
  7. Implement a support system to help with day-to-day chores and activities like cooking, cleaning and child/pet care during the week after your facelift.
  8. You will have some bruising and swelling, so make sure that you clear your schedule and allow for an appropriate amount of down time for your body to heal.  Recovery time could be anywhere from 5 days to 3 weeks, depending upon the procedure being performed.
  9. Think of your recovery as “you time”.  Gather all of the movies that you have been wanting to watch, books you never have time to read, and give yourself permission to enjoy the healing downtime.

The complete healing process takes a long time and requires patience.  While you heal, your mental attitude is most important. Be prepared to see many changes in your face as the swelling and bruising recede.   Give yourself adequate time to heal. As the swelling and bruising subside, a fresher, more rested and vibrant person will be looking back in the mirror.