After your facelift surgery, you’re ready to see the results. However, your post-surgery recovery is part of the facelift process. Read on to learn more about what to expect while in recovery from a facelift.

The biggest piece of advice Constance Barone, MD, FACS, a plastic surgeon practicing in San Antonio, Texas, offers her patients during their facelift consultation, are her words of wisdom center around the recovery process.

“A facelift is real surgery; It’s not putting on make-up,” Dr. Barone says. “Although we’ve improved our methods — we can now perform the procedure here, in the office, under local anesthesia — you still need to undergo healing, the resolution of the black and blue bruises. That can take three days to up to three weeks.”

After Your Facelift

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, many plastic surgeons will wrap the face and place small tubes beneath the skin to drain away any fluid that might accumulate under the skin after your procedure. Most patients experience very little discomfort, and the discomfort they do experience can be controlled using prescribed pain medication.

Depending on the advice of your plastic surgeon, you may recover for a few hours at a hospital or surgery center before going home. However, some patients may need to be monitored overnight following a facelift.

Going Home

Once you’re home from the hospital, surgery center or physician’s office where your procedure was performed, the recovery from your facelift really begins.

Recovery time for individuals can vary, according to the ASAPS. Patients should remember to keep their heads elevated after an operation and may even be told to use ice packs to reduce swelling.

Experts advise patients removing dressings for the first time not to be shocked by the appearance of their faces. According to the ASAPS, noticing unevenness in the skin, swelling and bruising is normal in the first two days after a facelift procedure. It’s all part of the recovery process.

Patients in recovery from a facelift should avoid any aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medications and herbal supplements during the days immediately following a facelift procedure. These medications can thin the blood, meaning that they can spur unnecessary bleeding.

Additionally, tobacco products and secondhand smoke should be avoided during recovery from a facelift procedure. This will impede the healing process and prolong patients’ wait to see the results of their facelifts.

Long-Term Consideration

You may feel like being up and around within a few days of your facelift procedure, but there are still important things to remember as the recovery process continues.

For example, while any stitches are usually removed about seven days after surgery, it can take as long as a few months for swelling to completely subside in some patients. A few patients may even notice some numbness after a facelift procedure. If you do, don’t worry: that numbness usually wears off within a few weeks.

It may take up to six months for any scars from the procedure to heal completely. During this portion of your recovery, having patience is important.

Help Yourself Heal

Your plastic surgeon may offer you specific guidance for your recovery, but there are some things to remember as your new face begins to show through.

First, you may want to avoid bending down, straining yourself and lifting for a few days after your procedure. These activities can impede the healing process.

It is also vital for patients in recovery from a facelift procedure to avoid smoking, nicotine patches and nicotine gum. Tobacco use can greatly hinder your recovery.

Be careful with your skin for the first few months following surgery. Limit sun exposure and always use sunscreen.

Finally, adapt healthy lifestyle habits, including drinking plenty of water in order to ensure your results last longer.