A facelift at my Los Angeles plastic surgery center can take years off your appearance and help you feel more confident. However, getting the procedure is more than just showing up on your surgery date. There are important steps you must take before you get to enjoy your results.
Before Your Facelift
- Stop smoking. If you smoke, you will need to quit at least 6 weeks before your surgery and not resume smoking for at least 6 weeks after. Smoking decreases blood circulation to the skin and impedes healing. Not only is it dangerous to smoke before surgery, but smoking can also affect your results.
- Consult with your primary care physician. Confirm that your blood pressure is within normal range. Additionally, your doctor may tell you to discontinue taking certain supplements and medications before your procedure. At least 2 weeks prior to the operation, you will need to stop taking any medication that could potentially cause complications, such as aspirin, NSAIDs, and vitamin E. These can interfere with blood clotting.
- Make travel arrangements. A close friend or family member will need to drive you to and from surgery. It is also a good idea to have this person stay with you for at least a few hours after surgery and help you around the house with anything you might need. Having a good support system during your recovery is important.
- Stock up on recovery supplies. Before your surgery date, purchase anything you might need during your recovery. Frozen gel packs, extra wound dressings, gauze, bandages, magazines, books, comfy clothes, and low-sodium foods are important for making your recovery as easy as possible. Additionally, go to the pharmacy to pick up your medications well in advance of your surgery date.
- Avoid alcohol and get plenty of rest. It is important to stop drinking at least a week prior to your surgery because it can negatively interact with anesthesia, cause dehydration, affect your blood’s ability to clot, dry out your skin, and interfere with post-op pain medication. Also, make sure you are well-rested so your body will be best prepared for the surgery and recovery period.
After Your Facelift
- Plan on taking off about a week from work. You must give yourself adequate time to heal. During your recovery period, I recommend that you rest in a reclining chair with your chin up and head elevated. Avoid turning your head excessively or straining.
- Follow your surgeon’s post-op instructions. They may seem overwhelming at first, but they are meant to promote safe and successful plastic surgery. Be sure to take all prescribed medication accordingly and follow your doctor’s instructions for incision site care. If you have any questions or concerns during your recovery, do not hesitate to call your surgeon’s office.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Drink lots of healthy liquids such as water, juice, and Gatorade. Hydration helps you to feel normal more quickly. It can also help manage swelling and prevent other issues that may arise during recovery.
- Don’t overexert yourself too soon. Strenuous activities after your facelift will increase the risk of bleeding, swelling, and bruising. Having said that, it is important to begin a routine of light walking soon after your surgery to promote good blood flow. Your doctor will let you know when you can begin more rigorous activities such as running or cycling, usually after about 2 weeks.
- Give yourself a little extra “social” downtime. It will take a few weeks to look your best, so you may want to wait a while before attending an important social event or celebration. I provide a social and physical recovery timeline in this related blog post.
- Be patient. You will probably be slightly swollen and bruised after surgery, so you may not be able to see your results right away. It is important to have a positive attitude during this time. Keep in mind that it will soon all be worth it!