There are a lot of guides out there to help you know what to expect from a facelift: how long it takes, what kind of results you can achieve, and if the procedure is right for you. But if you’re thinking about a facelift or have already scheduled your appointment, you might be wondering how to prepare for your upcoming surgery and the ensuing recovery. After all, it can take a week or two before you’re ready to resume your normal routine, so it’s best to have everything in place beforehand for a smooth, stress-free experience. That way, you can focus on you during this time.
Dr. John P. Freeman, one of Houston’s most sought-after facial surgeons, has put together his own guide to help you prepare for your facelift procedure. Below, you’ll learn what you’ll need for your recovery, how you can get ready for it, and what to expect during the first month.
After your initial consultation, your surgery will likely be booked several weeks out. This gives you plenty of time to plan and make any necessary arrangements. Here are some of the steps you can take before your appointment to ensure a smooth recovery afterward.
The first few days after your procedure will be the hardest. Dr. Freeman will provide you with medications to manage any pain or swelling you may experience, but it’s a good idea to fill these prescriptions in advance so they’re ready when you need them most. He may also recommend fiber supplements or certain creams and ointments to aid in the recovery process. It’s recommended you pick these up ahead of time, too.
You might find that it’s difficult to do certain things immediately after your surgery, such as caring for pets or children and performing basic household tasks. Trying to take on too much before you’re ready can strain the incision sites and interfere with the healing process, so strenuous activities will be restricted until cleared by your doctor. To stay on top of things while you recover, it’s recommended that you recruit a friend or family member to assist you for the first few days. Having a loved one around can also provide invaluable emotional support during the recovery process, helping you feel more at ease.
A clean home is important to facilitate your recovery. Not only will it feel more comfortable, but it can help minimize the risk of infection after your surgery. For this reason, it’s recommended that you disinfect the bathroom, kitchen and other frequently-used surfaces to keep them free of mold, mildew and bacteria. You should also reduce any clutter to prevent dirt or dust from accumulating and launder your sheets, linens and clothing before your appointment. Getting this housework out of the way gives you less to worry about once you get home, so you can relax and focus on healing.
You don’t want to realize that you’re out of something important while recovering from surgery. Before your appointment, make a list of all the essentials you may need for the next week or two and have them at the ready. Stock up on things like food, water, wet wipes, bandages, tissues and over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol. Other things that might be helpful include pre-prepared meals, snacks, gentle cleansers, ice packs and healing ointment. Comfortable clothing and some entertainment (such as books or movies) are also a good idea, since you’ll be spending a lot of time in bed or on the couch. If you’re unsure of what you’ll need, Dr. Freeman can recommend some items to get you started.
Recovering from any surgery is a unique and individual process. How long you take to heal can vary depending on your health, age and lifestyle, but also the type of procedure that’s performed. Dr. Freeman offers several facelift surgeries each suited to particular concerns, including the full, mid and lower facelift. No matter which approach is used, there are some things in common that you can expect during the recovery process.
Immediately after your facelift, you can expect some pain, bruising and swelling. These side effects are normal and will start to diminish in the following weeks. Dr. Freeman will provide you with medications and post-surgical instructions to help manage your symptoms. You’ll also wear dressings or bandages for the first 24 hours, but clean ones might be reapplied depending on the type of facelift. If surgical drains were used, these will be removed shortly after your procedure. You can expect to spend these first few days resting and recuperating in bed.
Bruising and swelling will peak after three to four days. Around this time, you’ll have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Freeman to make sure you’re healing properly. You can bathe at this point, but use mild soaps or cleansers to avoid irritating your skin. You may also be given a removable elastic strap to wear for support, which should be removed when showering. Make sure to pat dry and gently apply any creams or ointments so you don’t disturb the incision sites. After the first week, you’ll return to have your sutures removed, and you may resume your normal skincare routine if cleared to do so.
Most patients are ready to go back to work after 10 to 14 days. By then, much of the bruising and swelling will have dissipated and you’ll start to feel like yourself again. You can also resume light activity at this time, but anything more grueling may still be restricted for another couple of weeks to ensure proper healing. Dr. Freeman will advise you on when it’s safe to incorporate strenuous activity and exercise back into your routine.
You should be back to your regular schedule and able to enjoy life with your new, youthful appearance after a month or so. By this time, your incision lines will have significantly faded and your results will be more fully developed. It could take up to a year for residual swelling, bruising or tightness to completely subside, but any outward signs of your procedure will only be noticeable to you. However, you should continue to avoid unnecessary sun exposure and use a high SPF sunscreen to protect your skin.
If you want to learn more about facelift surgery in Houston, Texas, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Dr. John P. Freeman. As a highly experienced and board-certified facial, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, he has the knowledge and experience to guide you through the treatment process and help you achieve youthful, natural-looking results. Call our office at 281-599-9445 to get started today.