A common question from patients is “what is anticipated facelift recovery time?”.  A facelift is considered the gold standard treatment to correct signs of facial aging. It may soften the appearance of the nasolabial folds, correct marionette lines, and sharpen the angles of the neck and chin region. It also restores volume in the midface by resuspending facial muscles which have descended over time. As a powerful technique to achieve facial rejuvenation, facelift recovery time is understandably longer than recovery following facial injectables (Botox and facial fillers). The results are more dramatic and long-lasting. Facelift recovery time varies based on several time points or post-operative phases:

Early Post-Operative Period

Facelift recovery time is generally a few days in terms of weaning from prescription pain medication. Transitioning to Tylenol plain or extra-strength is encouraged within 2-3 days to lower the risk of narcotic side effects. Some patients may find it helpful to take a tablet before bed for a few additional nights to ensure a good night’s sleep.

Return to Everyday Life

This timeline will vary between patients based on desired level of privacy. Some patients are not concerned about others noticing bruising or swelling during facelift recovery. Others are more discreet and wish to be more fully recovered before resuming errands and other activities. Medically you would be able to run short errands and go for short walks around your neighbourhood within a few days. If you wish for bruising and swelling to be less noticeable, it may take up to two weeks or so to feel more comfortable resuming everyday activities. It may be easier to conceal bruising and swelling if undergoing facelift in the fall or winter given bulkier clothing and scarves. It is important however to protect the delicate facial tissues from cold weather, especially during early healing. Sensation is altered for a few months following facelift and the blood supply is also disrupted, leaving the tissues more prone to frostbite injury. It is recommended to treat your face very gently during early healing and to protect it from extremes in weather.

Return to Driving

Once you are no longer taking narcotic pain medication and feel that your mobility is sufficient to turn appropriately, you may resume driving. This is generally within 4-5 days of surgery.

Return to Work

Facelift recovery time relating to return to work also varies between patients and job responsibilities. Medically you would be able to return to a desk job (without heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity) within one week. If you do not wish for bruising to be visible and for swelling to be more subtle, I would recommend two weeks or longer before returning to work.

Return to Exercise

Facelift recovery time is generally one month before returning to exercise. This activity restriction is intended to lower the risk of bleeding during facelift recovery. Any activity that increases your blood pressure or heart rate increases risk of bleeding following facelift. Exercise should be avoided for one month and discussed with your surgeon prior to resuming.

Facelift recovery time is a common concern of patients prior to undergoing surgery on the most visible region of the body. This rough timeline may be helpful for patients preparing for facelift surgery to ensure appropriate planning with respect to work and other basic activities.

Please contact us to discuss whether facelift surgery may be an appropriate technique for you to address signs of facial aging.