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What Should I Expect During My Facelift Procedure?


Posted May 21, 2024 in Facelift

The modern-day facelift is far from years past when the face would emerge post-surgery, appearing tight, windblown, and overdone. Even though facelifts are far more natural and customized today, there’s still a lot that you’ll need to know as you gear up for your procedure. During your consultation, Dr. Brothers will review your questions about what to expect during a facelift. If a refresher is needed, consider this the ultimate guide to everything you can expect during a facelift.

How To Prepare for Your Facelift Procedure

One of the most important things you can do in the months and weeks before your facelift is to get yourself prepped. Knowing what to expect during your facelift procedure will help calm any nervousness. Having a pre-surgery plan ensures good results and a healthy healing process. Before your surgery, you will generally be given a checklist of everything to do and get, but some work goes into the preparation stage long before.

For starters, you may need to stop some medications and supplements as part of your pre-op instructions before surgery. Because some medications and supplements can thin the blood and lead to increased bleeding during surgery, it’s important to stop taking them in advance of your facelift procedure if you are instructed to do so. 

You’ll be given anesthesia during your facelift procedure to make the surgery more comfortable, and you shouldn’t drive home after. In the days leading up to your procedure, arrange for someone to drive you home after the surgery. You’ll also want someone to stay with you for at least the first 24 to 48 hours after and make sure all of your medications are filled beforehand and stored in an accessible area.

The foods you eat during your recovery and in the months before your surgery can help speed up or slow down the healing process. Rather than having an empty fridge and relying on delivery and fast food options, stock your fridge with high-protein, low-salt foods that are soft and easy to make or heat up. Most patients find getting their kitchen ready for a facelift recovery essential to make things easier. The same idea applies to prepping where you will recover in your home. Make sure to have clean, soft pillows, blankets, and button-front pajamas on hand.

Besides the physical prep work, there’s some emotional and mental preparation to do, too. Rather than making your facelift a stressful situation, practice anything that makes you feel calm and relaxed, like yoga and meditation, until the morning of your surgery. By going into your facelift with a good head space, you can have a healthier recovery and a better outcome.

What To Expect During Your Facelift Procedure

Even though you’ll be asleep during your facelift, chances are you still want to know, “What should I expect during a facelift?” Before you enter the operating room, Dr. Brothers will mark up your face so he knows which areas to focus on. Then, after all the markings are made, the anesthesia is administered by an anesthesiologist. IV sedation or general anesthesia are used, but if another type of anesthetic is preferred, discuss it beforehand. 

Next, the incisions are made, which are highly dependent on the type of facelift you and Dr. Brothers have settled on and the end goal of the procedure. Traditionally, facelift incisions are made in the hairline at the temples and then extend to the ear and the end of the scalp. Mini or limited facelifts have more minor incisions that go from in the front of the ear down, behind them, and down towards the end of the ear. If the beck is being addressed in your facelift, additional incisions will likely be made under the chin to improve the look of an aging neck.

After the tissues are repositioned and excess skin is removed, the skin is redraped, and sutures are used to close the incision. Usually, the sutures dissolve independently, but some may need to be removed about one week after your facelift. Skin glue is another option to help seal the incisions. However, no matter what type of incision is used, the resulting scar will be hidden in the natural contours of the face and virtually undetectable once it is fully healed. 

What to Do While You Recover

When you wake up from your facelift, which will take a few hours to perform, your face will be wrapped in a big bandage with some gauze and another packing to help reduce bruising and swelling. If drainage tubes are used, they will help collect fluid and blood and will need to be emptied regularly. 

After surgery, Dr. Brothers will recommend mild pain medication and antibiotics to help prevent infection. You must stick to a regular schedule and take your medication as advised. Following a medication log so you don’t forget what you took when is super helpful in the healing phase of your facelift.  Also, avoid consuming alcohol and smoking, which can interfere with healthy healing.

Your face will be swollen and bruised, but you’ll be able to see through them and notice the first signs of improvement from your facelift. It will take time for the full results to surface, and give your body rest and recovery; usually, while sitting and sleeping upright, it is critical as it heals is vital. Moving around the house and light walking is recommended, but avoid anything strenuous or that will tire you out. Expect to be home for the first 10 to 14 days, which is usually how long it takes for most patients to feel presentable to go out in public. Swelling can persist for a few months, and it can take about two to three months before you start to feel normal and like yourself.

Another thing to avoid after your facelift while you recover is the sun. The skin is super sensitive after surgery, and exposing it to the sun after your procedure can increase the risk of pigment changes and scarring. It’s always recommended to wear sunscreen and avoid directly exposing the face to the sun for the first few months after surgery.

While icing your face is helpful after surgery, do not do it too much or expose the skin to too much heat or cold. The skin will remain numb for a period after surgery, and some people may find it hard to determine just how much cold they are applying, which can compromise results. Stick with a 15-minute on, 15-minute off technique, and always wrap ice packs in a soft washcloth.

Keeping the incision clean to prevent infection is equally important as not applying too much heat or cold. Allowing dirt, oil, and debris to build up on the incision site can interfere with how the scar develops. Never touch your incisions with dirty hands; always wash them with mild soap and water. You may also receive instructions on removing dried blood from the site.

Remember that a facelift procedure takes time for the final results to show. To get the best results possible, follow Dr. Brothers’ instructions and rules and be patient while your body heals.

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Plastic Surgery Center of Atlanta

5673 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30342

Alchemy Aesthetics

5667 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd #285
Atlanta, GA 30342

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