Facelift Advice From Eleven Days Out - Washington, DC

I am a 57-year-old, 112 lbs/5'5" in good health...

I am a 57-year-old, 112 lbs/5'5" in good health and I run (before the surgery) 2 miles most mornings and do a small bit of weight work each night. So I thought the facelift recovery would be fairly smooth, as was my Blepharoplasty two years ago. Specifically, my recent procedure was: Platysmaplasty with Submental Lipectomy and an S-lift.

In retrospect I learned some things I'd like to share.
First, you absolutely should sleep on your back with your head above your heart at least for two weeks. I was so glad I had a zero-gravity recliner with electric tilting, which cost close to $3K but I have always craved one. If you don't want that expense, you can get the bed wedges at the healthy back store. A friend did not follow this advice and her ears still hurt a year out. Second, I recommend having a nurse for the first night at least. You need to keep the face constantly cooled with ice packs and/or cold compresses so that's a lot to ask of an already freaked-out husband. Your assistant must be prepared for contingencies, like when I started vomiting from the pain meds that I didn't know I have an allergy to, or when the icemaker got jammed in the middle of the night. Third, and this I only just learned two days ago. Swelling is a constant problem and the steroid pack didn't seem to help me much. Ice packs worked while they were on but you can't keep that up steadily for days on end. Suddenly two days ago I read that the body has to absorb the fluid. It seems counterintuitive but once I started drinking lots of water, like a cup or so every 40 mins, I started improving more rapidly. Maybe it would have happened anyway but I credit the water.
Finally, if you don't like to touch dead-fish skin (I could not bear it), get yourself a spray moisturizer that really atomizes the cream so you don't have to spread it with your hand. Keep the skin moisturized.

A friend who had this surgery with the

Day 13 update

Skin still dead-fish, gradually (sooo slowly) getting more feeling in face and chin. Started back running this morning, at a slightly reduced pace, but could have run full out. Just didn't feel like it. I'm going to try a super-gentle electric face brush to clean and moisturize the dead-fish skin. I just can't bring myself to touch it even though the doctor recommended massaging it. Unfortunately I am coming down with a cold (that's why I started running early, hoping to head off the cold.)
I had a face and neck lift in August. I think you should be doing massages, both on the incisions to help break up the scar tissue and also some lymphatic drainage massage. Both of these things will help.If you google these types of massage, you will find a lot of instructions and even YouTube videos showing you what to do. I know what you mean about the dead fish thing, but massage does really help. One thing that might make you more comfortable is to try placing your fingertips on one spot and gently moving the skin with the fingertip movement, not moving your fingertips across the skin. Does that make sense? You won't notice the dead fish feeling quite as much if you do that. (It takes a long time for the numbness to go away. My chin and neck are considerably improved by I still feel numb on the sides of my face and near my ears.) You look absolutely great, by the way!
Many thanks, Renaissancelady46. I will definitely try the lymphatic drainage and your idea about not moving fingertips across the skin. Great suggestions! And thanks for the comment on how I'm looking. I might also try using a massage ball. I don't know why touching the nerve-deadened makes me recoil so much more than other people. But I am encouraged every time I feel the creeping tingling feeling that seems to convey nerves reconnecting one by one.


Well, it's the two-week point and I'm really depressed. I had attributed the puffiness behind the chin incision to swelling, but now that puffiness is descending into a double chin, with a tight garrot where the chin line meets the neck. It feels awful too, because the chin line skin rubs against the neck skin when I look down. I will go see the doctor but I imagine he'll propose some minor fix but the fact is the surgery traded one problem for another, and turned my family life upside down.

14-day mark

Note the photo from yesterday afternoon.

Photo showing my new double chin

Hello. I believe you should talk to your PS. In my experience patients can do "aerobic" exercise after 3 weeks, and do weights after a month. It's completely normal to be swollen after a surgery. Be patient, and talk your ps.
Hi LilEgg, I am not an expert nor have I had your procedure, but I have a close friend who had a facelift and I was with her in the days after. She looks wonderful now, remarkable, and she started looking great about 4 months after. But in the weeks immediately after the surgery, she had more than a few things she needed corrected/adjusted and she was in regular conversation and appointments with the surgeon. I am so sorry to hear about your difficulties and can imagine some of it from the way you describe. I sympathize and am so sorry to hear you are also now sad. But honestly you look great in your posted pix, and maybe you just have to be in open conversation with your surgeon about it all and see what he can fix or maybe he can let you know what might resolve on its own? He must have done many of these, so maybe he has some straightforward simple fixes for you? My friend went through all that, including the tightness, the dead skin feeling, and she also had some bad lumpy spots, and as I remember, many more issues than you have described, and she was very worried, but now you wouldn't believe how great she looks. But it took her about 6 weeks to feel less nervous, and I do recall that 3-4 months after she was looking just great. Wishing you all the best, and hoping just talking to your surgeon and hearing what he can do will provide enormous relief.
A lay opinion, but having gone through this myself, it is way too soon to talk corrections. Looks like you have some swelling. This is to be expected to some degree. Talk to your doc. I am sure he will help you manage it. I think you are going to look wonderful when it resolves.

17 days out. Considering next steps.

Thank you all for your comments, they have been very helpful. I am in conversation with the surgeon. The specific problem I have is that there is a choke-point around my neck.

He did describe what he did: while it feels as though there is a cord around my neck, in fact it is a single stitch in the midline connecting the two sides of the platysma, and sutures tying the platysma to ligaments behind my ears on each side. He states that he placed only self-absorbing sutures, but scar tissue will take the place of the suture. There is not likely to be any loosening except that any residual swelling is making it more noticeable to me. However there is little to no swelling today and the chokehold is impossible to ignore, especially when I swallow.

I'm requesting the surgeon's operation report, and I am going to request a second opinion from another doctor. I don't know if this can even be fixed, so that is what I will be trying to find out.
please tell us how you're doing....
We'd love an update now that it's the new year. How are you doing? Are you still feeling the choking sensation?
Hi, I had upper eyelids and mid face/neck lift done 4 weeks ago and still have 1 black eye and a lot of swelling in my upper cheeks but mainly in my neck. Its tight and some days very uncomfortable, but I know it's just swelling and will go down in time. It's way too soon in your healing to be worried about revisions etc. I would not encourage running while you still have swelling. I will hopefully be returning to slow exercise at around the 6 week mark. I'll be expecting to see my returns to show at around 3 months. Best of luck.
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