Why is my doctor telling me not to smile after a facelift?

I am two weeks post op an saw my Dr. a few days ago. He does not want me making facial gestures of any sort right now, including smiling. I look like a robot... a beautiful robot :)..... whe do you tell your patients its ok to start smiling?

Doctor Answers 15


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The first couple of days after surgery we do not want patients to make excessive facial gestures in case it may incite bleeding.  However at 2 weeks you should be fine.  Each surgeon has their own idiosyncracies about they instructions they give patients in the recovery period.  

No Smiling After Facelift?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Truthfully, I can't think of a good reason to have you avoid smiling, other than Surgeon preference.  The facial muscles have some of the highest nerve to muscle fiber ratios in the body, and many facial motions are involuntary, so complete avoidance of facial animation is nearly impossible

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

Why is my doctor telling me not to smile after a facelift?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Like the other surgeons I am trying to think of a possible explanation for this advice.  Some patients have temporary mild weakness of the smile muscles and he may wish for you to rest that area so it is not noticeable to you (or others) while the nerve and muscle scratch that are recovering.  This is just a guess but a possibility.  Otherwise, we never restrict patient's facial expression after a facelift procedure.  Best wishes and I am glad you are happy with your early results. I think you can expect them to improve with resolution of swelling.  Regards.

Jon A Perlman M.D., FACS
Diplomate, American Board of Plastic Surgery
Member, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)
ABC-TV Extreme Makeover Surgeon
Beverly Hills, California

Jon A. Perlman, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

You might also like...

Facial expressions after facelift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for your question. I have not heard of facial expression restriction after facelift surgery. I cannot say why that was recommended to you. Your surgeon can tell you why they recommended this restriction. Good luck and we are glad to hear you feel beautiful.

Jeffrey Jumaily, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Post op advice - smiling

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I've never heard of anyone restricting smiling after a face lift. I do always recommend following your surgeon's advice, because they know what works best for their patients. This however seems extreme. There is a category of lifting procedures (not true facelifts) called instalift and nova threads, where dissolvable sutures are used to anchor only skin ( not muscle ) from underneath without incisions. I have heard this restriction with those types of procedures. It's best to talk to your surgeon find out why he recommends not smiling. 

Mark Karolak, DO, FAOCO
Bridgewater Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Smile away!

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I've never heard anyone make the recommendation to avoid smiling after a facelift.  The main muscles of smiling are not really going to interfere with the incision healing, and won't stretch your new tissue position.

Truthfully I would hope my patients are smiling all the time post surgery!

Kevin Robertson, MD
Madison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Is it ok to smile post facelift?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I have never heard of a surgeon placing that severe of a restriction on a facelift patient. Personally, I don't find it necessary, but every surgeon has his or her own unique post op protocol. 


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

I like it when my patients smile!

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I have been in a facial plastic surgery practice since1993, and have not heard this before.  I am sure your surgeon has reasons why, just ask him.  Every surgeon has instructions which may be unique to his/her practice.  At two weeks, I have my patients beginning light exercise. Thanks for the question!

Jeffrey Joseph, MD, FACS
Lafayette Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

No smiling?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I have been doing facelifts for over 20 years and have never heard of this restriction. I dont think it is justified. Perhaps your doctor thinks this will help healing, but in my opinion, this is an unnecessary restriction.

Best of Luck

Smile if you are happy!

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The most worrisome problem after a facelift is bleeding under the skin which can cause excessive bruising, lumps, and even skin loss.  The greatest risk is in the first 48 hours.  This is why your surgeon will ask you to limit activities, keep your head elevated, and maybe even wear a garment.  Things like straining, bending over, laughing, chewing tough foods, and even excessive talking can precipitate bleeding.  Sounds like your surgeon is trying to get you the best result and doesn't want you to do anything!  I say a smile never hurt anyone.

Dr. Z

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.