Differences Between Traditional Facelifts Depending on the Surgeon

My husband had a face/neck lift 3 days ago. He wore a thick bandage with drains for 2 days, took anti-inflammatory and antibiotics. His face is very swollen, and he is asked to sleep on his back for a month. My sister is having the same procedure in Paris but tells me she won't even stay overnight, she plans to rest at home for a few days and start work after 7 days. Her doctor says she can sleep on her side no problem. Same procedure - why the difference? Asking because I'm scheduled for same!

Doctor Answers 25

Facelift Techniques Vary Tremendously

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It's safe to say that there will be a variation in technique between most Surgeons in Facelift surgery.  Less swelling and downtime are generally associated with less invasive procedures, and generally correlate with shorter longevity of results.  Many variations in technique, such as drains, relate to individual Surgeon experience and preference.  As others have noted. Choose your Surgeon based on the long term results you are shown, the way you are treated by the office staff, and your "gut" feeling.

Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

Recovery Time for Facelift

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Patients can and do  return to work after one week- but these are usually facelifts performed without general anesthesia, and without having  many other procedures such  brow lift, eyelid lift, fat grafting, laser resurfacing done concurrently.  However, you should not count on returning in one week or less, and this should not be "over promised"  by your plastic surgeon.  Good luck!

Roy A. David, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon

Many different types and variations of Face Lifts

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  I have performed traditional Face Lifts and Minimum Incision Face Lifts for a total of more than 22 years and there are as many variations of a Face Lift and how they are performed as there are plastic and cosmetic surgeons to perform them.  No two Face Lifts performed by two surgeons are the same.  The one your friend, in Paris, is having does not sound as invasive or extensive as your husband's by the description of when she is able to return to work...or go home after the Face Lift.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Differences in Facelift Techniques and Recovery

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With regard to your surgery, there is definitely a wide variety of techniques used as well as a wide variety of post-operative instructions. There is definitely no one best technique, although every surgeon will argue that theirs is the best. When it comes to drains, sleeping on your back, returning to regular activity, some of the differences in instructions will depend on the nature of your facelift. For people who need less aggressive lifting of the face and neck, often they do not need drains and may feel like returning to work at an earlier date than those patients who have more looseness. I generally ask my patients to sleep on their back to help reduce the risk of uneven swelling and fluid collections. I would definitely ask your surgeon to answer your questions because it is extremely important for you to feel comfortable before your procedure.

Gregory J. Vipond, MD, FRCSC
Inland Empire Facial Plastic Surgeon

Facelift recovery

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There are large differences in facelift technique, recovery and results between surgeons.  It is important to see many before and after pictures from your surgeon and to ask your surgeon these questions.  Select the best surgeon that you can find based on their credentials, experience and results.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Facelifts usually are not the same procedure

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Facelifts vary on the size, the surgeon, and the patient.  Size can often be distinguished by simplifying the categories into "Small, Medium, or Large."  Small is like a 1-hour "Mini-lift," large is like a traditional or deep-plane facelift, and medium  often is a middle ground between the two.

The MOST important decision you make is the surgeon.  One with a proven track record, board certified, and specializing in facelifting procedures.

And, of course, patient expectations differ.  Some patients are more conservative, some are more aggressive.

Be careful going out of the country for cosmetic surgery, if you have the need for follow up it is not easy.

And, be aware that the procedure can often be done WITHOUT drains.  Anti-inflammatory medicines such as Celebrex can be given, and they do not affect platelet function and bleeding like other NSAIDS (motrin, naprosyn, advil, ibuprofen, etc.).

Overnight stay is often not needed, and these procedures can be performed safely without the risks or expense of general anesthesia or IV sedation.  Please let me know if you have any additional questions, and best of luck!

Richard Castellano, MD
Tampa Facial Plastic Surgeon

Facelift differences

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There are many different ways to skin a cat as the metaphor goes. There are also several different approaches and techniques employed by surgeons to achieve the same results during a facelift. Some are more conservative and place drains while others just use bandages. Different techniques result in differing amounts of swelling as well. The bottom line is typically in the long run most results are similar if the surgery is performed correctly. I hope this information helps.

Scott Trimas, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Facelift post operative instructions

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Every surgeon has their own particular regimen following surgery depending on their experience. It iis not unusual for one surgeon's recommendation to differ from that of another. For example I have my facelift patients sleep on their back with their head slightly elevated for about a week. After that I don't think it makes much difference. If they sleep on their side or their stomach they may have slightly more swelling in the morning but not generally an insignificant amount. In any event in all cases the swelling goes away eventually, although there is wide variation from patient to patient, in terms of how long it takes.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Sleeping on back after face lift

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As other doctors have noted, there is no uniformity about sleeping after facelift. I also have patients sleep on their back, head elevated for first 4-6 days as tolerated. After that I think it makes no difference and is just torturing a patient.

I see patients in an office in Paris 3-4 times a year and have many colleagues there if your sister needs any help.

Dr. Romano

James Romano, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Differences Between Traditional Facelifts Depending on the Surgeon

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Dear eimel,

Medicine is both a science and an art, particularly when it comes to plastic surgery. During a facelift, the face and neck muscles are tightened, as well as the skin, and the fat is sculpted. There are many different ways to perform a facelift, as well as the postoperative care.

I would recommend finding a surgeon who is experienced, skilled, and well trained with whom you have a good rapport, and choosing a treatment plan that makes sense to the both of you. Proper care in the right hands generally produces successful results.

Warmest wishes,

Larry Fan, MD

Larry Fan, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

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.