What is a caregiver's role to someone who just had a Facelift?

Is a blanket in the car a good idea, as surgery patients tend to get chilled? As far as the facelift is concerned, what would be helpful to a recovery at home? 

Doctor Answers 11

Face lift recovery

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The best place to start would be to get the post-op instructions, such a sin the link below, ahead of time and read them

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

Facelift - How can I be of assistance to someone who just had a Facelift?

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Great question, and what a nice person you are!  First of all, for the trip home I would advise having the patient sit upright in the front of the car (smoother ride, keep the head elevated) and take along a blanket, pillow, something to throw up in (in case she gets sick - it can happen!), tissues, water, and a few lollipops.  Other than that, not much else for the car.  At home, she should remain with her head elevated; in bed that means her head up on three pillows, and two pillows under her knees (to take pressure off her back) or seated in a recliner (same idea).  There are, of course, other specific instructions that you should obtain from her PS, including emptying drains (though she may have a nurse or provider for the first night), but - in general - what's required is overall assistance but not too much intense intervention.  The Plastic Surgery Bottom Line:  A responsible, helpful adult should remain with the patient for the first 24-48 hours, but the level of assistance required for this procedure is often surprisingly low.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

You want to be an attentive care giver.

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It is good of you to help your Aunt out as she recovers.  In my opinion a good care giver can really help ensure a good outcome for a facelift patient.  In my practice, care givers are expected to be attentive to the needs of their patient.  It is important that they know the medication routine the patient will need to stay comfortable.  It is important that they create a healing environment to keep the patient calm.  They should familiarize themselves with the postoperative instructions to make sure they follow what the doctor has ordered.  They need to make sure the patient remains well-nourished to allow for the best healing and recovery.  Pain control is of the utmost importance to help decrease bleeding and bruising chances.  Finally, a good care giver should never be afraid to reach out and pick up the phone to call if they feel lost or unsure of what to do.  All good surgeons want to know sooner than later that their patient is having issues.

Good luck,

Dr. Shah

Manish H. Shah, MD, FACS
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Assistance in care of facelift patient

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Wow!   I wish all my patients had proactive caregivers as yourself.    First step, read the preop/postop instructions that your doctor gives to your aunt.   Secondly, attend her first few postop appointments while she is on pain meds, patients on medication often forget instructions given by doctor, so your help would be greatly appreciated.  General recommendations:

1. stay with your aunt for first 48 hours after surgery.

2. keep her head elevated on 2-3 pillows.

3. assist her with her dressing changes and incision care

4. ensure she is eating and drinking adequately (warm, soft foods work best)

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Home Care After a Facelift

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Your aunt is lucky to have someone proactive in her care after her surgery! Keeping track of when she needs to take her medications is a real help, especially if she is taking pain medication and a sleep aide which will make her woozy and hard for her to remember. Keeping ice packs ready, and extra ones in the freezer is especially important the first few days. If she has a recliner chair at home, this is a good way to be comfortable and keep the head elevated, otherwise she will need pillows to prop her up. Having soft foods and protein drinks available are good until she can comfortably chew. She may need assistance getting to the bathroom for a couple of days, again the pain medication can make one feel a little dizzy. And she will most likely need to be driven to her first post operative appointment.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Assisting after facelift surgery

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 Great question.  The most important things to do are to read all of the paperwork that your aunt was given by the treating physician and having all of the medication prescriptions filled and ready to go.  Accompanying your aunt to the final preop appointment would be very helpful too.

Lawrence Kass, MD
Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 140 reviews

Post op face lift instructions

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Thanks for helping your aunt. Someone should stay with a patient that has just had a facelift. They will need help with pain medicine, need to keep their head elevated and will need help preparing meals and shopping.

The most frequent complication after a facelift is bleeding, so help keep your aunt's head elevated, keep good control of her blood pressure, and make sure she does nothing strenuous.


Leo Lapuerta JR. MD

Leo Lapuerta, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Helping a relative after a facelift

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Everyone has posted great advice here. Other ways to be helpful are to reassure your Auntie that you are there to help. My instructions to facelift patients are to avoid lifting lifting anything over ten pounds and not to bend over. It should be "honey- do" week. It would be helpful to have some soft food ready for her because some people find it difficult to chew after a facelift.

Suzanne Kim Doud Galli, MD, PhD, FACS
Washington Facial Plastic Surgeon

Great question.

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If you are picking her up on the day of surgery, she may be nauseated on the way home.  Having a barf bag or its equivalent is a very good idea.  Shop for the medications she will need before surgery.  That way you do not need to run out and get medications.  Beyond that, carefully read the written information from the surgeon.  Recognized that a great deal of energy goes into healing after surgery.  She may be crabby after surgery.  Be supportive.  Swelling is typical after surgery.  Be non-judgemental.  You have not seen someone after a facelift.  Generally people are surprisingly comfortable after these surgeries.  Bleeding and significant pain are not normal.  If something seems abnormal, don't hesitate to contact the surgeon.  

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Help after a facelift

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It's very nice of you to help your aunt out after her surgery. First you should check with her surgeon's office as they may have a complete instruction sheet on how to prepare, what to buy, etc. They may have very specific instructions so take that into consideration when listening to me or anyone else. In general though, you will want to keep her comfortable, preferably with her head elevated a bit and apply ice, or cold compresses. I typically do not like pillows behind the head because I don't want the chin and neck to bend forward which can pinch the neck skin. But that's just me.If she is also having eyelid surgery you will want to be able to clean her eyelid stitches with  a Q-tip and water, then perhaps apply a gel. Avoid a lot of salt as it causes a lot more swelling. These are just a few basics.

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.