Downtime for Full Facelift?

I often read that it takes 10 days to recover from a face lift but I don't know if that includes upper and lower blephs plus browlift, which people often have at the same time. I'd like to know how long to budget in a general way even as you need to add the disclaimer that everyone is different, we all heal at different rates. If it helps I am a 45 woman basically in good health, some asthma and allergies, of Caucaision and African-American descent.

Doctor Answers 54

Recovery Time After Facelift

Hi Dlite-

If you don't tend to bruise easily, most people can return to work at two weeks. Folks who work in the public eye may want to wait three weeks. Adding eyelid surgery and brow surgery shouldn't add recovery time. Make-up can be worn to cover any residual bruising. There will be some swelling that will take a few weeks to subside. Add a week if you tend to bruise and consider using Sinech.


Tom Kaniff

Sacramento Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Face Lift Recovery Time

I tell my patients to expect about 7-10 days for physical recovery and about 2 weeks of social or public eye recovery. Your dressings are removed at 24-48 hours. The sutures are removed at 5-7 days. You are able to move about the house during your recovery. This includes eating, bathroom, watching TV or reading a book. We ask that you do nothing strenuous during the this period. After 2-3 weeks, we have a massage therapist perform ultrasonis massage on your face and neck over  3-4 weeks. You are able to wear make-up after 2 weeks so that you may integrate into  your social activities. I hope this helps.

Douglas L. Gervais, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Downtime for a Facelift

As a general rule, the more procedures one has done at the same time, the greater the chance that an increase in bruising and swelling will occur, and thus a little longer healing time.  For a lower facelift in someone your age, 10 days is generally enough time to heal and be back out in public, but not to full activity like exercising, etc.  Some patients will be able to go out in public looking quite good in 1 week, but plan on 10 days to be safe.  If eyelids and/or a forehead/brow lift is also done with the lower facelift, 2 weeks is probably more the norm for healing and back normal, non-strenuous activity.

Keith A. LaFerriere, MD (retired)
Springfield Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Recovery from facelift.

Recovery from a facelift can be described in several ways.  The most common concern is getting back in the public eye and/or returning to work.  You will feel well enough to go to the store several days after your surgery.  Depending on your job it may be ten days to three weeks before you have confidence in the work place.  Women can cover up a bit with make-up.  A man wearing make-up looks like a man wearing make-up.  Surgery of the eyes done at the same time will take about the same time to be presentable.  Total healing for assessment of the final result will take months.

All the best,

Tal Raine MD FACS

Talmage J. Raine, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

How much downtime will I have with my Facelift?

Facelifts are an incredible procedure as it can turn back the hands of time.  One of the most common questions I get is how long the recovery is for a facelift. 

The easiest way to answer this question is to go through the process, as there are different levels of recovery and what a person can do after the surgery.  First, I typically do my facelifts under general anesthesia so patients will need to go home with someone that can care for them the first night.  All of the patients come back to the office the day after their surgery so that I can remove the face wrap that they left the surgery center with after their facelift. 

After the first day patient will have a simple band placed that will help support the neck and minimize the swelling.  This band can be removed for showering.  All patients can shower the day after their surgery after I have seen them in the office. 

The first week after surgery patients will need to relax and avoid any strenuous activity.  I want patients to walk several times per day, but they need to avoid heaving lifting and strenuous activity, as these activities will increase their risk of issue after their surgery.  The first week patients tend to be swollen and bruised through out the face and neck area. 

After the first week patients can use cover-up makeup if they still have some residual bruising.  They will also still have some sutures hidden the hair and behind the ear.  The sutures on the face itself are typically removed prior to the one-week mark. 

Typically by two weeks all of the bruising has resolved and the majority of the swelling has subsided.  Patients are still healing but are doing very well at this point. 

Patients need to be about six weeks out from surgery before they return to their normal work out routines or any strenuous activity.  However they still need to be careful with sun exposure.

I hope this give you a little outline about the typical recovery course for face and neck lift with fat transfer.  Please consult your board certified plastic surgeon to help guide you through the process.  

Johnny Franco, MD, FACS
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Facelift Recovery

Recovery from a facelift is generally very well tolerated by our patients. Immediately following surgery a compression dressing is in place around the outer portion of the face along with a single drain. This is in place overnight. We have our patients follow up the next morning for removal of the drain and dressing. We also wash and blow dry our patient’s hair after the dressing removal. This is an important service to provide as it is difficult to do this at home. There is rarely significant pain after a facelift. Pain meds are provided for comfort if needed. The remainder of recovery is usually very uneventful. Neosporin is applied to the incisions which helps with recovery and speeds healing. Sutures are removed from in front of the ear at 7 days and the remainder are removed 3 days later at 10 days post op. Often patients are able to return to work at 10 days however there may be residual bruising, primarily in the neck area, that may require makeup. The incisions can take up to 3 months to mature to normal skin color. I like patients to wait for 3 weeks after surgery to resume vigorous excercise

Bryan W. Rubach, MD
Naperville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Lower Facelift Downtime

Thank you for your question.  I have a lot of women your age suggest that they do not want a whole traditional facelift under general anaesthetic.  Firstly, they only want to target the lower face especially the jowls and secondly, they do not want the long recovery period.  Overall, this lead me to pinooeering Concept Facelifts.  They are unique due to the ability to be able to perform the procedure under a local anaesthetic whilst delivering the same surgical result that a traditional facelift would deliver but also using a small scar technique, as well as reducing the amount of recovery time.  This is due to the distinct lack of bruising and swelling.  The Concept Facelift is able to deliver patients, a natural look, rejvenating their lower face, making them look youthful.  This procedure approximately will last between 7-10 years, the same of a traditional facelift.  I would suggest this procedure as it is still less invasive than a traditional facelift, therefore not having the long downtime, but will definitely target them jowls, making them tighter.  It will depend on the overall result you are trying to achieve, to ensure your desired appearance. As you are having upper and lower blephs as well - sometimes lower blephs bruising can take up to two weeks to diminish.  I always tell my patients to prepare for the worst, therefore suggesting two weeks for public eye recovery.  Please find a reputable and qualified plastic surgeon who can assess you properly to give you a realistic idea of what outcome you can achieve and confirm the type of post op recovery typical.   Best of Luck

Facelift recovery

Full facelift patients are expect to have a physical recovery of about 7-10 days. During this period heavy lifting and bending are prohibited. Most patients can return to work or fly after 8-10 days. Strenuous exercises are recommend about 4 weeks after surgery.

Kevin Sadati, DO
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 208 reviews

Facelift Recovery

Facelift recovery varies from patient to patient and depends on a large number of variables.  Just as every patient is unique, the chosen procedure for the patient is unique as well.  The differences in wound healing characteristics of patients and the type of procedure performed account for variations in facelift recovery.

Most patients feel pretty good in about four to five days but their primary concern is when they will look good enough to go out in public.  Recovery following facelift surgery may last for months, but most patients feel they can go out in public in about two weeks.  At this point, most of the bruising and swelling has resolved.  Many patients adjust their hair style to hide their incisions and use make-up as well.

It’s important to emphasize that recovery periods are variable and depend not only on the patients wound healing characteristics and the surgical technique utilized, but also on the patient’s tolerance for changes that may occur following facelift.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

What is the downtime after facelift surgery? The truth revealed…

On average for facelift surgery, 90% of my patients are back to normal in two weeks. The truth is that this recovery after facelift surgery does depend on the individual person and does depend on several factors:The truth is that recovery after facelift surgery does differ on you as an individual, no two patients have an identical experience.
1) What do we mean by recovery? Some parts of
the recovery are quicker than others. What can I expect 1-week after surgery?
2) What are the individual factors that influence recovery?
3) What can ¬you do to speed up your recovery?
1) What do we mean by recovery? What can I expect 1-week after surgery?
  • Bruising & Swelling. After 1-week 80% of the bruising and swelling will have gone, by 2-weeks a further 80% of the bruising and swelling will have gone. Occasionally there can be a marked bruise that can take 6-weeks to go, though it can be covered with make up after 1-week. Occasionally swelling can persist for several weeks, though usually there is pre-existing medical condition
  • Sensory Change. There is often numbness around the ears and chin, this usually improves over the first 6 weeks although occasionally it can take longer.
  • Pain. In terms of pain, there is surprisingly little, and usually only for a few days after surgery that is relieved by oral analgesia.
  • Incisions. What about the incisions. This depends on the surgical technique, placement of the incisions and skin closure technique play an important role, incisions that are visible can be covered with make up from 2-weeks, the final result from any scars is 6-12 months later. There will be some numbness around parts of the face most returns in a period of 6-weeks, can last for 12-months.
  • Activities. Reading, computer work, these kind of low level activities can be started after a few days as they are not the same as lifting and strenuous activities that influence blood pressure and increase swelling.
  • Social activities. Most can be restarted after 2-weeks, there will be some residual bruising and swelling, generally this can be covered up with makeup. For an important social event such as a wedding should allow 6-weeks.
  • Exercise, as a general rule 3-4 weeks is advised for most aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
  • 2. What are the factors that influence your recovery?
• You. If you have any medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, these should be well controlled before rhinoplasty as they effect healing. Environmental factors such as smoking that delay healing, I insist patients stop smoking before and after surgery to improve healing and reduced risks of surgery. Your constitution two people having identical surgery will not heal in the same time, we all heal differently. Mental attitude, cosmetic surgery can be an emotional experience, and having a positive mental attitude goes a long way.
  • Surgery. Not all facelift surgery is the same, whether the surgery is principally on the face, the neck, whether a deep plane technique has been used, all of these effect healing. Having additional procedures such as eyelid surgery, fat transfer and others at the same time as the surgery will effect the recovery. Depending on how much surgery was required influences the amount of bleeding and bruising during the surgery.
  • Different surgical techniques influence bruising and swelling include and there are steps in the surgical technique and innovations that can be used to reduce bleeding, such as the use of tissue glue in a patient with known bleeding issues.

  • 3. What are things you can do to speed up your recovery?
• Before surgery. I give patients’ detailed instructions on medications and other treatments that can influence bleeding and should be avoided before surgery. In addition there are herbal medications that should be taken to reduce bleeding, Arnica.
  • After surgery. Icing your face for the first three days, in the form of ice in a zip lock bag, frozen peas or gel mask all have a beneficial effect on reducing swelling. There are other factors such as resting, taking things easy, and keeping your head elevated when sleeping, all will all reduce bruising and swelling.
  • Head Elevation. Sleeping with you head elevated reduces the effect of gravity on the face and reduces swelling of the face and neck areas.
  • Sun exposure. You should avoid sun exposure, wear hats and high sun protection factor sunscreen for a minimum of 6-months after facelift surgery.
  • Surgeon’s advice: It is important to follow your surgeons’ pre and post-operative instructions in order to heal properly and minimize prolonged recovery.
  • Julian De Silva, MD
    London Oculoplastic Surgeon
    5.0 out of 5 stars 149 reviews

    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.