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 53

Downtime for a full facelift

A Full Facelift is not the same for every person. Facial rejuvenation should be customized carefully for each person. A link to my facelift before and after gallery is below. Some patients are photographed soon after surgery, and then again a year or more later.

The eye area tends to take the longest to look "normal" just because even minor swelling around the eyes can result in a somewhat distorted look that may indicate one has had surgery. The only way to know for certain is to visit a plastic surgeon you trust.  Many plastic surgeons, myself included will offer V-Beam laser treatments and a topical silicone scar treatment product to help scars heal quickly. Custom makeup application and lessons are also part of your post surgery experience. 

It is important to find a plastic surgeon who discusses post operative care and schedules post operative appointments before surgery. You also need to know who to contact if you have a concern post operatively if you have a concern and your surgen is in surgery. In my ofice, I have a Nurse practitioner and nurses vailable to see patients at all time, nd of course I am available to see patients and hear patient concerns as well. careful follow up is very important after surgery.

The long term results will vary significantly depending upon the training, expertise and experience of your plastic surgeon. 
The following are a few things that can distinguish some surgeons from others

1) Graduating from a top tier medical school at the top of their class.

2) Membership in Alpha Omega Alpha. This is the medical honors society. Alpha Omega Alpha is to medicine what Phi Beta Kappa is to undergraduate universities. 

3) Formal surgical training from prestigious medical universities. The minimum number of years of surgical training for plastic surgeons to be bord certified in five years. Some physicians have as many as ten years of formal surgical training. There simply is no substitute for stelar academic and practical surgical training.

4) Very experienced surgeons with meticulous surgical technique and natural looking outcomes will have photgraphic evidence of their work. Patients should be able to view many photos of the surgery of interest, photgraphed from three different perspectives all with similar lighting, distance from the camera and cropping

The elite experience extends beyond the surgeon to the facility, and the surgical team. You should be able to see the surgical theater and know who else will be in the OR with you during surgery. The Joint Commission (JCAHO) is an organization that provides certification to hospital OR's. The Joint Commission and AAAASF are two of the organizations that can provide certification to surgical suites. Some plastic surgeons elect to have their surgery centers dually certified.

The anesthesia experience is critical to a safe and comfortable surgical experience. A board certified anesthesiologist can administer general or MAC anesthesia. My preference is to have a board-certified anesthesiologist at the bedside of my patients for the duration of surgery.

Plastic surgeons who cater to high profile individuals who place a high value on privacy will have a private first floor entrance and exit so patients never need to be in a public lobby or elevator for pre-operative or post operative visits.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 113 reviews

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

Thomas E. Kaniff, MD, FACS
Sacramento Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 24 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 166 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
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 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
4.9 out of 5 stars 181 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.

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.
  • Recovery after a lift

    Recovery after a lift varies a great deal but at least 50% are able to be out and about with make-up at 1 week and ~ 95% by 2 weeks 

    Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
    Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
    4.8 out of 5 stars 209 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.