What Level of Pain is Considered Normal After a Facelift?

Should prescribed pain meds be able to numb the pain? If they do not, is something else wrong?

Doctor Answers 26

Facelift Surgery and Postoperative Pain

While different surgeons have different approaches to pain control, I find that most of my patients today would prefer to have a minimalist approach to pain control.  As a result, I use conscious sedation with tumescent local anesthesia so that you wake up without pain.  We then use only drugs like Aleve and Tylenol for the next day or so.  I also have you in the shower and out walking the next day and virtually everyone does very well with this regimen.  This way we avoid the complications that stronger medications have such as nausea, constipation and drowsiness.

I hope that helps.

Best regards.


Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

See surgeon if pain is concern

Pain after surgery is normal, and it is generally well controlled by medication prescribed by your surgeon. If you are concerned about the level of pain you're experiencing, it's safer for you to see your surgeon just in case.

Discomfort following a facelift

There is minimal discomfort following a facelift. You will be prescribed medication to control any pain you may have but most patients take them for only a few days and are relatively comfortable after 4-5 days. As you begin to heal you may experience itchiness, swelling and some tightness which is completely normal and for most subsides within the first few weeks. I typically make the neck skin tight as a significant amount of improvement is often needed in the neck. By comparison I do not make the face skin tight as that is not natural and can appear unfavorable.

Jason S. Cooper, MD
Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Discomfort Following a Facelift

The #pain should be minimal and can be controlled with the prescribed medication by your surgeon. 
Throughout the #facelift #healing process you should be seen frequently by your doctor and one of their registered nurses to ensure you are following instructions properly and your recovery is going well. The healing process in general can take up to one month for the majority of swelling to subside, incisions to close, sutures to come out, and for bruising to completely go away.
#Recovery time from a #facelift varies from person to person, but patients can generally expect to be presentable within three weeks from surgery. Patients should expect swelling, bruising, and discoloration of the skin during this phase of recovery (swelling normally goes down after 48 hours; most bruising will go away within two weeks). The marks from a facelift can easily hidden with “camouflage” make-up which you can learn how to apply.
The scars from a facelift mature within six to twelve months from the surgery date. It is during this time that the rejuvenating effects of the facelift will become apparent and the real result will be seen. If you have certain concerns about the procedures and #healing process, it is recommended to call your board-certified surgeon or their medical staff and discuss those #concerns.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Pain is usually minimal after a facelift

Pain after a facelift is actually usually pretty minimal. Your surgeon should prescribe some pain medications, but often patients only use them for a day or two after surgery. Rather than pain, patients most often experience discomfort from swelling, tightness, or itchiness. This will be most pronounced in the first few days after surgery, then should continue to subside over the next few weeks and months. Individuals may have different pain tolerances, however, and if your pain medications don’t help, I would advise visiting your surgeon for a follow-up visit.

Mild Discomfort Usual following Facelift

Minimal Pain After a Facelift

There is a degree of discomfort after all surgery. Pain medicines are to make this discomfort less but NOT to eliminated it completely - just enough to allow you to do other activities. Fortunately, he pain felt after a Facelift is typically very low. Patients should expect swelling, bruising, and  a tight feeling in the face after the procedure, but swelling normally goes down after 48 hours, most bruising goes away within two weeks, and the tightness is to be expected. Pain medicines are prescribed but usually not needed after a few days. Most of the skin is numb (no sensation at all), and when the numbness resolves months later the healing is already complete.

 

Pain after lift

The discomfort after a face & neck lift is mostly a sensation of tightness.  Typically prescription pain medications such as Vicodin or Percocet are needed for 2-3 days.  Every person has a different pain tolerance and of course there are differences in types of face lifts as well.

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 222 reviews

Facelift pain is minimal

The truth is that for a large percentage of people who undergo a face lift, the pain is minimal. They can usually get away with only taking an over the counter pain medication. In most cases, it is more of a little discomfort and irritation than it is painful.

 

Christopher W. Chase, MD
Chattanooga Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Facelift - What Level of Pain is Considered Normal After a Facelift?

Pretty low, actually.  Facelifts are typically associate with an often surprisingly low level of pain.  Of course, some discomfort is normal, but it's more commonly described as tightness, burning, claustrophobic feelings (from the bandages), and itching or burning.  Pain meds are often prescribed, but are used only rarely.  In fact, significant pain - particularly on one side and associated with swelling on that side - may be the hallmark of one of the few real emergencies after a facelift:  a hematoma.  Urgent intervention is normally required at that point.  This is, fortunately, a rare event.  The Plastic Surgery Bottom Line:  There is normally relatively little pain after a facelift.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

Post-operative Facelift

Pain is not a major issue after soft tissue surgery like a Facelift in the vast majority of my patients.  Still, pain is very subjective.  If you feel you are more sensitive to pain or if you are on daily pain medications regularly you should definitively discuss this with your surgeon.  They will help you formulate a pain to help control any post-operative discomfort.  Good luck!

Hannah Vargas, MD
Kansas City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 40 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.