How soon can a person return to normal activity after a traditional Facelift?

Doctor Answers 28

Recovery time after facelift

Thank you for your answer. Working in medical tourism, we get this question a lot. Usually a first recovery period of 10 days is enough for the patient to be able to fly. The complete healing takes longer. 2-3 days after surgery, you can already walk around. After a week you can resume light activities. First sport activities or heavy lifting should wait at least a month. The most important thing during the first recovery period is not to bend over and sleep slightly sitting up.

About 1 Week, Aside from Strenuous Activity

As you can see from the answers already posted, questions about recovery timelines elicit vague responses. The reason is that a "traditional facelift" can mean different things to different plastic surgeons, and each surgeon provides recovery instructions based on the techniques used. It also depends on your level of comfort with answering questions about the procedure. That said, I tell my patients that it's usually OK to begin using makeup to camouflage bruising several days after the procedure. You can usually drive and return to work about 2 weeks after the surgery, as long as you are no longer taking prescription pain relief medication. If your normal routine includes strenuous activity, such as weightlifting, I caution my patients to wait 3 to 4 weeks before resuming it, and to slowly ease back into it.

Marc DuPere, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

How soon can a person return to normal activity after a traditional Facelift?

Excellent question.As always you should closely follow the instructions of your surgeon, he/she will better know when it is safe for you to resume your normal activities, (because "normal activities" means different things to different people, patients and physicians, especially on the internet).
In general significantly restricting your activity in the initial two to three weeks is essential, and 3-4 weeks is even better.  Too much early activity can cause a number of issues that may prolong your healing (by weeks or even months), compromise your results, and create unneeded anxiety.  Consider your facelift an investment, where a little patience and rest in the beginning will produce significant dividends for years to come.
I hope this helps.

Timothy R. Miller, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Pamper Your Face for Two Months After Facelift

A facelift is a major surgical procedure, so you must be prepared to give yourself adequate recovery time to achieve optimal results. You will wear a bandage for one week, which can be removed for showers and light errands. You need to avoid strenuous activity for 2 weeks, and avoid curling irons, steam baths, saunas, and hair dryers (unless on the “cool” setting) for 2 months.  Most people begin to look pretty good by 2 weeks but the results will continue to improve for the first 3-4 months as the swelling resolves.

Plan for Two Weeks of Recovery

I always tell patients to plan for a two-week recovery but they will probably be fine for usual normal activities by 10 days.  I advise them to refrain from aggressive gym activities for at least one month.  Adding other procedures such as a blepharoplasty or brow lift will add to recovery time.  

How soon you can return to normal activity following a Facelift procedure.

When a patient can return to their everyday activities after a facelift often varies from patient to patient, and it is best to consult your plastic surgeon, as he or she will inform you on how long recovery time will take. Commonly, patients are able to return to work in three weeks. All the best, Dr. Berman, MD FACS 

Jonathan Berman, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Normal activity after a traditional facelift

One should avoid straining, head lowering, salty foods the first week after surgery. One may return to more aggressive exercise two weeks after surgery, but should not be surprised in seeing transient swelling after such vigorous activities.

William Sando, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

How soon can a person return to normal activity after a traditional Facelift?

I tell my patients that they will need social recovery that is not being seen by the public for at least 2 weeks after a well-done facelift.  We will take at least 3 weeks to begin to feel more comfortable and like herself  and you will need to wait 6 weeks before having photographs taken or attending and important social event such as a wetting or class reunion. This is of course assuming a well done facelift without complications.

Recovery Post Facelift

Healing varies from patient to patient. Do not exercise for the first 3-4 weeks post surgery. It is very important to maintain elevation of your head. You are able to turn your head fully within a week. The downtime after a facelift is about 2 weeks and you can be back at work and resume normal daily activities. By 4-6 weeks, most of the major swelling will be gone. I don’t allow my patients to drive a vehicle for 10-14 days especially if they had eye surgery concomitantly. It may take up to 6 months for you to consider your recovery to be complete.  

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Recovery after a facelift?

Recovery following a facelift can vary, and the level of recommended activity will also vary with each surgeon.  Typically, it will take 1-2 weeks for the immediate bruising and swelling to resolve although subtle changes will continue for several weeks to months.  I advise my patient that they should be able to drive within 1-2 weeks and can return to a sedentary job by 10-14 days.  However, it will be at least 3 weeks before one can resume strenuous activity like working out or heavy lifting.  I would suggest that you speak with your surgeon regarding his or her recommendations for your recovery because it may be slightly different based on your individual needs.  Good luck!

Anureet K. Bajaj, MD
Oklahoma City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 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.