For Docs who do facelifts and facial surgeries. How is post operative recovery room care handled where you operate?

Specifically how is post operative recovery room care handled where you operate? What are your instructions to staff to ease the patients pain and make them as comfortable as possible given all the factors involved? How long can it take for a patient to recover enough to leave? What is your role as doc during this time?

Doctor Answers 18

Facelift Recovery

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You are asking very good questions. It is important to consider post-operative care very carefully. Look for a plastic surgeon who operates in a facility accredited by The Joint Commission, AAAASF, or both. It is also important to know that the plastic surgeon has hospital admitting privileges for the surgery you are considering at a nearby hospital. 

Ask about the OR team, how many registered nurses or other medical professionals are in the OR? How many are available  for pre-operative and post-operative care? Is there a certified sterile processing professional managing the sterilization of instruments? And, of course, is anesthesia administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist? 

In many surgical suites, mine included, overnight care, when needed or desired is provided by registered nurses. These nurses are trained to keep patients safe and comfortable. They also know to contact me immediately should there be a question or concern about a patient. 

I applaud you for considering these important questions before surgery.  You should know who will be providing care inside the OR and out for you. In a pre-operative appointment,  very thorough instructions are provided and appointments for a full year after surgery are scheduled. There is also an opportunity for a caregiver to ask questions and to understand how they can help and to know how and when to contact the office during and after hours with any questions. 

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Post Op Facelift Care

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I operate in my fully accredited and licensed AAAA-SF surgical facility with staff (all of whom are board certified) I have personally hand selected to ensure that my patients receive highest quality of medical and plastic surgical care. If you were one of my facelift patients, you would be recovered in the recovery area with a board-certified nurse and an overnight nurse (I insist on overnight nurses with my facelift patients) to tend to your every need, including any discomfort. I have specially dimmed lights to make it easy on your senses and television monitors if you wish to "be distracted." Recovery is often quick due to the type of anesthesia used, and I will personally check on you frequently.  Often my facelift patients choose to stay at the Pierre Hotel which is directly across the street, where the nurse will have already checked you in so that you can go straight to your room. I will make house calls for my facelift patients, and will take off the head dressing (bandages) so that when you step out in public for the first time postoperatively, the nurse will ensure you are freshly showered and your hair is clean so you feel good and are not burdened by a head dressing. Facelifting is an art and a science, and beyond the logistics of the medical, you should have a very natural result, without any telltale signs of having had surgery.  Your face should be gently resuspended; your eyes without hooding (but not looking like a "deer in the headlights"); your skin should be smooth, your neck with a clean jawline, and a general aesthetic of being rested should prevail. 

Recovery after facelift

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First, my office provides patients with a very detailed booklet of information regarding pre and post op care prior to surgery. Second, I operate out of a fully accredited OR in  my office or in the hospital depending upon the patient's overall health.  If in  my office, I use a board certified anesthesiologist and a team of staff to recover the patient. The patient only leaves the office recovery room when criteria are met for discharge.  We recommend that they go home with an overnight nurse which we can arrange.  Best of luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Postoperative care facelift

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I have an accredited AAAASF surgical facility in Naples Florida. I am a Private Practice board certified plastic surgeon in the community whose office is a surgical suite on the first floor of a hospital. Our staff in the recovery area are RN credentialed nurses that monitor your status until you are ready to go home as an outpatient. Furthermore all facelift patients have an RN that goes with the patient the first 12-24 hours(overnight) after surgery to their home and brought to my office the following day.

We want our patients  to have the best surgical experience and result possible, with the highest quality of plastic surgery care..  

Andrew Turk, MD
Naples Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Post op Care.

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Thank you for your question. I operate out of a fully accredited surgical center. Most of my facelift surgeries are performed under local anesthesia which significantly reduces the recovery time. Once the procedure is finished, and dressing is applied you will be prepared for discharge.  Most local patients a go home the same day with the assistance of a driver and return the following morning. If you are from out of town, you may elect to stay overnight at the center with one of our nurses to assist you or at a nearby hotel. I am available for any concerns during your recovery. 

Stephen Fink, DO FAOCO
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

For Docs who do facelifts and facial surgeries. How is post operative recovery room care handled where you operate?

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Post operative recovery room care (PACU) is overseen by an experienced RN Administrator with over 20+ years in operatory nursing care. The facility is fully accredited with care provided by multiple RN's with several MD's on site. Without exception my patients provide positive feedback on the care provided by this committed team. Ensure that your surgeon operates in a similar environment. 

Richard Zienowicz, MD
Providence Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Recovery room care for facelift patients?

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All certified surgical facilities (ours at the Camden Surgery Center is Medicare certified) have protocols with monitoring of patients by an RN, the anesthetist and as necessary by the surgeon.  Facelifts are generally pain-free but if the patient is uncomfortable or has some shaking from some of the anesthetics a narcotic may be prescribed.  There is a balance between allowing the patient to become awake and alert so that he/she can go to the aftercare facility versus sedating them with pain medicine.  Most patients at all facilities find the immediate postoperative recovery room experience relatively easy and pleasant.  Of importance is monitoring blood pressure since the risk of hematoma is elevated if your blood pressure is affected by the adrenaline injected to shrink blood vessels before and during the surgery.

If you already planned your surgery, you should discuss these details with your plastic surgeon to your satisfaction. Good luck with your procedure and best wishes,

Jon A Perlman M.D., FACS
Diplomate, American Board of Plastic Surgery
Member, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)
Beverly Hills, California

Jon A. Perlman, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Immediate post-operative care for Facelift patients

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Thank you for the great question. In my surgery center, as in most private plastic-surgery oriented centers, patients are observed in the recovery area by a registered nurse (RN). This may be for an hour or many hours, depending on exactly what was done and the patient's general medical condition. Pain medication is given by IV or by mouth, depending on the situation. Dressings and drains (if present) are monitored. In general, facelift surgery is not very painful. Some discomfort is present, but this is less than with a lot of other plastic surgery procedures (e.g., liposuction). For patients that live more than 30 miles from the surgery center, we have them stay at a hotel next door to the office. This can be with a nurse aide overnight, or with a friend or family member. The next morning, patients come back to the office for a dressing change and to review the postoperative care instructions one more time. Thank you and take care!


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Facelifts really do not hurt!  It is not a painful recovery, and most patients are ready to leave within 2 hours.  The operating room is important- safety is most important.  I operate in my AAAHC accredited operating room, this is an outside accreditation process that is done by AAAHC surveyors who review processes etc.  I think that is extremely important.  

Melanie L. Petro, MD
Birmingham Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Recovery room care for facelift

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I have a policy to do only one major case per day in my accredited office based surgery center and am involved personally in the post operative care. I had a pocket door built between my office and the OR so I know what is happening every minute. My staff remains with the patient throughout and the anesthesiologist, who is superb, also does not rush out the door. The IV continues and the local anesthesia injected continues to provide pain relief. Facelift is notably not a painful procedure.  By law, the patient must remain for at least an hour but I tend to keep them longer for a more complete assessment. Best wishes.

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.