How long after a facelift, browlift and fat transfers can I return to sleeping on my side rather than my back?

I do not want to jeopardise my final results however it is now 18 days since my surgery and I am only getting 5 or less hours of sleep a night.

Doctor Answers 18

Sleeping position after facelift surgery

Good question. First - you should only follow your own surgeon's instructions. I try to get my patients to lie as straight as possible for three weeks. It just help to keep the swelling the least. What you need to know is that once you start to sleep on your side, which ever side is "down" will end up looking a bit more swollen when you wake up. It's just the effect of gravity. It won't be permanent.

Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

How long after a facelift, browlift and fat transfers can I return to sleeping on my side rather than my back?

In my practice (and your surgeon may differ) I encourage my facelift patients to sleep on their back for 10-14 days to not only reduce swelling, but to allow for healing of the incisions adjacent to the ear before they're placed under any tension.  Maintaining head elevation during the same time and restriction of salt intake also can remarkably reduce swelling. Please watch the video link above for more information.   Good luck and enjoy your results.

Jon A Perlman MD FACS 

Certified, American Board of Plastic Surgery 

Extreme Makeover Surgeon ABC TV

Best of Los Angeles Award 2015, 2016 

Beverly Hills, Ca

Jon A. Perlman, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Speak to Your Surgeon for a Definite Answer

I'm sorry to hear that you're having trouble sleeping 3 weeks after your plastic surgery. For patients used to sleeping on their sides, having to sleep on their backs with their heads elevated can be a hardship. I do think that you have passed the critical stage in your recovery and can safely sleep on your side at this point, but it depends on your surgeon's techniques and preferences. I would begin by reviewing the postoperative instructions you received. If you don't see anything specific there, go ahead and contact the practice. 

Thomas McNemar, MD, FACS
Stockton Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Sleep Position After Facelift

Thank you for your question.  Please do seek the advice from your surgeon, as every surgeon will have a different protocol.  I will typically advise my patients to sleep reclined on their back for 7-10 days after surgery.  This helps minimise swelling and bruising.  Patients will normally find their tear the most tenders therefore after 7 days if they are able to sleep on their side without pain, its fine to do so.  All The Best 

How can your sleep position enhance facelift results?

Thanks for your question.  It is best to sleep on your back for at least a month following a facelift, however, if you can continue this sleep position, many feel that it can help you to age less quickly than if you sleep on your side.  But, for sure, follow your surgeon's instructions.  Each surgeon has their own protocol and it is best to check with him or her to compliment the procedure that they have performed.  Best of luck.

Anna I. Wooten, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Sleeping position after Facelift

Hello and thank you for your question! It is best to follow your doctor's instructions. I normally recommend my patients to sleep on their back for around 2-4 weeks. Once you are able to sleep on your side, you will experience a lot of swelling on one side than the other. This will not permanent and will fade with time, but for now, try to sleep on your back for another week. I wish you the best of luck!

Peter Newen, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Sleeping positions after facelift surgery

I usually suggest that my patients an sleep on their sides after 7-10 days after surgery. The first week is important to avoid that position as you will wake up with more swelling on that side. I usually suggest my patients to sleep in a recliner for the first week to avoid the side position, then after that they can sleep on their sides. 

Dilip D. Madnani, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

My recomendation

Many physicians, dermatologists and plastic surgeons believe that generally sleeping on your side promotes a more progressive aging appearance on that side vs. sleeping on your back.  However, after a face lift you will have swelling and in fact you can and will have more swelling on one side if you sleep on that side.  Ideally I would recommend 6 weeks, but minimally 2 weeks (as the incisions are healing).

Michael N. Desvigne, MD, FACS
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Side sleeping post facelift surgery

I would suggest that you speak with your surgeon since he or she knows your case intimately, but I think you'd be fine returning to sleeping on your side. You may experience a bit more swelling on whichever side your favor, but this will fade in time. 


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Sleeping on the side after a facelift

it is a good idea to try and sleep with the back/ head elevated the first two weeks after surgery to aid in circulation and mimimize swelling . One can usually begin to safely sleep on their side and early as two weeks after surgery but it might be uncomfortable So I encourage patients to try to wait about four weeks,and ,at that point, side sleeping should be without any issues.

Please seek a consultation with a BOARD-CERTIFED PLASTIC SURGEON 

Michael H. Wojtanowski, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 9 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.