After a Facelift, could it take months to recuperate?

Doctor Answers 23

Face lift - how long to recover?

Thank you for asking about your face lift.
  • Excellent question - it can be confusing.
  • Don't confuse your immediate recovery with the time to your final result.
  • Most people have recovered enough from surgery to be in public, and often working from home a week after a face and neck lift.
  • Back to work in 2 weeks in the norm -
  • But you will still be swollen, the face won't feel normal and you won't see your final result for at least 6 months, sometimes longer.
  • This is a natural healing process - but your surgical recuperation is a matter of a few weeks.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

To Fully Heal, Yes

Thank you for your question. The answer really depends on what you mean by "recuperate." After a few weeks, most patients will be able to gradually return to a normal routine, including a return to exercise (on a timeline guided by your surgeon). The majority of swelling and bruising will have subsided by then, as well. However, even after a few months, your body will not be 100% as it was. Your incision scars will take months to fade from pink to white, for example, and you will likely have some minor residual swelling or bruising as well. I hope this answer helps put the healing process in context.

James N. Romanelli, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Recovery Time After Facelift Comes in Stages

A full facelift, or Traditional Rhytidectomy, is a major surgical procedure that will heal gradually over the course of several months. The healing occurs in stages. During the first week, you will have a bandage on your face and must curtail most activities. After one week, your stitches are removed and you can add in activities that are not strenuous. You may wish to continue to wear a bandage at night to speed recovery. At the two-week mark you can usually return to your normal routine. However, your body is still healing and you should avoid activities such as saunas, steam baths, curling irons, blow dryers (cool setting is OK) and hot rollers. Each patient is different. It takes about four months to appreciate your final results.

Jonathan Kulbersh, MD
Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Recovery post facelift

Hi Ada,

I typically advise my patients to plan for at least 2 weeks of stay at home recovery. Then, it may take another month or two for all of the swelling to subside and 6 months to a year for your final results.  However, you won't look bad during that time. Your face will simply continue to change as it completely heals. Hope this helps.


Kouros Azar

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

After a Facelift, could it take months to recuperate?

After a facelift, would it take months to recuperate? Practically speaking it would take 2 to 3 weeks to be presentable according to how much has to be done. However, it would take months for you to look as good as you are going to look. After a couple of weeks you should look better than you did before surgery. 

I have many patients who go back to work in 10 days or less if the procedure is fairly straight forward. Younger patients also recuperate faster than those who are older as do those who have taken care of themselves through the years. 

I hope this has answered your question. Best of luck to you.

E. Ronald Finger, MD
Savannah Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Recovery time for facelift surgery

This depends on the type of facelift and the the nature of the patient.  I perform a bi lamellar facelift which includes a deep plane dissection.  In patients who have a "heavy face", it can take up to 6 months for all the swelling to resolve. Certainly patients are ok for social activities in 2-3 weeks,  and look great at 3 months, but it can be a while longer for all of the swelling to resolve.  I believe this type of facelift is most effective for many patients who desire a natural, refined look

J. Kevin Duplechain, MD, FACS
Lafayette Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Recovery after a facelift

Typically, there is a some swelling and some minor bruising after a facelift.  Usually, by 3 weeks out, most of this has resolved.  Incisions may initially be pinky-red in color, but this usually settles down over about 3 months.  Most people have "settled in" and have nice-looking results by 3 months.

Thomas Fiala, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Face lift recovery

Thank you for your question. Healing after a facelift is usually pretty straight forward.  There is a process of swelling and bruising that peaks at 3 days after surgery and then undergoes the first stage of major resolution in the first 2 weeks after surgery.  The lateer phase of healing takes place over the 2-3 months after surgery where everything really settles and softens.  It is after this time that we are getting close to the final result, though this varies patient to patient. 

Alex Campbell, MD
Colombia Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Facelift Timimg

The facelift results can usually be seen in the first few weeks.   The overall swelling typically takes 3 to 5 months.    There could be scar tissue and lumps that could take months to a year to resolve.    If fat transfers were performed this could take a year  to appreciate.   

Kenneth Sumida, MD
Folsom Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Recovery time for a facelift

There are several different types of facelifts ranging from mini to full face which can affect your healing time. The most common standard facelift takes approximately 2 weeks to get back to a relatively normal routine. During your first week you will be recovering from most of your physical healing including but not limited to drain removal, mild bruising, swelling and some redness at the incision sites. By the second week you will see real progress and be able to drive, attend social events and look very presentable. You may start light exercise at approximately 3 weeks and the rest of your healing may consist of some residual numbness/tingling/fading of redness which is very mild and doesn’t bother most patients. Again these healing times are dependent upon the type of facelift you are having and your age, health etc.

Jason S. Cooper, MD
Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 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.