Recovery Time for Facelift?

I am considering going out of the state for Facelift. How many days should I stay before returning home?

Doctor Answers 40

Recovery Time For a Facelift

Recovery time is a universal concern for prospective patients and the most frequent question during consultations.  Since there is no way to perform a surgical procedure without some recovery, it is important to first dispel the myth of "no downtime" surgery.  The "lunchtime lift"  belongs in the land of unicorns and flying pigs and should be dismissed as a marketing term.  The initial phase of recovery involves some degree of swelling and bruising.  In the link shown below, I show a patient before, at 1 week, and at 1 month after a Facelift. Although all patients are physically capable of driving and going about their business at 7-10 days, some individuals are more sensitive to having a postoperative appearance.  For most patients wearing makeup, going out in public without being conspicuous takes about 2 weeks. Although the wound healing process takes many months to fully settle down, these aspects of recovery are rarely noticeable to the general public.

Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Recovery time for a facelift

The recovery time for a facelift is largely a matter of appearance. Most patients feel fairly normal after a few days and depending on the type of procedure will look fairly normal in 10-14 days. Assuming everything goes well with the surgery, it should be safe to return to your home after that time.

Good luck and best wishes on your surgery.

Wayne I. Yamahata, MD
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Recovery time after facelift

Generally patients can travel 7 to10 days after surgery. If possible, I like to see my patients again after a few months, and again long term. During that interval, internet communications are comforting to a patient.

The recovery is a different matter. Some patients heal fast, some slow. Patients who have a straightforward facelift will usually be "presentable" faster than patients who have their eyes, brow, cheeklift, lip lifts, LiveFIll, laser etc. done at the same time.

Generally, patients are "presentable" by 2 weeks and "spiffy" by 4 weeks. Final healing time is ually 6 months.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 177 reviews

Recovery from a facelift

Depending on the procedure done and how careful your surgeon is with stopping bleeding and thus minizing bruising and swelling, the stay I would recommend if you were my patient is 10 days.  But obviously you should follow your own surgeon's advice.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Facelift Recovery

Thank you for your question. 

It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes to recover from facelift surgery varies greatly between individuals. Elevation of the head is extremely helpful in reducing the initial Postoperative swelling. You may also be advised to use ice packs intermittently.

You should avoid Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for the first few days after your surgery. Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke should be avoided to prevent delays in the healing process.

Once the dressings and drains are removed, puffiness and discoloration may be more pronounced in some portions of the face than others. Do not be alarmed by any unevenness or temporary asymmetry. This is normal. Most swelling is usually noted in the first 24 to 48 hours, and most bruising resolves within two weeks. Concealing makeup is usually permitted after the first week. You may experience numbness to the face postoperatively, which usually resolves within several months.

Some patients find that mild swelling persists for many weeks. Most stitches are removed within a week of the surgery.

Of course, many of our modern mini facelifts, such as the MACS facelift, allow patients to literally be back in public or work in as little as three days with little or no bruising!

Straining, bending and lifting should be avoided during the early postoperative period as these activities may predispose you to bleeding.

We will give you specific instructions that may include caring for the dressings and incisions, directions for your analgesics and other medications, specific concerns to look for, and when to follow up in the office to monitor your healing process. It may take several months for the swelling to fully resolve, and up to six months for the incision scars to fully fade. Avoidance of factors that could reduce the benefits of the surgery, such as excessive unprotected sun exposure and cigarette use, is vital. Best of luck!

Dhaval M. Patel 

Double Board Certified 

Plastic Surgeon 

Hoffman Estates 




Dhaval M. Patel, MD
Hoffman Estates Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Recovery Time for Facelift?

Recovery and Results :

After the face lifting operation the recovery period depends on your physical status, age, general health and condition mainly. The operation itself does not take too long therefore you receive a mild anesthesia. Since the anesthesia that you receive is mild; you will not have problems associated with anesthetic agents after the operation. This is especially important and can be achieved with only a team of plastic surgeons like we have. After the operation you will have stiches and bandages which will be removed after the 10th day. You can start to do your daily activities just after the operations but we do not advise you heavy lifting, running or activities that require excess physical activity. The more you rest, the faster your recovery will be.

Bulent Cihantimur, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Recovery Time for a Facelift

Your question really has two parts.  Should you travel for cosmetic surgery and what is recovery or downtime  from a facelift?

When it comes to people considering travelling more than they have to for any cosmetic surgery, most of is do not recommend it.  Just a couple of reasons include: 

  1. What if you have a complication after you return home? 
  2. The added cost of travel and hotel rooms and travel back for follow up usually makes the surgery more expensive.

Recovery is somewhat variable depending upon the individual and the extent of surgery that is done. There are three parts to "recovery":

  1. True recovery or time back up on your feet and able to go for a walk or get things done.  This should be no more than a day or two.
  2. Downtime or the time for the swelling and bruising to pass so that you can go out with some makeup on and not have people look aghast.  This is usually 7 to 10 days but may be a little longer depending upon you and the extent of the procedure.
  3. Time for healing.  I tell all my patients that all of the swelling is usually gone at 3 months and 80% of it is gone at 3 weeks.  Bruising can last up to 3 weeks.  Small lumps and bumps that can occasionally form may be 3 to 6 months before they are completely gone. The scars will be red and thick for up to a year.

Facelift surgery can be transformative however and most of these problems are pretty minor.

I hope that helps.

Best  regards

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Recovery Time for Facelift?

Thank you for your question.  I perform The Concept Facelift on my patients, which is a pioneered procedure giving the longevity and results of a traditional method facelift, however significantly reducing recovery time (swelling and bruising).  I would guide my patients to have approximately 7 day to recovery (this does depend on patient to patient therefore some will be out shopping and back to their daily routines with 4 days).

Overall recovery process does differ in patients.  Here is my recovery protocol which my patients follow to help minimise a long recovery period:

  • Do use a cool pack on the incisions as this will help reduce any residual fullness.
  • Do continue with painkillers if required, as around 5% of patients will have some ear pain which will settle within a week or two.
  • Do shower and hair wash daily.
  • Do resume normal activities however avoid vigorous exercise or heavy lifting for 2 weeks post procedure.
  • Don’t apply any make up, moisturiser or oils to the incision line until advised by us.
  • Don’t allow pets of any variety to share a bed with you and avoid allowing pets near your face for the first four weeks after your procedure. Allowing pets near your face has the potential to result in an infection. However being vigilant will help reduce this risk.
  • Do be vigilant with hand hygiene.
  • Do notify us immediately if you have any concerns or notice any increased redness, heat around the incision or if you have any discharge from around the ear.
Once you have seen your plastic surgeon for your follow up, they may advise on when you can start massaging the incision areas and the best technique to use. They may recommend the use of scar improvement oils such as Bio-oil.

All the Best with your recovery!

Average Facelift Recovery Time

The average recover time is a week. To speed up the process first and foremost, it is important that you follow your any post-op instructions your surgeon has given. Usually I recommend staying at home for at least a week. To promote healing staying hydrated and be sure to relax. While moderate activity, such as a low-impact walk, can help encourage healing, strenuous exercise should be avoided for the first couple of weeks. Take lukewarm showers (not hot) and avoid washing your hair for about 3 days. This will help protect the incision sites so that they can heal efficiently.

Julian De Silva, MD
London Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

Stay for at least two weeks

I would recommend staying for two weeks before returning home to allow for the majority of bruising and swelling to go down. This will also allow yourself time to rest, and to be able to visit your surgeon in person for follow-up visits and in case there are any complications. I find that in most of my patients, bruising resolves enough to be covered with makeup after one week, and fully resolves by two weeks, while swelling will be most pronounced for 24-72 hours following surgery. There will be other symptoms such as tightness, numbness, itchiness, and further swelling that may last for months, but these should not interfere with your ability to travel or go out in public. Wherever you go for your surgery, make sure that you choose a board-certified, well-qualified facial plastic surgeon in order to minimize recovery time and ensure a good result! Facial plastic surgeons generally have more experience than general plastic surgeons with facelifts as well as more head and neck anatomical knowledge that allows them to achieve superior results.

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