Facelift - how long will I have to sleep upright?

How long will I have to sleep sitting up after having a face lift ? I am planning a face lift , breast implants , lipo sculpting , and trouser lift tummy tuck in one surgery . I am worried about coping with the pain on my above bottom cut line whilst sleeping upright wondering how long I will have to open and any ideas on how to ease the pressure on this area ?

Doctor Answers 18

Don't Sleep Upright for Facelift

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I recommend sleeping elevated after a facelift. The morning after surgery, I'll check on you to make sure you're recovering well and, if so, send you home with a bandage that will stay on for the next week. You'll be able to remove it for showers and short errands. After a week, the bandage and stitches will be removed. You can continue wearing the bandage at night to speed recovery. You will probably be bruised and swollen for at least two weeks and should curtail most activities during that time. I hope this helps.

Sleep Upright for 2 Weeks After a Facelift

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That's a great question. Generally you should stay slightly elevated for 2 weeks. Gravity is your friend by taking the fluid back to your heart, and if you are laying supine, it is harder for it to get there. I would also caution about having too much surgery at one time. This will increase your swelling and your recovery time. The risk of complications also increases, including DVT (deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots in the legs). Doing the procedures separately will make the procedure much more tolerable and the recovery (swelling) less and much safer. Thanks, and best of luck.

Sleeping upright after facelift

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Specific recommendations vary between different plastic surgeons, but I usually ask patients to sleep with their head and neck elevated on 2-3 pillows for the first 2 weeks in order to mitigate the swelling.  Swelling is water, and water rolls down hill.  And with a facelift procedure, there is interruption of the usual routes (lymphatic channels) that dissipate fluid build-up.  It will therefore take longer for swelling to resolve once it develops, so it is better to prevent it as much as possible.  My other recommendation is to consider carefully the amount of surgery you are anticipating; it seems like quite a lot at once.  Although there are some good reasons to combine certain procedures (e.g. having a facelift at the same time as a neck lift and eyelid lift), having several procedures at one time will significantly increase the length of the surgery and the possibility of post-operative complications such as deep venous thrombosis (blood clots that form in the legs and can move into the lungs).  Best wishes for beautiful results and a comfortable recovery! 

Sleeping position

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Hi K7,
You are planning a very large number of procedures in one operation. This in itself has its own set of risks. In general in facelift surgery, I have my patients lying flat rather than elevated. This is in contrast to how we have been having patients positioned over many years; however, the results speak for themselves and this is very much a superior patient position after facelift. There are many other aspects of positioning, movement, eating, drinking and animation post facelift which are worth observing in the first week or two.
Dr Nettle

Facelift - how long will I have to sleep upright?

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Typically, I recommend keeping your head elevated to 45 degrees the first 2 weeks after surgery. This means sleeping on your back with 2 pillows. This helps to keep the swelling down. Some surgeons ask you to sleep in a recliner. I don't feel this is necessary but the more you consistently elevate the less swelling you will have.

How long do I sleep upright after facelift?

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Thank you for your question.  The answer here can vary from surgeon to surgeon, and you should check with whomever you decide to use.  Typically I ask my patients to sleep with the head elevated at about 30 degrees for 1-2 weeks.  The longer the better in terms of helping with reducing swelling more rapidly.

Since you are having other surgical procedures, this should be done in consultation with your surgeon.

Hope this helps.
Dr. Most

Sam Most, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Recovery after facelift

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Postoperative care after facelifting, or any surgery, is a critical element in achieving ideal results.  Combining surgeries has the advantage of achieving multiple benefits under a single surgery and anesthesia.  However, combining surgeries that require different postoperative positioning can be difficult and even detrimental to ideal healing.  Furthermore, performing too many surgeries during a single anesthetic may prolong anesthesia times beyond the typical "safe" time period and you may be exposed to increased risks of postoperative complications.
Of course this should be discussed with your Plastic Surgeon, but it would not be unreasonable to consider staging the surgeries into 2 different times to minimize the length of anesthesia and simplify the postoperative recovery issues.
Most surgeons recommend elevation of the surgical site for at least 2 weeks.  With facelifting, sleeping with extra pillows in your bed, or sleeping in a recliner can facilitate the more rapid resolution of postoperative edema.  
Good luck with your upcoming surgeries!

Daniel M. Calloway, MD
Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Post operative instructions

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Your surgeon or his/her representative should go over those instructions with you during your pre-op appointment, however, I have my patients elevated for at least a week post op. A bigger concern you should have is having all of those procedures listed at one time, it seems that a re-consult with your surgeon is needed to clarify all of your instructions and possible concerns.

Clayton L. Moliver, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Sleeping with the head elevated after a facelift.

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Specific instructions should come only from your plastic surgeon. Personally, I asked the patient's to sleep atop a couple of pillows for a week or so. Other plastic surgeons may have different requirements.

Sleeping Position Post Facelift

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I recommend that my patients keep their head elevated at a 45-degreeangle for the first 2 weeks using a wedge rest or well-placed pillow. Talk to your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for your post-op instructions.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

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.