Facelift/Necklift recovery AFTER 4 weeks

I had a SMAS facelift/necklift 5 weeks ago. Recovery 'normal' - initial deep bruising and ongoing swelling. Resumed most of my activities and people don't notice surgery. My concern now is extreme discomfort/tightness/tiredness as day progresses. Work (part time) and socialising involve lots of talking and expressive smiling. How careful do I need to be at this stage? (Can I do harm?) Best way to deal with discomfort? (Neck bandage helps face but neck swells) Advice, tips much appreciated!

Doctor Answers 7

Face and neck lift recovery after four weeks.

Thank you for your question.  Your recovery sounds normal.  The skin and muscles of your face and neck are adjusting and recovering from your surgery.  It makes sense that your discomfort increases with activity and during the course of the day.  Although the initial bruising and swelling and feeling of tightness take 3-4 weeks to resolve I tell patients not to expect to feel normal and social environments or at work for at least 6 weeks.  Of course it is important to discuss this with your plastic surgeon.

Facelift Recovery

The facelift recovery process can vary from person to person. It is always best you consult your operating surgeon for definitive advice regarding his preferred method of activity after surgery. This will obviously depend on what type of facelift was performed.

In general, at 4 weeks my patients are starting to get back to full, regular activity.  I do not impose much restriction at that point, other then exercise that can be overly strenuous or that can worsen swelling such as intense Yoga. Most of my patients, by 6 weeks, are back to full activity.  There are exceptions that take less time and those that take more time to heal. 

Remember, you are tired because you have been recovering for the past few weeks.  It takes time to get back to full activity and will not happen overnight. Even if you did not have surgery and just took it easy for 3 weeks it would take time for you to recondition yourself. I would expect that as the weeks go by, you will continue to feel better and more energetic.  Also remember to enjoy the results of the facelift surgery you had!

Jacob D. Steiger, MD
Boca Raton Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Takes a while

I usually recommend at least 6 weeks post face lift surgery before beginning any sort exercise and even then, most patients report hat you are feeling toward the end of the day.  As the day goes on, you swell slightly more and more throughout the day, thus the "tight" feeling at the end of the day.  When you relax in the evening, the swelling resolves.  This is completely normal and may takes 3 months or more to completely settle.  I do not believe  you are doing any damage to your surgery.  Good luck!

G. Robert Meger, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Facelift/Necklift recovery AFTER 4 weeks

Typically, 4 weeks after a facelift and necklift most people have resumed most of their daily and social activities; however, even at that time point you are still in the healing phase.  Much like a person who has knee or hip surgery, for example, you can walk and perhaps jog but running takes a little more healing time.  The same is with some of the activities you are describing.

The best advice is to not overdo it and if you feel uncomfortable doing an activity ease off and decrease your overall activity.  In time everything will become normal.  Often at 4 weeks it is OK to take ibuprofen to help with any lingering discomfort.  However, it's important to clear this medication first with your surgeon.  

I hope this helps.

Timothy R. Miller, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Running on Empty at the end of the Day

I am glad that your facelift has gone well.  The best advice that I can give is to reduce your level of daily activity and gradually work your way back to your routine schedule.  Over the counter pain medications may occasional be necessary.  Lastly, discuss this with your operating surgeon.

Earl Stephenson, Jr, MD, DDS, FACS

Facelift Recovery

Your "recovery" sounds pretty normal.  You certainly sound recovered but you are not healed at 5 weeks so you will certainly have tightness, numbness and some minimal discomfort.  All of this should improve from week to week.  

I hope that you like your results and they should look even better with time as the swelling continues to go way.

I hope that helps.

Best regards.

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

Facelift/Necklift Recovery after the first month

This is my routine with patients having a normal early recovery from a facelift or necklift: Starting at 3 weeks gradually and progressively increase your physical exercise daily routine with increasing  high repetition low resistance activities - e.g. walking, stationary bike without resistance, elliptical, stairstep.
That is minimal lifting and no bending (keep head elevated). At 6 weeks there is no restrictions unless you feel discomfort in your activity or there is increased swelling.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 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.