The facelift operation is one of the most dramaticprocedures for looking younger. Nothing can improve the jowl and neck more thanthe facelift. In order to take advantageof all the positive changes associated with the facelift the patient must payclose attention to the recovery process.
Activity: Forthe first 24 hours, rest is absolutely necessary. Elevate the head and talk aslittle as possible. Sleep in a recliner if possible or with your head on severalpillows. Do not sleep on the side of your face but rather sleep with the backof your head on the pillow for about two weeks. Some patients prefer an airlinetype pillow for comfort. Also popular is the common pillow called a husband.This is the large pillow that has extensions that go under the arms andsupports the patient. Some people use these types of pillows to watch TV inbed, etc.
Dressings: Dr. Chamberlain does not use standard bulkydressings with facelifts. It has been found that most patients actually dobetter without any dressing. Patients are more comfortable without dressingsand family members also have less anxiety without large dressings. Dr.Chamberlain will put a small gauze wrap that looks like a turtle neck on andthis will be removed the next day.
For the first week, put an antibiotic ointment(polysporin) around the ear incisions. This will keep the incisions moist andavoid scabs from forming. Make sure you are cleaning behind the ears and haveyour caregiver look behind your ear to double check. We don’t want youscrubbing with a wash cloth, but you can use hydrogen peroxide to break up thescabs or build-up back there and reapply the antibiotic ointment.
You may shower after 48 hours, gently washing thehair with a mild shampoo. Use a good conditioner to rid the hair of tangles. Also you may see some hair come out during the shower.This is not hair loss, but rather hairs that were cut during the surgery.Brushing and blow-drying the hair is allowed if preformed carefully. The blowdryer should be set on low heat. Remember that the scalp and face may be numbin certain areas and in this unprotected state could be inadvertently burned.Staples are also frequently used in the hairline behind the ear, so be carefulnot to catch them when combing. Hair coloring and permanents should be avoideduntil three weeks from the time the sutures are removed.
How I look and feel: Patients that undergofacelift surgery (especially when performed with multiple other procedures) arelikely to swell and bruise. Sometimes this swelling can be significant forseveral days. Most people need someone to assist them at least the night oftheir surgery, so it is imperative to line up a care giver for several days.Some patients bruise immediately and can have noticeable bruising on the neckand around the mouth or eyes. This can begin as purple and will fade to yellowand disappear. The sides of the neck also frequently swell immediately aftersurgery and may look distorted. This will resolve without problem in severaldays. For the first week after faceliftsurgery your face and neck will feel very tight and this is normal. It may alsobe difficult to open your mouth for the first several days. Do not force headturning or mouth opening or it could tear stitches. Avoid any extreme movementsof the face, neck and mouth. Numbness is very common with most faceliftprocedures and will resolve naturally over the upcoming weeks. Permanentnumbness is very rare.
Postoperative Office Visits: Schedule your first postoperative visit for 24 hours, the secondvisit for 7 days after your operation. Your next visit will be a week later,when the rest of your stitches and /or staples will be taken out. Dr.Chamberlain will then want to see you again two to three weeks later, then asneeded. You may want to bring a scarf or hat to the first post op visit as youwill be having a bad hair day! We often get asked when can I color my hair,this can be done 6 weeks after surgery but please confirm this with Dr.Chamberlain to ensure all is healing properly.
Driving: Thisshould not be resumed until it is comfortable to move the head about withoutany restrictions from pain or swelling.
Exercising:During the first postoperative week, activity should be kept to aminimum only what is necessary to take care of oneself. There should be nostrenuous activity this first week as this may increase facial swelling and compromisethe final result. Over the following two weeks exercise may be graduallyincreased. Walking is a superb way of getting exercise and not jeopardizing theoperation. You should absolutely not perform exercises that require severeturning of the head such as golf, rowing and aerobics for at least 4 weeksafter your surgery. These extreme stretching movements can tear the suturesthat are supporting the lift. After 4-6 weeks, the areas are fully healed andnormal activity can be resumed. Judgment, however, must be used. Not allpatients heal alike.
Scars: Faceliftscars generally heal in an excellent manner but they look worse before theylook better. In other words your scars will go through multiple stages ofhealing and at time look better or worse. We take big steps to place the scarsin the most hidden areas and spend a lot of time using plastic closuretechniques to insure the best scars. Most of the time they heal adequately bythemselves but occasionally Dr. Chamberlain will perform minor revision orlaser of the scars to improve their appearance.
If any part of the convalescence is confusing, pleasecall the office at 902- 576-5253.