Anyone considering a facelift is undoubtedly curious about how long it will be after surgery before they can go back to work or their daily activities. A facelift provides patients with undeniable benefits, helping to reduce wrinkles, sagging skin, and other signs of age. However, all of the benefits of a facelift may not be worth it if it means putting certain routines at risk.
We hope to put those worries to bed, as facelift recovery time is actually quite short. Below we provide a comprehensive timeline of what the recovery process will look like, including when it is usually safe to return to work and what to expect during the different phases of recovery. While everyone recovers from surgery differently, depending on their age, overall health, and the extent of the procedure, most individuals can expect a facelift recovery very similar to the following outlined timeline.
Initial Facelift Recovery Time
Immediately following a facelift, it is of the utmost importance to make sure you do exactly what your plastic surgeon says. Following their precise instructions is crucial directly after surgery, as the first few days of healing are an essential part of the facelift healing process.
The First 48 Hours of Recovery
During the first day or two of facelift recovery time, you will likely feel woozy and sleepy. You will need to lean on your friends or family for support, as they will need to drive you back from your plastic surgeon’s facility and help care for you once you are home. The first two days should be spent resting and recuperating. Many patients find that they have some discomfort during this time period, and pain medication may be needed to manage the discomfort.
Days Three and Four
Most pain and discomfort should be manageable at this point, and you should be able to transition from prescription to over-the-counter pain medication (under the advice of your surgeon). You should continue to rest during the third and fourth day following surgery, only occasionally disrupting your rest for frequent walks to keep your blood moving, prevent blood clots, and jump-start the healing process.
During this period, bruising and swelling will be very visible. While you should expect to still have some bruising and swelling for a few weeks following surgery, you can expect bruising and swelling to start going down in the next few days.
At this juncture, you should still try to keep your shoulders and neck from moving too much, as it may not yet be safe to try to get a full range of motion. You should also avoid any strenuous activity, including lifting any objects that weigh more than 10 pounds. In fact, any type of straining or strenuous activity should be avoided for at least three to four weeks.
The End of the First Week of Recovery
As you reach the end of the first seven days of recovery, you should be able to safely turn your shoulders and neck without any discomfort. You also should be completely off prescription pain medication. Once you are no longer taking painkillers you can resume driving. Swelling should start to go down, allowing you to begin to fully visualize the incredible results of your facelift.
The Second Week of Facelift Recovery Time
Sometime during the second week, most individuals who work desk jobs can expect to return to work. However, if you have a job that requires physical labor and strenuous activity, you will need to wait a bit longer before you can go back to your job.
Days Seven through Ten of Recovery
You should still expect to have some swelling and bruising around the impacted area during days seven through ten of recovery, but your appearance should continue to improve over time. Some individuals may also feel some tightness in their face, a slight tingling sensation, and occasionally some numbness.
Slowly but surely, you will begin to feel like yourself. By the end of ten days, many people are beginning to truly feel like themselves and are ready to return to work.
Back to Work at the End of the Second Week of Recovery
Most patients are able to return to work somewhere between 10 and 14 days after their facelift procedure. At this point, you may still have some swelling, bruising, and scarring that will impact the way you look, but a solid application of makeup should adequately disguise any signs of surgery.
When you return to work is ultimately up to you and your plastic surgeon. Generally, people feel ready somewhere near the end of the second week of recovery, but only you will truly know if you are ready based on how you feel. Do not rush your facelift recovery time, as the more care and attention you put into your recovery, the better your facelift results will look!
When Can I Return to Work If My Job Requires Vigorous Physical Activity?
As stated above, individuals who have a job that requires vigorous physical activity will have to wait a bit longer before they can safely return to their job. In most cases, patients can resume physical activity five to six weeks after getting a facelift. This applies to individuals who want to return to the gym and exercise, but it also is the case for people who work in construction, manufacturing, or any other job that requires them to lift over 10 pounds at any time. This is to avoid any possible recovery complications, including bleeding or poor scar healing.
Learn More About Facelift Recovery Time from Dr. Leo Lapuerta
If you are interested in learning more about the expected facelift recovery time and when you will be able to go back to work after a facelift, schedule a consultation with Dr. Leo Lapuerta. Dr. Lapuerta is an experienced and respected plastic surgeon who has been treating patients in Houston, Pearland, and Katy, Texas, for over two decades.
During a consultation, Dr. Lapuerta will partner with the patient to help them determine their facelift recovery time, as well as answer any questions they may have. To learn more, contact Dr. Lapuerta today by calling (713) 489-0169.