Request a Callback

* Indicates a required field

Facelift Recovery: Tips and Best Practices

Facelift surgery, or rhytidectomy, is a procedure that aims to give the face a more youthful appearance. If you're contemplating this transformative step, or have recently undergone the procedure, it’s important to understand the journey ahead. The period following your surgery is pivotal to the results, and this is where knowledge about facelift recovery becomes indispensable.

In this guide, we'll share essential facelift recovery tips and best practices to aid you through the first few weeks post-operation.

Understanding facelift recovery

Embarking on the path to rejuvenation through facelift surgery comes with a set of responsibilities, particularly during the recovery phase. After surgery, your body enters a healing process that requires careful management and patience. The recovery timeline can vary from person to person, but there are common experiences during the initial weeks.

In the first few days, it's normal to encounter bruising and swelling. Your surgeon will likely schedule follow-up visits to monitor your progress and ensure that the recovery is on track. Adhering strictly to the aftercare instructions provided by your surgeon is critical.

As the days unfold, you'll notice gradual improvements. However, it's important to keep in mind that the recovery process does not always happen quickly. Taking it easy and allowing your body the time it needs to heal is essential. In these first few weeks, your job is to rest, recover, and stay in tune with your body's healing signals.

Immediate post-operative care

The immediate hours and days following your facelift surgery are crucial for setting the stage for a smooth recovery. As you awaken from anaesthesia, you'll be in a recovery area where medical staff will monitor your vital signs and comfort levels. It's common to feel groggy and there may be bandages around your face. These initial measures help to control swelling and shape the contour of your face post-procedure.

Your surgeon will provide you with specific instructions on how to care for your surgical sites, which may include applying ointment and taking prescribed medications to aid in pain management and reduce the risk of infection. It's paramount to follow these instructions meticulously to prevent any negligent outcomes from cosmetic surgery. If drains have been placed, you'll be shown how to care for them, and you'll also receive guidance on the optimal position in which to rest in order to facilitate drainage and reduce swelling.

The first 24 to 48 hours after surgery will require you to take it particularly easy. Activities should be limited to essential tasks only, with a focus on rest. You should have someone available to assist you, as your mobility and vision may be temporarily impaired. Hydration is key, as is a light, healthy diet to support the initial stages of the recovery process.

During this recovery period, it's important to avoid any strenuous activities that could elevate blood pressure and lead to bleeding at the surgical sites. Keeping your head elevated, even while sleeping, will help reduce swelling. Remember, taking every step with care during these first few days will contribute to a more favourable and swift healing process.

Tips for the first few weeks after facelift surgery

The initial two weeks just after facelift surgery are a critical period in which your actions can significantly impact the healing process. Here are some key tips to aid your recovery:

  1. Rest and recuperation: prioritise rest above all else. Your body needs energy to heal, so don't rush back into your usual routine. Short, gentle walks can be beneficial to promote blood circulation, but avoid any strenuous exercise.

  2. Managing swelling and bruising: swelling and bruising are most pronounced in the first week and will gradually subside. To minimise the formation of bruises or swelling, keep your head elevated, even while sleeping, and consider using cold compresses as advised by your surgeon.

  3. Incision care: keep the incision areas clean and dry. If you've been given specific cleaning instructions or topical treatments, use them as directed to prevent infection and support the healing of incisions.

  4. Medication adherence: take all prescribed medications, including antibiotics and pain relief, according to your surgeon's instructions. Do not take any over-the-counter products without your surgeon's approval, as some may increase bleeding.

  5. Nutrition: maintain a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals to support healing. Focus on eating plenty of protein, which is essential for tissue repair, and stay hydrated by drinking water and avoiding alcohol.

  6. Avoid certain activities: refrain from smoking, as it can impede the healing process. Also, avoid exposing your face to direct sunlight and, when necessary, use a high-SPF sunscreen to protect your skin.

  7. Follow-up appointments: attend all scheduled post-operative appointments. These are essential to ensure your recovery is progressing well and to address any concerns promptly.

  8. Be patient with results: the final results of your facelift may not be immediately apparent due to swelling. It's important to have realistic expectations and understand that it can take several weeks, or even months, for the outcome to fully materialise.

Navigating the healing process

Here's how you can navigate through the healing process following your surgical procedure:

  1. Be patient: understand that recovery doesn't happen overnight. Your body is working hard to heal, and this takes time. Remind yourself that short-term inconvenience for long-term benefits is a worthwhile exchange.

  2. Set realistic expectations: it is important to understand that healing is a gradual process. Bruising and swelling will decrease day by day, and you will start to see the fruits of your patience as each week passes.

  3. Stay connected: keep in regular contact with your surgeon. They are your primary supporter and guide through the healing process. Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

  4. Seek support: talk about your feelings with friends, family, or support groups. Sharing your experience can be therapeutic and provide comfort during this transformative time.

  5. Stay positive: a positive mindset can significantly impact your recovery. Engage in activities that uplift your spirits, such as listening to music, reading, or meditating.

  6. Monitor your progress: take photos at regular intervals to document your recovery. This can provide a visual confirmation of the improvements and help you appreciate the changes.

Signs of possible negligence following facelift surgery

While complications can arise naturally during any surgical healing process, it’s important to distinguish between normal post-operative symptoms and those that may indicate negligent cosmetic surgery. Understanding what to look for can ensure you seek timely medical attention should any concerns arise. Here are some common signs that your healing process may not be progressing as it should:

  1. Excessive pain: while some discomfort is normal, severe or escalating pain may be a red flag. Pain that worsens over time or is not relieved by prescribed medication should be addressed immediately.

  2. Unusual swelling or redness: some swelling is expected, but if it is excessive, spreads over time, or is accompanied by warmth and redness, this could signal an infection or other issues.

  3. Prolonged bruising: bruising should gradually fade. If it persists beyond the expected time frame or gets worse, it may be cause for concern.

  4. Drainage from incisions: while some drainage is typical, persistent or foul-smelling drainage can indicate an infection.

  5. Fever: a fever can be a sign of infection, especially if it's high or persistent.

  6. Unexpected scarring: while all surgery leaves some scars, excessive or keloid scarring may occur if the incisions haven't been made or closed properly.

  7. Numbness or tingling: some numbness is common, but if it continues for an extended period or is accompanied by tingling or loss of sensation, it may suggest nerve damage.

  8. Asymmetry or deformities: some asymmetry is normal due to swelling, but significant or increasing asymmetry could be due to surgical error.

  9. Inappropriately placed scarring: scarring is expected, but if the surgery has left you with scars in inappropriate places, this may be due to negligence.

  10. Pixie ear deformity: an unusual 'pulling' of the earlobe towards the cheek, often resulting from excessive tension during facial procedures.

  11. Excessive tension/skin necrosis: tightness around the incision site that doesn't subside can compromise blood flow and lead to skin death.

  12. Nerve injury: loss of movement or sensation in the surgical area, or unexpected pain, could indicate nerve damage.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential to contact your surgeon immediately. They can assess whether these symptoms are part of the normal healing process or if they might be signs of negligent cosmetic surgery. In some cases, prompt medical action can correct these issues and prevent long-term consequences.

Contact us

If you have experienced problems following a facelift and think they are the result of negligence, talk to our expert cosmetic surgery negligence team today. Call 0808 256 1273 or request a callback by completing the contact form.

  • Share



Mike Saul


Michael Saul is a partner at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, where he brings his extensive specialist legal expertise and passion for helping people to the forefront of his work. With a proven track record of success in cosmetic surgery negligence cases, Michael has dedicated his career to providing clients with the highest level of representation and achieving favourable outcomes.

View Profile
Contact Us