Postoperative Facelift and Necklift Phase One Month

Postoperative instructions are given to emphasize protection of the face while the patients heal for the first month after the surgery. Avoid hitting, contact sports, rubbing and bumping the face, which might necessitate additional surgery. With respect to cleaning the face, patients are able to use soap and water within two days after the surgery after the drains are removed. It is acceptable to get the incisions wet with normal soap and water, even while the stitches are in place. All crusts can be cleaned off with normal saline. It is important not to pick at the incisions (other than some crusting), as this could open up the incision and possibly necessitate additional sutures to be placed if the incision were to pull open. In the postoperative phase, in order to minimize swelling, most patients are instructed to keep their head elevated above their heart on extra pillows. This is only a suggestion and not imperative, to help bring the swelling down faster. It is important to not do any heavy lifting or exercise, or anything else to raise the heart rate or blood pressure, for at least the first two weeks after the surgery. Dr. Portuese does not want patients to use any ice, gauze pads, frozen peas or cold compresses around the face because of numbness in the initial first couple of weeks. Women also need to be very careful with blow dryers and to use only a low heat setting on the blow dryer or curlers within the first month after the surgery.


Patients are given a narcotic prescription for pain relief, but most patients typically take only a few pills for their entire postoperative course. The facelift surgery and neck lift surgery is uncomfortable but not truly painful. The neck muscles tend to be stiff and sore for the first few days. Dr. Portuese does not wish for patients to take any ibuprofen or aspirin for the first two weeks in the postoperative phase. Extra-Strength Tylenol is acceptable to take instead of narcotic pain pills.


  • Swelling: Patients can expect swelling of the face to last for approximately two to three weeks after their surgery. Any emergent swelling in the first 24 hours after the surgery that even the drains cannot keep up with, will need to be addressed in the office the night after the surgery. A majority of normal postoperative swelling, edema and bruising usually subsides at about two weeks after the facial plastic surgery. When the drains are used there is usually very minimal bruising. This is because the blood, which causes the bruising, is now removed through the drains. There is swelling present that takes approximately two weeks to go away, But there is still an additional 10% of swelling that will need a month to two to go away. The incisions take two to three months to settle down but are hidden within the hairline and natural creases.
  • Bruising: Some bruising usually occurs in the face and neck, but since drains are being used to remove the blood that causes bruising, there is very minimal bruising.

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