Read Up on the Facelift Recovery Period Before Having Surgery

The thought of getting a facelift can be exciting at first, but as the surgery date gets close, you may experience feelings of uncertainty, which is a perfectly natural reaction. For many patients, the apprehension is more about the recovery process than the procedure itself. They want to know what to expect during facelift recovery and how long it will be before they can present their new look to friends, family, and co-workers.

At Northeastern Plastic Surgery, we want all of our patients to feel as calm and relaxed as possible before heading into surgery, so here’s a brief explanation of what you can expect during the facelift recovery period.


The initial days following surgery, you’ll likely still feel a bit groggy or nauseated due to the effects of anesthesia, but it will eventually wear off. You’ll mostly relax and nap as your body begins to heal itself. While strenuous exercise should be avoided, plan to get up and walk for 5 to 10 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. This will improve circulation and speed up your recovery time. Just be sure not to overdo it. Cigarettes and nicotine should definitely be avoided during these first few days and for the duration of your recovery.

You can expect some swelling and bruising on parts of your face. The degree of bruising and swelling depends on the individual and can be reduced by using lightweight icepacks and sleeping with your head elevated above your heart. Dr. Fodero will prescribe pain medication to help manage whatever discomfort you may feel after your facelift.


This is the part of recovery where you may start to feel like yourself a bit more. Light activity is fine, but again, don’t overdo it. You’ll also start to regain your appetite around this time. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of protein, fruits, and vegetables will give your body the fuel it needs to recover. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

During this second phase of facelift recovery, you may see some increased bruising and swelling on one or both sides of your face and neck, around your eyes, and behind your ears. However, you can expect this to start to subside late in the second week and into the third week. Some patients report some tingling or burning sensations around their incisions, but that’s perfectly normal and will dissipate within a few days.


You’ll look and feel much better 3 weeks after your facelift. You’ll be able to return to work, hobbies, and exercise, as long as they aren’t too strenuous or pose a risk of injury. As your incisions continue to heal, they may appear pink or light red. This is temporary, and Dr. Fodero will discuss ways to reduce the signs of scarring. Avoiding sunlight and taking special care of your skin after surgery is a big part of scar reduction as well. Too much sunlight can cause scars to darken permanently.


If facelift recovery is defined as the amount of time it takes you to get back to normal activities, then, you can expect to be recovered in 3 to 4 weeks. However, it can take a full year for all residual swelling, bruising, and changes in skin sensation to resolve. Of course, you’ll be having regular post-operative appointments with Dr. Fodero to ensure you’re healing as expected.


The timeline above gives you a general idea facelift recovery time, but the final results depend a lot on your surgeon as well as your genetics and overall health. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have and ways you can prepare yourself for surgery. Above all else, take the time to recover fully, keep a positive attitude about the process, and follow your doctor’s instructions.

Northeastern Plastic Surgery understands your desire for a beautiful, youthful looking body and glowing, healthy skin. We use the latest plastic surgery techniques to perform a variety of surgical procedures. Dr. Fodero and the staff are very friendly, helpful, and available to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.

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