Getting Sleep After Facial Plastic Surgery

If you’re scheduled for facial plastic surgery, congratulations on taking this step to help you look as young as you feel. Plastic surgery is the gold standard for a facial transformation; it smooths away wrinkles, fine lines, brow furrows, and sagging cheeks. As with any surgical procedure, post-operative care is extremely important in minimizing complications and maximizing desired results.

You have an important part to play in the success of your facial plastic surgery. Following post-op guidelines is critical to the success of the operation.

Sleeping position post-surgery

Sleep is important — especially after surgery. Sleep actually helps heal wounds; during sleep, your cells are in repair mode.

Sleeping after facial plastic surgery involves special procedures to protect the delicate skin tissue disturbed by the operation.

Head above heart

Your head must be elevated above your heart at all times for the first few weeks after facial plastic surgery. You can accomplish this in a number of ways. First, you can put a wedge under your mattress to elevate it. Along with a large pillow, you’re in the correct sleep position. If the wedge doesn’t work for you, try using two or three pillows to elevate your head. You can also use a U-shaped travel pillow along with your regular pillow.

Another alternative is sleeping in a comfortable recliner. You may already snooze now and then in your recliner, so this transition may be one of your best options.  

Sleep on your back

If you’re already a back sleeper, you’re a step ahead. If you’re a side sleeper or sleep on your stomach, it’s important to realize before the operation that you need to adjust your sleeping position after the surgery. Why is this necessary? You have stitches under the skin on your face. Facial skin is delicate, and after surgery, it’s even moreso.

If you do roll onto your face at night, the friction from this movement can aggravate your healing tissue. This can cause added swelling, possible bleeding and damage to the sutures. If you are a side sleeper, you may find that one side of your face will be more swollen than the other. This is because when you sleep on one side versus the other, the fluid pools on that side, causing you to be more swollen. Your plastic surgeon has taken great care to give you the best results.

Below are some ways to help you achieve these results.

How to prevent rolling from side to side post-op

If you don’t usually sleep on your back, start practicing the new position about a month before your procedure. You may find it strange and even discomfiting at first, but as you continue practicing, your body adjusts. You may find that this becomes your permanent sleep position. Sleeping on your back avoids your face being crushed into your pillow, which can leave you with lines in your face when you wake up.

In addition to a wedge or extra pillows under your head, try placing extra pillows or backrests on both sides of your head to stop you from rolling to the side. If this doesn’t work, a back-sleeper pillow with a hollow center that keeps your head in one place is a good option; look online for these special pillows.

You can place a sloped knee-lift pillow under both legs at night to prevent turning over. Extra pillows around your body may also help.

Call or book an appointment online with board-certified Dr. Joseph Fodero at Northeastern Plastic Surgery for expert care during your face and body transformation.  

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