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October 14, 2015

Facelift Recovery: How to make it more comfortable.

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So you decided to have a facelift? For some people, the decision to have cosmetic surgery is an easy one.  For others it may involve much more personal reflection, but in either case, there are a number of things that you can do before the surgery to make your recovery go smoother.

If you have decided on a mini or lower facelift with necklift, you should know that the procedure may cause some bruising, swelling and mild discomfort.  Unlike some cosmetic procedures, your recovery period will usually be fairly short.  You will likely be able to return to light activities within a few days, but you should plan on “taking it easy” and clearing your calendar for at least 10 to 14 days.  Most people wish to remain at home during this period and some pre-planning can make the recovery period easier.  Some of our patients have even said they even enjoy the downtime!

Prepare your home

  • When you come back from your surgery, you will want to return to a clean home with fresh linens and comfortable clothing.
  • Making sure that the house gets cleaned, the laundry is done, and the recyclables are taken out will help minimize your stress.
  • Also try to identify things that you normally keep on lower or higher shelving that should be moved to waist height so that you can avoid bending or stretching.

Prepare your bedside

  • During the first day or two, you may wish to remain in bed or in a comfortable chair.
  • You should make sure that you have bottled water and crackers within reach.
  • This is a great time to catch up on television shows or watch movies, so replace the batteries in remote controls and make sure your phone or mobile devices are ready for use.
  • Good lighting is a must so change the lightbulbs in the lamps as well.

Go shopping

  • When you come home, you may need some items that you don’t think of at most times.  Make a shopping list so you don’t forget anything.
  • You will want frozen peas or corn along with zip lock bags to use as cold packs, a child-sized toothbrush, a heating pad in case your back gets sore from lying down, crackers for mild nausea, straws to make drinking liquids easier, bottled water and soft foods like Jello, pudding and breakfast drinks – and don’t leave out the DVDs that you may want to purchase.

Arrange for children and pets

  • If you have children, you may need to consider having them watched by grandparents or other relatives, particularly if they are young.
  • Arranging for someone to care for your pets may also be advisable.  If you don’t think this is necessary, at least arrange for a neighbor or close friend to check in with you a few times throughout the day.

Tend to your personal needs

  • Arrange to have your prescriptions and other medications you need filled and picked up before your procedure.
  • Make sure that you have loose-necked or button up tops and pajama bottoms ready to wear.
  • If you have long hair, get some hair ties to secure it comfortably out of your way.
  • You have already taken care of the movies, remote and have the mobile devices ready to use but consider preloading a book or two – or getting “real” books if you prefer to occupy some of your downtime.

The night before surgery, take some quiet “me” time to help you relax.  When you return home after your surgery, avoiding anxiety and stress by relaxing can help speed your recovery.  Even if it seems to be taking a long time, any swelling and bruising will subside and you will look and feel great in the end.

Min S Ahn, MD FACS and the staff at the Aesthetic Wellness Center want your cosmetic surgery experience and recovery to go as well as possible.  Preparing for surgery before – and after can help speed your recovery and improve your outcome.