Recovery time is always an issue when people consider cosmetic surgery. Unlike more urgent procedures, these surgeries are often not excused or granted special consideration by employers. Instead, cosmetic surgery patients have to fit their procedures into long weekends or use up personal days.
With a facelift, it might appear that there is less concern about recovery time. This work does not directly affect areas concerning the arms and legs which would get stressed in even a sedentary job. However, you only have to ask someone who has had a facelift to talk about the discomfort that they can feel. Remember that your face moves as you exert yourself and this will obviously cause pain.
Most people are concerned about recovery time because they want to return to work. Others are wondering about when they can put make up on and so forth. Since everyone has a different lifestyle, there are really two levels of concern. When will the pain subside so that you can at least do light duty work and when will recovery progress so far that the surgery is just a memory?
First Stage – Getting Past the Pain
When you leave surgery after a facelift you will have dressings placed along the lines of the incision to deal with wound drainage. These incisions will be held shut with sutures. You will have to keep your head elevated to minimize swelling. Bruises will be prominent and your face will appear swollen for two or three days. Discomfort will be noticeable but not severe. Medication should make any pain manageable.
A day or two later, the dressings can come off. However, the sutures will remain in the incisions for five to 10 days. After this, you can start to use make-up, bathe normally and do a variety of tasks.
If you work at home at the computer or have a very sedentary job and are not concerned about people seeing the obvious aftermath of plastic surgery, you could reasonably do some work after a couple days. If you prefer to wait for the signs to subside a bit more, you will probably want a week for everything to heal enough.
Second Stage – Full Recovery
To completely get over the facelift, it is going to take two or three weeks. Muscle stiffness will probably come and go for a while longer. However, the majority of people are back to normal in less than a month.
As far as scars go, it may take a full year for them to fade completely. Since surgeons usually place them in discreet locations, this should be less of a concern. Any scars that show can be covered with makeup once the surgeon gives permission.
Please keep in mind that you should always consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon about any cosmetic facial procedure.