What to expect after a facelift?

In most cases, patients are admitted to hospital overnight for rest and elevation. The face and neck are wrapped in a firm compressive dressing, which is removed the morning after surgery together with any drains.

Pain from the surgery is usually minimal. Strong pain killers are not usually needed after discharge from hospital. Fluid may continue to accumulate under the skin for a few days and can usually be “milked” out through the suture line with gentle massage. Patients are advised to continue to rest and elevate their head for the first two weeks. A compressive garment is worn for this period of time. 

Dr Hanikeri recommends taking a minimum of four weeks off work after the operation depending on the physical demands of their job. This will also depend on if they want to keep a low-profile post-surgery.

Typically, most of the swelling and bruising is resolved by the end of the first two weeks after surgery. However, there may be persistent tell-tale signs that are obvious for up to 6 weeks. Light activities, including driving and light exercise can safely commence by the end of the first two weeks. Patients can usually return to normal activities and exercise within four to six weeks depending on the extent of surgery required, their general condition and their post-operative course.

Scars are not completely predictable, however most are barely visible in the long term.  They may appear pink and slightly thickened for a few weeks to months after the surgery. They will usually fade to be pale and soft by around three to six months. Their final appearance may take up to eighteen months to achieve. Patients may experience numbness in the facial area, which may be present for several months in some cases.

What are the risks of a facelift surgery?

All surgical procedures carry some risks. The potential risks are discussed at the initial consultation and will be outlined via your secure patient portal (TouchMD). Some risks may include:

All surgical procedure carries some risk. Potential complications may include haematoma (an accumulation of blood under the skin that may require removal), infection, and reactions to anaesthesia.

Injury to underlying structures including the nerves that move the muscles of the face or provide feeling to the ear is rare but possible, though usually temporary.

Facelift incisions are usually inconspicuous but are not predictable due to individual variations in healing. Patient must temporarily avoid exposure to direct sunlight and, for the long-term, be conscientious about the use of a sunblock to protect their skin.