After performing hundreds of face and neck lifts, there are 5 things that I insist all my patients do so that their recovery is the best that it can be. The goal is to avoid any complications and to get the patient back to the real world in about two weeks. The primary issues that slow us down are swelling and bruising. I call this a “boring” recovery—no drama or little obstacles that hinder your recovery progress.
- Particularly in the three days post-operation, it is important not to exert yourself, get your blood pressure up, or do anything that will make your face flush with blood. This means not working, cleaning the house, or lifting and chasing kids. Taking it easy means taking it easy.
- Elevate your head. Water drains downhill. If your head is elevated above your heart, the fluid will go elsewhere and you will experience less swelling.
- Ice reduces swelling by constricting the blood vessels. It should be applied around the clock if possible for the first three days to limit bruising and swelling. Yes, this means using ice while you are sleeping.
- Use a neck pillow. Not moving your neck and face will also reduce swelling and bruising. This horseshoe shaped pillow (commonly seen at airports) is a comfortable way to remind yourself to limit movement of your neck. This really, really works.
- Keep your mouth closed. This helps with the face lift in particular. When you open your mouth wide you pull the tissues of your face down, right after I worked diligently to lift these tissues. You should speak through your lips and avoid apples and big smiles for about two weeks if possible.
So there you have it. If you follow these simple guidelines, it is quite likely that you will heal faster and enjoy a smoother recovery and better result.