What the Downtime for a Facelift Really Looks Like

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This article first appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of NewBeauty. Click here to subscribe.

From anesthesia options and suturing techniques to overall results, pretty much every facet of the facelift has been enhanced over the years. Still, we can think of few things more nerve-wracking than awakening from a face-altering surgery. Doctors assure us, however, that the aftermath is more manageable than we might imagine.

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“I do the majority of facelifts in the accredited surgical suite in my office, and most patients leave with their private-duty nurse two hours after the procedure. Newer anesthesia techniques make it possible for them to wake up feeling good and walk right to the recovery room. The time it takes to get back to work and one’s social life usually isn’t very long. Many people look good a week or 10 days later—I’ve had people back on camera within two weeks.” —New York plastic surgeon Sherrell Aston, MD

“Patients generally have a dressing around their head for anywhere from two to five days, depending on the extent of the procedure and the surgeon’s preference. I tell patients I don’t want them exercising, having sex or getting sun exposure for three weeks after surgery.” —La Jolla, CA plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD

“It’s not uncommon for bruising and swelling to last several weeks. You want to stay well-hydrated, minimize salty foods and sleep on your back with your head elevated on two pillows. Stitches come out about a week after surgery. After two weeks, most people look and feel good enough to dine out, and by four to six weeks, they’re comfortable going to big events. Final results—complete healing and scar maturation—typically take a full year.” —New York plastic surgeon Lara Devgan, MD