Face Lift Preparation and Recovery
After you have scheduled your face lift surgery, please follow these guidelines. Please note: these are only general guidelines. Your surgeon knows your medical history and will tailor your surgical plan to meet your individual health needs. Always follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully and call him or her if you have any questions or run into any problems before or after your surgery.
2-3 Weeks Before Your Surgery
- Do NOT take aspirin or any anti-inflammatory drugs/NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin or Alleve. These medications are blood thinners and can cause complications during and after surgery. Please make sure you have informed your surgeon of every medication and supplement you have ingested within the last few months. For a complete list of medications and supplements to avoid before and after surgery, read the pre/post operative instructions given to you by your surgeon.
- If you are taking anti-depressants, please tell your surgeon because he or she will need to adjust your anesthesia level accordingly. To avoid complications during surgery, it is very important that you tell your doctor about any anti-depressants that you are currently taking or have recently taken. For a complete list of medications and supplements to avoid before and after surgery, read the pre/post operative instructions given to you by your surgeon.
- Please disclose ALL vitamins, supplements and herbs that you have ingested within the last few months to your surgeon. This includes diet pills and fat loss supplements. Vitamins, supplements and herbs can be very dangerous during and after surgery and should be avoided at least 3 weeks before and after surgery. In particular, DO NOT take Vitamin E, St. John’s Wort, Ginseng, Ma Huang (aka Ephedra), or Echinacea at least 3 weeks before surgery. For a complete list of medications and supplements to avoid before and after surgery, read the pre/post operative instructions given to you by your surgeon.
- If you smoke, stop smoking at least 2 weeks before your surgery. It is preferable that you stop smoking at least 2 months before your scheduled surgery. Do not smoke during your recovery as that could delay the healing process.
- Any prescription drugs that you will need after your surgery should be filled during this 2-3 week period before your surgery.
- If you color your hair, do it during this time period.
- Prepare your home for your recovery. A few tips: Have your house already cleaned; have oversized, clean clothes that open in the front readily available; trash should be taken out; ice packs available; healthy foods pre-prepared and frozen (you may be on a liquid diet following surgery); pillows available; books on tape; cell phone charged, and important phone numbers and medications easily available. Consider making arrangements for your parents or in-laws to watch your children or pets during your recovery if possible. The most important thing is for you to relax.
The Day Before Your Surgery
- Make arrangements for a relative or friend to drive you home from the surgical center after your surgery. Make sure your escort (friend or relative) has the address of the doctor’s office, correct directions and information about parking if needed. Tell your escort that BeverlyHillsPhysicians.com will have an extra copy of your Post-Operative Instructions for him/her to pick up and read.
- Make arrangements for your escort to stay with you for 24-72 hours after your surgery.
- The day before your surgery, DO NOT eat or drink anything after midnight. If your surgery is in the afternoon, ask your surgeon what or when you may eat before your surgery.
- Do NOT take medications without specific instructions from your doctor.
- If you wish to wash your hair, do it the night before your surgery. Wash it with antibacterial shampoo.
The Day of Your Surgery:
DO NOT take medications without specific instructions from your doctor.
DO NOT wear tight fitting undergarments, pantyhose or girdles, to surgery.
DO NOT bring jewelry or valuables to surgery.
DO NOT wear make-up or perfume the day of surgery.
DO NOT bring contact lenses.
DO NOT plan to drive yourself home, or travel home without an escort after you leave the surgical center.
DO NOT plan to spend the night alone when returning home.
DO re-read the Patient Information Package provided.
DO shower and wash your face and neck with anti-bacterial soap or other instructional soap the morning of your surgery. Do not apply any moisturizers, deodorant, talcum powder or other products afterwards. Do not use hairspray or perfume.
DO wear clean, loose fitting clothes that open in the front and can be easily slipped back on when it’s time to leave. Sweat pants and oversized shirts are ideal. Wear slip on shoes as well.
DO call us if you develop a cold, sore throat, fever or other illness before surgery.
DO brush your teeth but do not swallow any water if your surgery is in the morning.
DO bring your glasses since you won’t be able to wear contact lenses.
DO bring all medications prescribed.
DO have an adult take you home and spend the night with you after you return home.
DO fill out the Personal Information Sheet provided.
Make sure you have your post-operative instructions.
Immediately After Surgery—Your recovery
Please note: These are general recovery guidelines and will vary depending upon the extent of the face lift surgery performed and your medical history. Always follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully and call him or her if you have any questions or run into any problems before or after your surgery.
For planning purposes, give yourself 10 days to 2 weeks of rest for your recovery. You should be able to return to work after this time period. You should be able to go home several hours after your face lift surgery.
Do not take aspirin or any anti-inflammatory drugs/NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin or Alleve during your recovery. These medications are blood thinners and can cause complications after surgery. In addition, do not take any vitamins, supplements or herbal supplements during your recovery, unless your surgeon instructs you to do so. Do not smoke during your recovery.
MEDICATIONS: Take the antibiotics and pain medication your surgeon prescribed according to the pharmacy instructions. Don’t take pain medication on an empty stomach, as it may cause nausea and vomiting. You do not have to take the pain medicine if you are not in pain, but you must take all of your antibiotics.
Immediately after surgery, your face will be bruised and swollen. Most people experience moderate discomfort that is easily controlled with pain medication. There may be some numbness and tightness for several weeks. You may be instructed to apply cold compresses to your face. Swelling and bruising will subside in 1-2 weeks. You should start to see results in 4-6 weeks. It can take up to 4 months to see final results.
Keep head elevated during your recovery. Sleep on your back with your head elevated for at least 3 weeks.
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on showering/bathing, brushing your teeth and when you can start wearing make up again. Do not wash your face until your surgeon instructs you to do so.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU HAVE: A) severe pain not responding to pain medication; B) infection or high fever; C) repeated vomiting or unusual bleeding from the incision; D) swelling of the lips or throat. However, Don’t Take Any Chances! Call immediately if you have any questions or concerns about your recovery. During office hours, or after hours, call 1(800)788-1416.
Do not blow dry or wear earings until your surgeon tells you it’s o.k..
Use sun block when you go outside for at least 6 months.
There will be some scarring that will eventually fade to white lines. Keep in mind that scars will be hardly noticeable because they will be hidden within hairlines, behind the ears and in other normal skin creases.
Activity restrictions: Getting up and walking several times a day is encouraged to improve circulation and reduce the chance of blood clots. You will probably be up and about in 3-5 days. Bending, lifting and straining are to be avoided. Avoid strenuous activity, including exercise and sex, for 3 weeks and DO NOT carry anything heavy (over 5 pounds) such as weights, bags or packages for 3 weeks. Avoid alcohol, steam rooms, and saunas for several months. Your surgeon will monitor your recovery and will let you know when you can resume your usual physical activities.
Driving: You should not drive until your vision has returned to normal and should NEVER drive while taking pain medications. Please note: speak to your surgeon about when it is safe for you to start driving again because he or she knows your medical history.
POST-OPERATIVE APPOINTMENTS: Make sure you keep all post-operative appointments. It is very important that your surgeon is able to see you and monitor your recovery.