Face and Neck Lift: Tips for Best Recovery

 “Small changes over time definitely add up to big changes in the mirror” : a guide to making your outside appearance match the age that you feel on the inside.

It can be extremely frustrating to watch your face and neck change with age, especially between your 40s and 60s. FYI, if this is you and you are frustrated, you are not alone. Most wake up one day and realize that all those small changes which have accumulated over time have added up to a big change in the mirror. It is a right of passage as we age. And when this day comes, many of us are left feeling that our outside appearance does not match the age that they feel like on the inside.  But there are answers.  A healthy lifestyle helps.  One that limits drinking and sun exposure, embraces exercise and proper nutrition and avoids smoking.  But even with a strict adherence to all things healthy, you are kind of at the whims of your genetics.  If all your relatives developed a neck waddle as they got older, you probably will too.  So should we just throw in the towel when our face and neck succumbs to what our DNA has planned for us?  The answer is a definitive NO!  We have options and most revolve around one of two surgeries, a Face or Necklift.  Done naturally and expertly, it can be transformative and life changing. Consider an analogy I used in a previous blog post from 2016: imagine clearing away the brush and downed trees on a mountain meadow to reveal all its beauty. The meadow has always been there; you just needed to clean up the effects of time in this beautiful spot in the world.  For those of you who are frustrated with how your face and neck looks as you have gotten older, these surgeries do not change the good parts, they just clean up the parts that weigh you down.  So in the end, you look like you, just rejuvenated and naturally transformed.  

Most are surprised to learn that recovery from Face and Necklift surgery is easier than what they imagined.  Pain is rarely a problem.  Don’t get me wrong, it can be uncomfortable but any pain after this surgery is easily managed with pain medications, muscle relaxants and compressive surgical garments.  Although your return to physical activities will not be as quick as other surgeries, there is not much limitation to normal daily activities besides an increased awareness of your movements and also a need to keep your head and neck elevated after surgery, even when you sleep. Swelling and bruising is the biggest issue and that is easily reduced with a good post surgery maintenance plan. 

Although recovery times can vary with a Face and Neck Lift surgery, in general it will take you:

  • 1 week to get back on your feet and return to normal daily activities
  • 1-2 weeks to return to return to public activities
  • 4-6 weeks to return to your normal workout schedule 

There are many tricks to help you feel more comfortable during recovery.  The use of local anesthesia during surgery really does help with comfort immediately after surgery.  Intermittent icing is sometimes helpful if ok’d by your surgeon.  Next we rely on pain medications, muscle relaxants and compression garments in the first week after surgery to minimize any discomfort and pain.  After 1 week, pain medication is usually not necessary and non narcotics like Tylenol and Ibuprofen can be used instead.  Also, if surgical drains were placed, they are usually removed within the first couple of days after surgery. Usually by 2 weeks, all medications can be discontinued.  The length of use of the supportive garment will vary and just depends on how it makes you feel.  Most like the support and use it for at least the first week of recovery.

After 1 month, you should be at your baseline but in many cases, getting back into your full exercise routine may take a little longer.  Exercise can cause swelling which can be uncomfortable, especially in the first 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.  It is best to ease back into this routine slowly and temporarily change up some of the exercises if necessary.

If your recovery seems slow, treatments like lymphatic massage and LED light therapy can really make a difference.  These are especially helpful after the first 4 weeks following your surgery.  Also, avoiding alcohol and smoking during recovery will be absolutely necessary as these two things will extend your recovery time.

Although there will always be some tough times during any surgical recovery, Face and Necklift surgery recovery is easily managed.  Be confident with your choice and embrace your results.  This surgery is amazingly transformative and you can look like a rejuvenated and rested version of your current self.  As there is usually only a week of discomfort, it will be absolutely worth the short period of downtime.