Facelifts are one of the most common types of plastic surgery, and they are safer and more convenient than ever before. Not only do they provide natural enhancements to a person’s facial aesthetics, but they also deliver long-lasting results.

Like most plastic surgery procedures, facelifts come with some minor short-term side effects. Swelling around the treatment site is common, and although it may seem like an unsavory thing to deal with, there are ways to reduce the severity, better understand what to expect, and know how long it lasts. 

What Causes Swelling After a Facelift?

Swelling and inflammation are normal after a facelift, as they are normal after any kind of surgical procedure. Swelling, in any sense, results from fluid accumulation around an injured part of the body, which is part of the body’s natural healing response. As the affected area heals, fluid dissipates, and swelling reduces. In a facelift, this swelling is localized around the treated areas, most frequently around the mouth, chin, or sides of the face.

Swelling Timeline

The extent of a person’s swelling following a facelift will depend on the extent of their procedure, but most people can expect their swelling to last 3-4 weeks. During this time, it is best to avoid strenuous activities and prolonged exposure to sunlight, as it may interfere with the healing process and the final results of the facelift.

While not everyone will experience facelift swelling in the same ways, the swelling timeline often proceeds on a weekly basis. Below is how most people can expect their swelling to progress.

Week 1

Facelift swelling will be most severe during the week immediately following your procedure, but it won’t be completely unmanageable. You will likely be given pain medication to alleviate any discomfort, and proper rest should ensure the treated areas aren’t aggravated. By the time the first week is near its end, you should be able to see the swelling go down and begin to feel more comfortable. 

Week 2

During the second week of facelift recovery, you’ll likely still have some swelling and bruising around the treated areas. This may also result in minor numbness or tightness, but these are common occurrences when healing and should not be cause for alarm. As the second week of facelift recovery comes to a close, you should start to feel like your normal self, and you may feel ready to resume light activities.

Week 3 and 4

As you head into weeks 3 and 4, there may be some minor swelling, but it will have largely dissipated at this point. You will be able to see the true results of your facelift and feel much less affected by any discomfort brought on by the procedure. You’ll also be able to return to most of your daily activities, including exercise and most work duties. You may still notice minimal swelling around the incision sites, but most people won’t be able to notice any outward signs that you’ve had a procedure.

Tips to Reduce Facelift Swelling

While facelift swelling will often decrease without any outward assistance, it is possible to lessen the pain and inflammation that you may experience during recovery. Most facelift swelling can be reduced by home remedies and by following the instructions set by your plastic surgeon for post-operative care. 

If you’re looking for pain relief, or you just want to try and see results a little faster, the following tips can help you accomplish exactly that.

Follow All Post-Op Instructions

When your facelift procedure is complete, your surgeon will provide a series of instructions to follow for a smooth post-operative recovery. These instructions will likely include how to keep treatment sites clean, medications that can be taken to reduce swelling, information about proper hydration, and the importance of avoiding any strenuous activities. As long as you follow these instructions exactly as they’re described, your swelling should reduce at a steady rate. Keep Your Head Elevated

As you recover from your facelift surgery, it’s important to keep your head elevated to keep any excess blood flow away from the treatment areas. Any additional pressure added to the area could prevent swelling from reducing at the normal rate, so it’s best to do things like using several pillows to sleep to keep blood from localizing around any wounds.

Apply a Cool Compress

One of the most common remedies for general swelling and bruising is a cool compress, and it can assist with facelift swelling as well. A cool compress works by constricting the blood vessels in the applied area, which reduces blood flow and the amount of overall fluid that’s causing any inflammation. As you apply a cool compress, be sure to give your skin a break from the cold every once in a while, so it doesn’t become irritated.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is key when healing from a facelift procedure. When your body doesn’t get enough water, it holds on to any water it already has and redistributes water from other places into areas that need it most. This can create swelling in parts of the body like your joints, but it can also affect any recent wounds and make them swollen for longer. By keeping hydrated, you’re lubricating your body and flushing out any toxins that would hinder the progress of any healing.

Avoid Sun Exposure

Sun exposure can worsen facelift recovery in two ways: through UV ray damage and excess exposure to heat. If you’re trying to lessen the prominence of your facelift swelling, it’s best to stay in a cool, shaded environment so the sun’s rays won’t damage your skin or worsen your swelling in any way. You’ve worked hard to enhance your natural beauty with a facelift, and excess sun exposure could easily undo that hard work if you’re not careful.

Schedule a Consultation with Elite Facial Plastic Surgery

Elite Facial Plastic Surgery is an accredited surgical facility, and its plastic surgeon, Dr. Dominic Castellano, is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist (head and neck) surgeon. He has dedicated his practice to performing cosmetic and reconstructive cosmetic surgeries, and the results–and patient testimonials–show it.

Contact Elite Facial Plastic Surgery today at 813-576-2289 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Dominic.

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