Recovering From a Facelift

For a true, extensive and permanent improvement in the look of your face, a traditional surgical facelift is often the best option. However, as with any surgery, it is not without its downsides. There is recovery time involved, and the benefits are not immediately fully realized. For maximal satisfaction with your procedure, you should be sure to understand the recovery process so you are not surprised.

The initial recovery from a facelift will take 1-2 weeks. Most San Francisco patients plan to be off from work for about 2 weeks. Immediately after surgery, you will experience some discomfort, although this is minimal for most patients and is usually controlled with over the counter medication. For the first few days, swelling will increase, peaking around day 5. To minimize swelling, be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding compresses and keeping your head elevated. After day 5, swelling should decrease fairly quickly.


You should limit your activity for the first 3 weeks, avoiding exercise or heavy lifting. If your job requires a lot of activity, you may want to build in extra time off. Too much physical activity can cause trauma to healing tissues, delaying full recovery and possibly changing the way your face heals. Bruising is common and typically is concentrated on the lower face. As with swelling, compresses and keeping your head elevated may help. Bruises may persist beyond when you are feeling better, but can usually be covered up by makeup by the time you are ready to return to your regular activities.


Your surgeon will provide you with detailed instructions for post-operative care. These will include compresses, what pain medications to use, keeping your head elevated, how to clean your face, and more. It is important that you follow all instructions to ensure the best and fastest recovery you can have.


If you are interested in discussing a facelift to improve your look, contact facial plastic surgeon Dr. Sheldon S. Kabaker of Oakland, California, at 800-914-4247 to schedule a consultation.

  • Share: