For a successful facelift surgery to be possible, it should involve strict patient selection and surgical planning by a qualified surgeon who has a deep understanding of the aging process and the limits of the underlying anatomies as well.
It has been a year after my facelift surgery and I have no regrets doing the procedure, which has softened my deep wrinkles and contoured my jowl. Now, I look more rejuvenated and happier after my doctor removed the “angry appearance” caused by the loose skin and fat atrophy (shrinkage of facial volume).
While my plastic surgeon has explained to me all the details of my surgery and facelift recovery, I was still caught off guard with the amount of swelling, bruising, and postop blues.
These are the things I wish I knew before my facelift surgery.
- Know how to relax. I have always hated downtime, which is inevitable for anyone planning to undergo a plastic surgery procedure. Take note when I say “downtime” it means no house chores (including the simplest tasks) and work-related undertakings (even answering emails) for at least a week.
During the most crucial time of your recovery, your only focus should be about your wellbeing. Remember that the more relaxed you are, the more efficient your body is able to recover from a surgical trauma.
- There is no shame to ask for help. For at least a week, have a close friend, family member, or nurse to take care of your basic needs. Simply put, let someone pamper you to avoid the stress of your [usual] daily responsibilities at home.
- It’s okay to be afraid of mirror. While my surgeon explained to me that the swelling and bruising would conceal my results initially, I was not expecting that my face would have bruises literally everywhere. In fact, seeing my reflection for the first time after surgery scared the hell out of me.
- Controlling swelling is the key to quick “social” healing. The postop pain was not really the issue during my facelift recovery, but the interruption of my social activities was the hardest part for me. For this reason, I strictly followed my doctor’s instructions to control this symptom—e.g., head elevation, low-sodium diet, cold compress, rest and sleep, etc.
In my experience, most of the swelling was gone about a week, although it took another week for me to look “socially presentable.”
- Camouflage make-up and fashion accessories are helpful. Some cosmetics are specifically formulated to hide bruising and swelling caused by facial plastic surgery, although ask your surgeon first before using them. You don’t want to irritate your incisions, which could lead to unfavorable facelift scars.
Aside from camouflage make-up, large sunglasses and scarves can also help you hide the postop symptoms.