- It is advisable to avoid vigorous chewing, excessive talking, and use of tobacco products during the first week following surgery. Liquids are encouraged during the first few days: a soft diet is strongly advised in the first week. When you move, stand, or change positions do so slowly.
- The patient can expect to be tired and uncomfortable the first few days postoperatively due to the affects of the anesthesia and surgical procedure. We strongly recommend that arrangements be made for a responsible adult to be with you for at least the first 24 hours. It is best to stay in during these first few days. Driving is permitted after being released by Dr. Clemenza.
- It is acceptable to do light walking 72 hours after surgery. Jogging and light non-contact exercise should not be resumed for three weeks, and strenuous sports activity require six weeks before being safely resumed.
- Arrange for post-op visits with Dr. Clemenza accordingly. Any facial drains will be removed the day following surgery. The facial support dressing is to be worn 24 hours a day and will be changed by the doctor at the scheduled follow-up visits.
- Bathing rather than showers is advised after surgery to avoid wetting facial dressings. Showers can resume per doctors orders.
- Ice packs should be used the first 48-72 hours for peroids of twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off. You should sleep and rest on your back with your head elevated at a 45 degree angle for the first 72 hours. Warm, moist packs may be applied starting on the third postoperative day to help alleviate bruising.
- Swelling of the face and neck with some bruising can be expected after facelifts, but the degree of each varies from patient to patient. Do not be concerned if you have more or less than other patients who have undergone the “same” operation. Generally, most patients appear quite sociably acceptable within 10-14 days after surgery.
- Any unexplained or unusual development of pain, facial swelling or fever should be reported to us immediately.
- You will need to cleanse the incisions gently three times a day with a mixture of 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% water solution using cotton or Q-tips. After each cleansing, lightly apply Bacitracin Ointment to the incision lines. This will help decrease the redness of the incisions and help to alleviate crusting.
- You may gently shampoo your hair when directed by Dr. Clemenza. Do not use any products that remain on the hair. Avoid any rubbing or combing trauma to the incisions in the hairline and around the ear. Do not blow dry for two weeks, and postpone any planned permanent waves or hair coloring for 6 weeks following surgery.
- If you wear eyeglasses, it is important that the tips behind the ears do not put excessive pressure on the incisions. Padding these areas with cotton will make it feel better.
- The first postoperative week can be an emotional roller coaster. Some patients will experience feelings that range from “zombie” on the first day or two, to irritation, sadness, anger, impatience and even fear. Common quotes: “What have I done?”, “How come…”, “I wish it was a month from now.”, “You should have told me about…”. These emotions can be considered normal for many. Accepting the possibility of having these will help you deal with them should they occur. You have had a significant surgical procedure and it is too early for you or others to judge the results of the surgery. If you need to be reassured, or you need questions answered, please call the office and speak with a member of our staff or the doctor.
Swelling and Bruising Phase-Day four through day fourteen
- You may resume non-contact, non-exertional activities.
- Ice compresses may be soothing, but they are not necessary. We do recommend warm compresses to assist in resolving the bruising. A moist cloth or a heating pad works nicely, leaving it on for 20 minute intervals.
- It is common to experience itching of the incisions. This can range from itching to a tight pulling feeling.
- Your remaining sutures will be removed between days 12-14.
- Portions of the face that have been lifted and repositioned will be slightly numb for several weeks; sensation will usually return as healing progresses. Do not wear heavy or tight earrings for 6 weeks. Avoid prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures. Any exposure to the sun (including sun-tanning parlors) in the first 3 weeks after surgery may result in prolonged facial swelling and injury to the skin. Continue to avoid incision line contact, (no makeup and no scratching) and continue to cleanse as instructed. Sun-block skin care products are available in our office.
- Try to find a simple casual look for a couple of days that requires minimal work for you. Sunglasses, scarves and hats may be worn in attractive ways to camouflage any bruising.
- By day four, you may notice a change in the amount of swelling, and some bruising will be more evident. Emotionally you will be wishing it is a month from now, and may have feelings of regret. This is often a stage when patients are giving close attention to incisions and often have concerns as to how they will heal. Be kind to yourself! Plan some activities that you feel comfortable with that will help you celebrate as you heal and help make time go faster.
Disappointment Phase-Day fourteen through day twenty-one
- Adopt a “hands off” policy, gently washing the incision lines as directed by the doctor.
- Continue to wear your facial pressure dressing when you are at home and at night until advised otherwise.
- The surgery sites will continue to feel numb and some residual swelling may be present. You can expect some swelling for up to six months. You are entering the final phase of wound healing. Do remind yourself that you will look “bad” before you look marvelous!
Relief Phase-Third week to sixth week
- You may resume normal activity, makeup, and your normal hairdressing regimen providing Dr. Clemenza has not informed you otherwise.
- You may have a feeling of tightness and numbness, a normal sequel to facelift surgery lasting two or three months. At follow-up visits postoperative photographs may be taken.
By now most patients are excited about the results. Some patients talk freely about their surgery, while others choose to keep it confidential. Many patients experience subtle remarks from family and friends indicating they have a rested look or look like they have lost weight, or perhaps even a comment indicating their hairstyle may have been changed. A good surgical result is one that results in a rejuvenated look as opposed to an over corrected “china doll” look.
The doctor and his staff greatly appreciate the confidence you have shown in us by allowing us to assist you in improving your appearance and health. You may be assured of our very best efforts to achieve the most satisfactory surgical result possible for your particular individual anatomy and condition.