Facelift: Social Downtime vs. Physical Downtime

Woman out with her friend after recovering from facelift

Patients often plan to get a facelift in the Tucson area when they have a big social event, such as a son or daughter’s wedding or a class reunion, coming up. But it’s important to consider the timing of the procedure because “social recovery” can last longer than the physical recovery timeline.

Social recovery refers to the time needed to ensure that any lingering side effects of surgery have completely disappeared, and the final results of a facelift have appeared. Many patients may feel comfortable returning to work a couple of weeks after facial plastic surgery but continue feeling self-conscious when they want to look their best.

In this blog post, I’ve provided an approximate recovery timeline for facelift patients. This timeline includes both the physical and social downtime involved. These are estimated times only, and each patient’s recovery is unique.

  • 0-10 days after facelift: During this first week or so, most patients want to avoid seeing friends or co-workers. Immediately after surgery, I often apply a large dressing to the treated area to help minimize swelling, and I replace it about a day later. Even though you should limit activities during this stage, it’s important to walk around the house starting the day after the surgery to enhance the healing process.
  • 10 days to 2 weeks after facelift: Most facelift patients feel pretty much back to normal at this point but may still have some bruising and swelling around the incision sites. You may return to work and feel comfortable going to the store and being out in public generally. Strategically applied makeup and styling your hair differently are good ways to camouflage any signs of surgery.
  • 2 to 12 weeks after facelift: Results of a facelift typically improve with each passing day. A person’s comfort level attending a class reunion, wedding, or other significant social event varies, but after about 6 weeks, most facelift patients have no residual signs of surgery. One thing to keep in mind regarding the timing of your facelift: Results that look good after a month tend to look even better after 3 months.

Before surgery, build in time to schedule consultations with at least 2 or 3 plastic surgeons. And remember to allow extra time for scheduling the surgery after choosing a surgeon since you may have to wait for a surgery date. It’s never a good idea to feel pressured to choose a surgeon because of a looming deadline. Ideally, it’s best to start the process about 6 months before an event (which also allows some time for any minor complications to resolve).

Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of building in the necessary time for complete facelift recovery. If that’s the case, consider nonsurgical treatments such as a “liquid facelift” using BOTOX® Cosmetic and fillers to produce effective, but temporary, results. They can’t match the more dramatic and long-lasting results of a facelift, as you can see in our gallery of before-and-after photos, but nonsurgical treatments are a viable alternative. A mini facelift is another option for our Tucson patients with less time to recover before a big social event.

If you’re looking in the Tucson area for a facelift specialist, you can contact our office using the online form or call us at (520) 731-1110 to schedule an appointment.

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