Question: I’ve heard a lot of doctors say that the recovery following a facelift is about 5 to 10 days. My friend had a facelift and even after 2 weeks she really didn’t feel that comfortable going out in public. Was her case unusual or is that common?
Answer: I would say it really depends on what kind of facelift technique is performed as to how long the recovery is since for minimal incision facelifts many times patients can go back to work the next day as long as they are okay covering up the area where the incisions were with their hair; otherwise, more extensive facelifts, such as an extended SMAS deep plane facelift with platysmaplasty, may take about a week to heal and it may be up to two weeks before patients are really comfortable going out in social circumstances. There are occasional patients that still have some swelling significant enough that they do not want to go out even at two weeks but certainly by three weeks they all look very good and in the far majority of cases even by one to two weeks they look good enough to go out and perform normal day to day activities. Obviously, this is also dependent on not only the patient’s healing and the procedure type but also the surgical skills of the provider as well as some of the perioperative care, such as keeping the head of the bed raised, intraoperative steroids, and even herbal supplements. Over the past 10-plus years, I have made several modifications to our instructions in the time period around the operation so that we have truly been able to minimize our patient’s downtime significantly.