Cosmetic Surgery Ottawa

Facelift Side Effects: What Patients Can Expect

By Dr. James Lacey on June 06, 2017

A woman touching her faceThe facelift is a highly effective option for wrinkle reduction and facial rejuvenation. Using carefully placed incisions, a surgeon can remove loose around the middle portions of the face and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, lines, and sagging that denote advanced age. Thanks to a facelift, patients can look years younger and more vibrant.

The team at our Ottawa plastic surgery centre take great care in explaining procedures to our patients to improve their recovery and overall well-being. With that in mind, we'd like to cover some of the basics with regard to facelift side effects.

Side Effects Are Part of the Healing Process

As you recover from any kind of surgery, side effects are a natural part of the healing process. These are temporary issues that serve as a sign that your body is healing. These are not meant to be confused with complications, which are signs of a severe problem that requires immediate care.

Following a facelift, be sure to keep the following side effects in mind. Any issues that seem out of the ordinary should be brought to your surgeon's attention as soon as possible.

Pain and Discomfort

Soreness and a certain amount of discomfort are common once the anesthetic wears off. The pain is most pronounced in the first day or so after surgery. Patients will notice the pain abate day by day as they continue to recover.

To manage pain and discomfort after surgery, patients should get ample rest and avoid strenuous physical activity. Pain relievers can be taken as directed if the discomfort is particularly bad in the first days after surgery.

Bruising and Swelling

Bruising and swelling are both very common after a surgery has been performed. Patients will notice puffiness and discoloration of the face, which will both be most pronounced in the first week of recovery.

Major bruising will typically resolve by the end of two weeks. At the end of the two-week mark, the purple or red coloration will have faded. There may be some normal residual discoloration (often yellowish in color) that persists for a week or so afterwards.

As for major swelling, this will typically resolve by the end of two weeks, with additional improvements by the end of the first month of healing. Some minor swelling is not uncommon for several weeks, so keep that in mind.

Numbness and Tingling

Many patients will notice issues with numbness and tingling around their face as they heal, especially near the incision sites. This is common as the nerves repair themselves. This numbness and tingling is typical for the first few weeks, with improvements continuing over the course of a few months.

Post-surgical Scarring

Scarring is a reality following any type of surgery. As part of the pre-op consultation, we can discuss scarring and if patients have issues with major scars and scar tissue. In general, however, facelift scars are well hidden behind the ears and along the hairline. Over time, the scars should fade and be very difficult to notice.

Follow Post-op Instructions Closely

In order to recover quickly and avoid complications, it's important that patients follow all of their post-op instructions very closely. This will help ensure optimal healing and recovery, and can potentially improve the results of the procedure in the long run.

Contact a Facial Plastic Surgery Specialist

For more information about facelift and your many other options for facial rejuvenation and enhancement, be sure to contact our cosmetic plastic surgery centre today. We look forward to your visit and discussing these matters in much greater detail.

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