Pain Management Following Your Facelift Surgery
Facelift surgery can create drastic changes in the appearance of any patient, something that can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Many of the patients who attend facelift consultations share similar concerns about the physical changes and how much pain they might experience during recovery. It’s natural to fear the unknown and to worry that something new and different could make us uncomfortable. Yet, although they are expecting the worse, a vast majority of facelift patients are happy to discover that their surgery is far less painful that anticipated. If you’re fretting about pain following your facelift surgery, these tips and advice can help you to make it through recovery with minimal discomfort.
The Pain of Facelift Surgery
Your actual surgery won’t hurt at all, thanks to heavy anesthetics and sedation. You’ll sleep soundly through your procedure and then for a little while after until the medications wear off. The entire facelift surgery can last from three to six hours depending on the extent of the changes requested. Your facial plastic surgeon will be better equipped to give you a firm estimate once he or she has evaluated your face, heard your concerns, and planned his or her surgical process.
The facelift procedure involves the placement of well-hidden incisions along the hairline, down and around the ears, and then along the lower scalp. Your plastic surgeon is then able to make the necessary changes to your skin, fatty deposits, and underlying tissues to create the more youthful appearance you desire. Any excess skin and fat will be trimmed away, the supportive tissues will be lifted and tightened, and then the smoother skin will be laid over the face and secured with sutures. All of these changes will be made as you sleep peacefully. Even when you first wakeup, you may feel a bit disoriented, nauseous or sleepy, but you won’t feel any pain. Your plastic surgeon can talk with you about any concerns you might have regarding the surgical and early recovery period.
The Pain Right After Facelift Surgery
Until your anesthesia wears off, you may not feel anything more than swelling and puffiness around the face. Gradually, these medications will give way and your prescribed pain medication will pick up the slack. Throughout this process, don’t be alarmed if you feel groggy, lightheaded or disoriented. Some patients also experience tingling as the numbness in their bodies wears off. Headaches, chills, fatigue, and dizziness are also common symptoms, so it’s best to stay still until many of these side effects subside. As they do, a slight soreness will develop and you will first feel the need for pain medication.
The Pain During Facelift Recovery
Once you have fully transitioned away from anesthetics and head home, that’s the time your pain will feel the worst. Every patient is different and has his or her own tolerance for pain, so it’s hard to predict exactly what you will experience. In general, patients are pleasantly surprised at how manageable their pain is during this time and how effective their medication and other remedies can be. In these early days, sleep as much as you can and don’t skip any doses of pain medication; your body needs to be able to relax to heal properly so don’t cause it any unnecessary stress.
Follow your facial plastic surgeon’s instructions carefully to ensure that your recovery is smooth and successful. These may include some care for your incisions, replacing bandages, and other measures to avoid infection and monitor your healing. Not only can these steps keep you on the path to recovery, but they can also minimize your chance for more serious complications.
Managing Pain During Facelift Recovery
There is no such thing as a surgery that won’t cause you some pain and require at least a small amount of recovery time. Facelift surgery focuses on a delicate area that has many nerve endings and intricacies, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to suffer silently until everything heals. If you’d like to prepare yourself for an easy, comfortable recovery, plan ahead to take these pain management steps:
- Ask someone to stay with you during the first 48 hours after your surgery. This allows you to rest and relax more easily since there will be someone to answer the phone, get the mail, let the dogs out, and even fix you meals.
- Keep your head propped up all the time. When reclining or sleeping, maintain an elevated angle to reduce the blood flow to your head. This can help keep your swelling under control and create less discomfort for you.
- Fill your pain medication prescription before your surgery and have it ready nearby. You won’t be able to run any errands on your way home from the clinic, after all!
- Buy a few cold compresses in advance to apply as needed. Talk to your facial plastic surgeon about proper applications of cold therapy to make sure it is safe and at which stages of your recovery it may be used.
During your recovery, pay close attention to how your face is healing and any changes that may arise. If you notice a dramatic increase in pain, swelling, or redness around the incisions, contact your plastic surgeon immediately.
Book Your Facelift Consultation Today
To learn more about how a facelift surgery could benefit you with a minimally painful recovery process, consult with Dr. Ronald Lohner, an experienced and board certified plastic surgeon based in Philadelphia who offers customized procedures to his patients after a one-on-one consultation. He completed his undergraduate education at Dartmouth College and medical school at UMDNJ-Rutgers. Currently, Dr. Lohner is Chief of Plastic Surgery at Bryn Mawr Hospital and holds a faculty appointment at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. His peers have selected him as a Philadelphia-area Top Doctor for the past eight years. His office is located at [primary_address] in [primary_city], [primary_statefull], on the Main Line. Please call his office at [primary_phone] to schedule a consultation.