Facelift Recovery: Physical vs. Social Downtime

Blonde blue-eyed woman's smiling face

Choosing to undergo plastic surgery isn’t a decision to take lightly. There are many considerations involved in treatment, including significant recovery time. This is especially true when it comes to facelift surgery, as the procedure involves delicate tissues that are difficult to conceal during recovery. Many patients find the recovery process involves two different timelines: the time it takes to heal physically and the time it takes to feel comfortable going out in public again afterward. Sometimes, we refer to this issue as physical downtime versus social downtime.

Cosmetic surgery patients at our Sacramento and Granite Bay offices often plan to get a facelift before a major social event, which can be tricky if not enough healing time is given between the surgery date and the event date. To help you plan your facelift recovery timeline, here is what you can expect before getting back to daily tasks or important get-togethers. 

Physical Downtime

Your recovery time may vary slightly depending on the procedure you had performed. Traditional facelift patients usually require a few weeks to heal, while mini facelift patients may need only a few days. Overall, the bulk of swelling and bruising lasts around 7 to 10 days. Apply cold compresses and keep your head elevated to alleviate any discomfort and ease swelling. 

You can return to daily activities and go back to work after about 1 to 2 weeks. If you have a physical job that requires more active movement, you may need to wait until 3 weeks have passed. 

Social Downtime

You may be a bit hesitant to see friends and family immediately after your procedure. Discoloration or bruises can linger, even after you start feeling more physically comfortable. Swelling and bruising will be the most obvious during the first couple weeks after surgery. After 10 days, you can safely use makeup to cover any last marks. 

By 6 weeks post-op, you can confidently attend weddings or reunions without most residual signs of surgery. Your incisions and scars will continue to fade over the next 6 to 9 months.

How to Prepare for Facelift Recovery

When choosing the best time to plan your facelift, discuss your options with your doctor. They will be able to give you a customized timeline for your specific treatment. Ideally, it’s best to start the planning process about 6 months before a major event. Winter, in particular, is often a popular time for facelifts, as you can relax at home during the holidays and recover before summer vacations.

For the best results, find a board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your procedure. Browse our facelift before-and-after gallery to see examples from real past patients. 

If you would like to learn more about your cosmetic surgery options in the Sacramento area, request a consultation online. You can also contact our helpful office staff by phone at (916) 929-1833 (Sacramento) or (916) 773-5559 (Granite Bay).

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