When you decide to have a facelift, you do so knowing that the procedure will modify your appearance in some way. But surgery doesn’t just change the way you look. During the initial recovery, you’ll also need to make some adjustments to your lifestyle and habits, not only to help your recovery along, but also to reduce the risk for complications or other issues arising after your surgery. Your surgeon will let you know what you need to do to get the best results during your recovery. The following tips can help you along.
Everyone’s appetite is different, you’ll most likely find that you don’t have the stomach for a big meal after your facelift. It’s generally recommended that you stick with relatively bland, pretty soft foods for the first day or so after your surgery. Foods that are really chewy or crunchy can be difficult to deal with when you’re in the initial stages of recovery.
Foods that might be perfect for your first few meals after waking up include mashed potatoes, soft pasta, pureed soups (as long as they aren’t too hot), and oatmeal. A smoothie can also be ideal. Start slowly and take it easy with the foods you choose after your surgery, especially if you’ve had general anesthesia. Some people experience nausea as the anesthetic wears off.
As your recovery continues, you can begin to eat regularly again, but you might want to focus on eating a more healthful diet. Your body needs an adequate amount of nutrients and vitamins to heal itself. If you mainly ate junk food pre-surgery, part of your goal during recovery might be to switch to a better diet and to eat more whole foods.
Sleeping post-facelift can be challenging. To keep swelling down, surgeons usually recommend that you keep your head elevated at all times. That usually means sleeping on your back, with your head and neck propped up by some pillows. If you’re a side or stomach sleeper, that can make it difficult to doze off.
One way to adjust to sleeping on your back is to make your bed as comfortable as possible before your facelift. Place a number of pillows on each side of where you usually sleep, so that you’ll be less likely to toss and turn during your sleep or as you fall asleep. If you usually share a bed with someone, it might be a good idea to have that person sleep somewhere else, at least for the first few days, so that you can better relax and so that you don’t have to worry about keeping that person up. Don’t have him or her go too far away, though, as you might need help at some point, particularly during the first few days after surgery.
If your discomfort after your facelift is getting in the way of you being able to get a full night’s sleep, you might want to ask your surgeon to prescribe you pain relievers. The medication can reduce the pain you feel, so that you’re able to get a better night’s sleep. Only take the medicine as directed.
Getting plenty of fluids, particularly water, is a must as you recover after a facelift. Keep a few bottles of water by your bed or by the chair you relax in, so that you don’t have to go very far when you want to take a drink. While you do want to make sure you get plenty of water during your recovery, there are some beverages that are best avoided during the first phase of your facelift recovery. In most cases, surgeons advise avoiding alcohol for the first few weeks after your surgery. If you enjoy the occasional beer, wine or cocktail, ask your surgeon when it is OK to start imbibing again.
Whether you have IV sedation or general anesthesia during your facelift, you’ll be in no state to drive yourself home afterwards. Your surgeon will most likely recommend that you find a friend or relative to bring you to the surgery and take you home after you wake up. Your friend should also hang around your home for at least a day or so after your facelift, in case you have any problems or need help.
Many patients are eager to know when they can get back on the road after their surgery. Since some pain medications can make you a bit out of it after surgery and because you might have limited movement in your neck and face, it might be a good idea to delay driving again for several days or even a week after your procedure. You need to wait until you’re sufficiently alert to drive and until you have the ability to quickly check your mirrors and blind spots while on the road.
Facelift recovery is slightly different for every patient. If you have any questions about what to expect during your recovery, Dr. Michael Schwartz, a double board certified facial plastic surgeon, is happy to answer them. Call Dr. Schwartz’s practice to arrange a consultation and learn about what to expect after a facelift today at 561-655-5562.