Most facelift patients are well-prepared for surgery, with a good understanding of the procedure, detailed plans for their recovery, and a realistic expectation of their results. Still, even the most prepared patients will encounter some surprises along the road from their pre-op consultation to their last post-op appointment. While no one can predict every detail of your facelift journey, it’s a good idea to learn from the experiences of others and get a good handle on some of the unexpected things they’d wish they knew before surgery.
Take the Time to Pamper Yourself Before Surgery
You’ll certainly have a lot of things on your to-do list before the day of your surgery, but don’t neglect one of the most important items on it: taking good care of yourself. Especially on the night before and morning of your surgical appointment, you should take a little time to pamper yourself. Make sure to get plenty of sleep, even if you’re feeling nervous and excited about your upcoming facelift. In the morning, take a nice, long hot shower and wash your hair thoroughly. You won’t be able to shower for a short while after surgery, so enjoy your last chance to relax in the shower before surgery. Afterwards, skip your usual face and hair products; your facial plastic surgeon needs this area to be clean because lotions and creams can interfere with the surgical process.
Just as you won’t be able to shower for a day or two after surgery, you also won’t be allowed to visit your hair salon for a few weeks either. If you want to keep your hair looking right during recovery, make sure to visit your hairstylist in the days before your surgery to update your cut and color as needed. This might even be the perfect time to try out something new as you adjust to the other changes to your appearance. Some patients even use a new hairstyle to distract from their facelift changes and make their surgery less noticeable.
Think About Comfort When You Plan Your Recovery
Your recovery period won’t exactly feel like a vacation, but it certainly can’t hurt to plan for it like it’s a vacation. In fact, by thinking ahead about the best ways to stay happy and comfortable during your recovery, you’ll be able to make smart decisions about your preparations. Reserve a few new movies or books from the library, load up your tablet with a few games, or stock up on magazines to read. Run your errands, fill your cabinets with groceries, and take care of your household chores so you won’t have to worry about daily details while you’re resting after surgery.
It’s equally important that your recovery preparations include shopping for medical supplies that your surgeon recommends having on hand. Stock up on bandages, prescriptions, cold compresses, and other items that could make you more comfortable during the early days of your recovery. Don’t forget to also gather pillows, blankets, and loose-fitting clothing that will encourage you to relax and get plenty of extra sleep.
Kick Your Smoking Habit
Smoking can make you ineligible for any plastic surgery procedure because of the dangers it poses toyou, the patient. Nicotine and other chemicals can affect the body in many negative ways, including a restriction of blood vessels that will reduce blood flow, an essential component of the healing process. If you are a smoker, there’s still time to reduce your risk for surgical and nonsurgical complications by quitting. You’ll need to stop smoking at least three weeks prior to your facelift and until around three weeks or more after surgery. Quitting for good is always the healthiest option. Talk to your facial plastic surgeon about smoking cessation strategies that are effective and safe for pre-operative facelift patients.
Resist the Urge to Look Right Away
Some patients can handle the visual shock of their post-surgical appearance, but most would rather wait for the finished results. Remember that your face is supposed to look red, swollen, and bruised right after surgery so it might not be the kind of image you really want to see. It might make you upset, uncomfortable, or even discouraged about the healing process. Many facial plastic surgeons recommend staying away from mirrors until the swelling has gone down, when you’ll look a little bit more like yourself. Others say it’s more exciting to wait for your face to be mostly healed before peeking into the mirror. Be patient with your body as it heals and go with your personal instincts.
Stay Organized Before and After Surgery
If you like lists, you’ll naturally start planning your surgical and recovery process with a nice checklist so you don’t forget any details. If you’re not a fan of lists, this is the perfect time to try it out for yourself. Keeping a list can help to organize your thoughts, minimize stress and anxiety, and maintain your focus on what needs to be done. Your facelift checklist should include any phone calls you need to make, appointments to schedule and keep, errands to run, personal items to take care of, and any other details your surgeon will ask you to handle before surgery. Don’t forget to plan out your pre-surgical grocery list, a to-do list of errands, and a contact list of friends and family willing to help you during recovery.
Choose Your Surgeon Wisely for Best Results
When planning a facelift surgery, the most important detail is the surgeon you choose. Dissatisfied facelift patients can attest to how much really rests on your facial plastic surgeon’s shoulders. By carefully selecting a surgeon who is board certified, experienced in the facelift procedure, and known for patient success, you’ll get yourself one step closer to the facelift results you really want.
Consult with a facelift surgeon who will guide you through the process from beginning to end. Dr. Andrew Frankel is board certified in both Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (ENT). His focus is on facial rejuvenation, especially through procedures such as the facelift, brow lift, or eyelid surgery, as well as rhinoplasty. Since 1994, Dr. Frankel has been practicing at the Lasky Clinic and earned recognition as an expert in his field. He has many publications on a variety of topics including midface lifts, Botox, rhinoplasty, and more. To consult with Dr. Frankel, contact the Lasky Clinic located at 201 South Lasky Drive in Beverly Hills, California. Call (310) 552-2173 to schedule your appointment today.