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Facelift Post-Operative Instructions


Day of surgery: When you awaken from surgery you will have a dressing which will cover the ears, under the chin and over the scalp areas. Sleep with your head elevated.

Night of surgery: Start with very light activity. No straining, bending at the waist or lifting heavy objects. We do ask that you take short walks with assistance. Your diet on the first evening should be limited to only light snack-like food and clear liquids. You should minimize talking and avoid stressful interactions.

Morning after surgery: The morning after surgery, the dressing will be removed in our office along with any drains that were placed in surgery. It is acceptable to take a shower and gently wash your hair the day after the dressing is removed. Do not scrub in the area of incisions, just allow water to run over this. Do not use a blow dryer until you are cleared by your physician. You can begin gently applying antibiotic ointment to your incisions to keep them moist and to avoid crusts from forming.

Second day after surgery: Activity should be limited to frequent short walks with assistance. Continue this activity level until post-op day 5. You may resume a regular diet if there is no nausea.

Five to seven days after surgery: Sutures that are visible will be removed in our office. Starting at your first postop appointment, keep the incisions moist with antibiotic ointment until there is no crusting or until instructed to change to Vitamin E, which you may apply two to three times daily.

Two to three weeks after surgery: The second and third weeks after surgery we ask that you continue no bending at the waist, straining, heavy lifting, or vigorous exercise until after the third postoperative week. Swelling and bruising usually resolve around the second week. You may have some persistent swelling. Your physician may ask you to massage persistent areas of swelling. Please bring any new areas of swelling to the attention of your physician.


Please keep all of your incisions moist with antibiotic ointment until there is no crusting.

You can expect a mild amount of swelling and bruising. If you have extensive swelling that is painful, marked bruising, or new areas of swelling that are limited to one side, bring this to the attention of your physician.
Do not use ice or cold packs as the skin is numb and needs to remain at body temperature for ideal blood flow.

Take frequent short walks to help your circulation and to decrease the risk of blood clot formation in the legs. Walking also helps your breathing. Take frequent deep breaths. Drink abundant clear fluids.

Medications will be prescribed for mild discomfort. If you find that your pain is not controlled by the prescribed pain medications, please notify your physician. Do not take your pain medications on an empty stomach. Eat a light snack, such as crackers, about 30 minutes before you take your medication.

Do not drive or operate machinery while you are taking your narcotic pain medication. If you are still taking narcotics by the time of your first postop appointment, then have someone drive you to your appointment.

You may become constipated due to the pain medications and should begin a stool softener (i.e. Colace) after surgery. If you have gone several days without a bowel movement and are feeling uncomfortable, you may want to consider using a glycerin suppository or Fleet’s enema (available at all drug stores).

If you have drains, keep track of the drainage by charting the volume; empty and compress bulbs after recording volume.

Some patients nearing the end of the first week will experience an emotional letdown. This usually is a short-lived period. Be patient with your recovery, it takes time to heal and achieve your final outcome!


No heavy lifting (greater than 15 lbs.), vigorous activity, or straining for three weeks.
No tub bathing until incisions are well healed or cleared by the doctor.
Do not use ice or heating pads.


If you develop severe shortness of breath or chest pain – call 911, then notify your physician.
If you run a fever, or have chills – call our office.
If you have markedly increased pain, bruising, swelling or bloody drainage– call our office.
If you develop leg swelling or pain – call our office.
If you have persistent nausea or vomiting – call our office.
If you are uncertain about a medication or treatment – call our office.
If you are experiencing any adverse symptoms or changes that you do not understand – call our office.