I love it when the azaleas start to bloom! Here on the blog, we’ve been talking a lot about non-invasive types of treatments that we can use to help you look as good as you feel. These include Pelleve, IPL, and chemical peels. While these are great, eventually you may reach a point where you’re going to need to talk about something a little more powerful: a facelift. Facelifts have a bad reputation. There’s this conception that you’ll come out looking pulled or otherwise not like yourself. People think that they’ll have to hide away from the world for months while they heal.
Hooray for natural-looking results!
Not all facelift techniques are created equal. Depending on the technique used, you may have a longer recovery than others. Your immediate post-operative care may be more intense.
To help you choose a surgeon (and then the technique), here are some useful questions to keep in mind as you’re talking with different people.
This question is an important one. Traditionally, the incisions for a facelift are hidden in your hairline so that your hair grows up through the scar which makes them invisible. Depending on the technique, this may change your hairline. You might not ever be able to wear your hair in a ponytail. The tuft of hair in front of your ear may get moved (look around at the grocery store- this can be a subtle, but tell-tale sign of a facelift).
Four months after a lift, this patient’s hair is still growing back but everything looks natural!
The technique I use results in a natural hairline and people can wear their hair any way they want. It even works for men!
2. Do you use drains?
This question is an important one to ask, because this will directly affect your immediate post-operative care. When we do a facelift, we lift the skin up behind and in front of your ears. Some surgeons will place surgical drains under the skin to help prevent any fluid collections from accumulating under the skin. While this is totally acceptable from a medical standpoint, you do have to take care of them while they’re in place.
I don’t routinely use drains. Instead, I use a pressure dressing- soft gauze covered with an ACE wrap- to gently keep pressure on the lifted areas and limit fluid collections.
3. When can I wear makeup?
Surgeons will have different answers to this. The answer a lot of times depends on what all you’ve had done. If you have laser resurfacing at the same time as your facelift, then you may need to hold off during the healing process. In general, my patients can feel free to wear makeup the next day if we haven’t done resurfacing.
4. When can I wash my hair?
We will wash your hair when the lift is done, before the pressure dressing goes on. You’ll return to my office the next day and we will remove the big pressure wrap and replace it with a smaller one. Then you can go home and wash your hair. I just ask that you don’t scrub your stitches. How do you take care of your stitches? Check out this post from the blog archives.
5. When can I exercise?
Surgeons will often limit exercise for several weeks to months following a lift. The rationale is that when we exercise, it increases your heart rate and blood pressure. When you’re healing and your blood pressure goes up, it increases the likelihood of getting a fluid collection under your skin. It may also lead to increased swelling of the tissues.
The above patient is a few years out from a facelift. She looks very natural which is the main goal from the techniques that I use. She wrote a day-by-day testimonial of her experience. Check it out by clicking here!
If you’d like to learn if a facelift is right for you, or about any of our other options to make you look as good as you feel, give us a call at 804-762-0080, or reach out to us through the contact tab!