What can I expect when recovering from a facelift?

Lots of people come to me to talk about their options for their sagging necks. There are always options. In some people, we can disguise early jowels with filler.


Two weeks after fillers


Other patients will be good candidates for PrecisionTx® which is a laser system that gives results that are almost as good as a facelift, but with far less downtime and without the need for general anesthesia.


6 months after PrecisionTx


PrecisionTx® is a fine option if you just have loose skin or your schedule just wouldn’t allow any downtime. However, most people who come to talk to me about their sagging neck will need a facelift. Facelifts can be scary. It’s surgery. You go under anesthesia. There are a lot of stitches involved. Today I’m going to walk you through the entire process of a facelift from a patient’s perspective so that you can get a true representation of what the experience is actually like. While the patient as presented here is fictional, I will be sharing specific things that my previous patients have shared with me.

Three months before surgery:

Like many people, I had noticed that my neck has started to sag as I got older. Then a couple of weeks ago, I looked in the mirror and I saw my mother’s neck and I hated it! I asked around and a friend recommended that I go see Dr. Schmidt. So, I booked a consult with him. I had my consult with him today and everybody was so nice! He took pictures and then talked about my options. He thinks I need a facelift! I’m not sure I’m ready for that. But I’m going to think about it.

Before. Ugh, I hate my neck.

One month before surgery:

The more I look at my neck, I just have to do something about it. Dr. Schmidt said I need a facelift so, that’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to call him to book another visit to talk.

Two weeks before surgery:

Well, we talked and I really think I want a facelift. It’s time. I had my preoperative visit today. We went over my pictures again and he showed me other people with similar issues and what they looked like afterwards. He said he’d also do something about the fine lines around my mouth. I’m still scared, but I feel better about everything after talking to him. He gave me my instructions and my prescriptions so I can get everything in advance.

Day of surgery:

7:30 AM. I’m here at the surgery center. My surgery isn’t until 9; I don’t know why they had me get here so early! I’m too nervous to be hungry. It’s just as well because they didn’t let me eat anyway. I met with the anesthesiologist and they’re about to start an IV. Is it possible to be excited and nervous at the same time?

8:30 AM. Dr. Schmidt arrived and we talked. He answered my last minute questions about hair washing (tomorrow, once the dressing comes off). Then he made a lot of markings and shaved a little bit of hair in front of and behind my ears. He promised me that he only shaved the gray ones but I don’t know what he’s talking about because I don’t have any gray hairs! He said he would be with me the entire time once I start getting the sleepy medicines. And here we go!

1130 AM. Surgery has been done for about thirty minutes, but I don’t really remember. Not in any pain. There’s this big wrap thing that makes it hard to hear. Dr. Schmidt has already been by and said things went great! I’m about to put my clothes on and head out the door. Hopefully the resurfacing worked on the lines around my mouth. Do I get to eat now?

Heading home!

4:00 PM. Woke up from a nap. Dr. Schmidt had texted me to make sure I was doing ok, but I didn’t hear it because of this stupid wrap. Still numb, but I think I’ll take some ibuprofen because I can feel things starting to wear off. Good thing there’s a Barefoot Contessa marathon on. Oh that Jeffrey…

8:30 PM How many episodes of Fixer Upper can one watch, anyway? I’m going to bed. Sore, but not really having pain.

Post-op Day 1:

6:30 AM. Didn’t sleep all that well because of the wrap, so I ended up taking one of the prescription pain pills around 1 and passed out. I can’t wait to get this thing off. Still not really hurting, but it feels like I have a tight pony tail. I can’t wait to see my new neck!

10:00 AM Well, I just finished at Dr. Schmidt’s office. He took off the big wrap from surgery and looked at everything. He said I looked great, but I think he’s just being kind! My neck looks good! I have some bruising, but it’s not bad. I still don’t have much pain. It’s more discomfort, really. Now I have a new wrap that goes from under my chin to the top of my head. And, he said I could go home and SHOWER! Yay!

6:00 PM Feeling good! I took a shower, but he told me to be careful of my stitches so I was. I did a little work from home this afternoon and I think I’m going to have a quiet night in.

Post-op Day 2:

10:00 AM Woke up this morning feeling sore because my ibuprofen ran out but now I’ve taken more and had breakfast so I’m feeling pretty good. I may rearrange the spice cabinet today. I wonder how many have expired since I last did it?

Post-op Day 3:

9:51 AM The cat puked on the bed. I felt you all needed to know.

11:14 AM While I’m washing the bedding, I did some more work from home. Honestly feeling a little isolated and looking forward to going back to work. I wonder if they’ll notice? Still working on the spice cabinet. Why did my husband buy szechuan peppercorns? Maybe I’ll make pickles later.

Post-op Day 4:

2:00 PM Well, I’m pretty bored. The answer is 3. Three spices had expired in 2014 and I’m a little embarrassed, but nobody has to know, and who uses that many cloves anyway? I’ve finished Michelle Obama’s book and now I am starting Laura Bush’s (you know, for balance). I may go to Starbucks later (with the drive through, of course).

Post-op Day 6:

(Editor’s note, yes, I know it says day 6, but it’s now been a week because the surgery day is technically post-op day 0).

8:30 I’m headed to Dr. Schmidt’s office. It’s going to be a big day! Today I’m getting my stitches out! I feel good! There’s some bruising on my neck but otherwise I think it’s turning out pretty well! I never did have any real pain.

9:32 Back in the car. Dr. Schmidt was on time, but that’s probably because I was his first patient today. I can’t believe I had that many stitches! He says I’m healing great and we took my first set of after pictures. I look pretty good. I may take a selfie in the car!

Maybe my husband will buy me that new necklace?

Post-op day 8:

12:28 PM I went to church this morning. Was 20 minutes late as usual. Somebody asked where I went on vacation because I looked so refreshed. I told them Curacao. Now off to brunch!


Post-op day 9:

6:47 AM Back to work! Yay! I wonder if anybody will say anything?

5:15 PM Feeling really good after today. Janice asked if I had gotten a new hair style and said it looked good! I smiled and thanked her. Hopefully the 288 traffic won’t be too bad today. Maybe I’ll open that new bottle of Sauvignon Blanc?

Post-op day 13:

9:24 AM I had my second check up with Dr. Schmidt today. He says everything looks good! Thank goodness! Because, I mean, I feel good, but he’s the expert, right? It’s always good to hear you’re doing well. Off to work!

Two and a half months out:

6:22 PM I went to my fortieth high school reunion today. I felt GREAT! Everybody said how good I looked. I love the most that nobody can really tell I had a facelift! The effect is so natural, I LOVE IT. I should have done this five years ago…

I hope this gives you a perspective on what having a facelift is really like. Again, the opinions here are ones that actual patients have shared with me. If you’re looking for solutions for your neck, or you just want to tweak your look a little, go ahead and click on the contact link. I’d love to see you!

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