Facelift Recovery Timeline: Expert Recovery Tips from a Plastic Surgeon


    If you're considering a facelift to rejuvenate your appearance, it's essential to understand what to expect during the recovery process and how to best prepare for it. This transformative procedure can help you achieve a more youthful, refreshed appearance, and with the right surgeon by your side, you're well on your way to stunning results.

    As you prepare for your facelift journey, it's important to understand what to expect during the recovery process. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through every stage of facelift recovery, from the day of your procedure to the months that follow, and provide expert tips to ensure a smooth and comfortable healing process.

    Immediately After Your Facelift Surgery

    Following your surgery, you may feel groggy and experience some discomfort. Depending on the extent of your facelift, you may have bandages and drainage tubes in place to minimize swelling and bruising. While your appearance may be initially unsettling, remember that this is temporary, and you'll soon see the incredible results of your procedure.

    Most patients return home the same day or the following day after their facelift, and many are pleasantly surprised to find that facelift surgery is less painful than they anticipated. Your surgeon will ensure that you have a friend or family member to drive you home and provide support during the first few days of recovery. 

    The First Week after Surgery

    During the first few days after your facelift, expect some discomfort, bruising, and swelling. This is a normal part of the healing process and can be managed with pain medication. You should take it easy during this time, allowing your body to focus on healing. Gentle movement, such as short walks around the house, can help promote circulation and reduce the risk of complications.

    If you have drainage tubes or stitches, your surgeon will likely schedule a follow-up appointment within the first week to remove them. Be sure to follow all post-operative care instructions carefully, including keeping your head elevated and avoiding strenuous activities.

    Second Week Post Op

    Around two weeks after your facelift procedure, you should notice a significant improvement in your comfort level and appearance. While some residual swelling and bruising may persist, it should be much less noticeable, and you may feel comfortable returning to work and social activities. If you have a physically demanding job, your surgeon may recommend additional time off to ensure proper healing during your recovery period. 

    As your face continues to heal, you may experience sensations like tingling or tightness in your skin. This is a normal part of the recovery process, but if you have any concerns, don't hesitate to contact your plastic surgeon.

    Three to Four Weeks Post Op

    The exact timing of suture removal depends on your specific facelift technique and individual healing progress, as determined by your surgeon. Prior to removal, your incision sites may appear bunched or puckered, but once the sutures are removed, these areas will begin to smooth out and lay flatter against your skin. While some residual swelling is normal at this stage, you'll likely notice real improvements in your facial appearance as the swelling continues to subside.

    Although you may feel more like yourself again during this time, it's crucial to continue following your surgeon's post-operative instructions and avoid strenuous exercise or activities that put you at risk of injury. Your incision sites will appear slightly pink or red as they heal, which is a normal part of the process. To promote proper healing and minimize the appearance of scars, protect your skin from direct sunlight by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 daily and consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors. 

    One Month & Beyond Post-Op

    After one month, you should be well on your way to enjoying your refreshed, more youthful appearance. Most swelling and bruising will have subsided, and you can gradually resume more strenuous activities and exercise, as advised by your surgeon. While you may still have some isolated areas of swelling or residual tightness, these should continue to improve in the coming weeks and months. In may take several months and up to a year to see the final results of your facelift.

    Do's and Don'ts for a Smooth Facelift Recovery

    Your facial plastic surgeon will provide you with detailed post-operative instructions tailored to your individual needs. Follow these guidelines closely and don't hesitate to ask questions if anything is unclear. Here are some key tips to ensure a smooth and successful recovery:


    • Arrange for an adult to stay with you for the first few days to provide support and assistance

    • Rest with your head elevated or propped up with a pillow to minimize swelling

    • Keep your incisions dry and clean

    • Take pain medication and as prescribed

    • Wear your compression garment as directed

    • Opt for front-buttoning clothing rather than pull-over garments

    • Take short, gentle walks around the house to promote circulation and healing

    • Follow all wound care and showering instructions provided by your surgeon

    • Report any signs of infection such as excessive swelling, redness, drainage, or new unusual pain near the ears.


    • Apply makeup during the first week after surgery

    • Put pressure on or around your incisions

    • Engage in strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting for about 2 weeks

    • Smoke or use nicotine products during your recovery

    • Expose your incisions to direct sunlight; use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher

    • Bump or hit your face and neck

    Facelift Recovery Timeline by Surgery Type

    Whether you opt for a deep plane facelift, a mini facelift, or a combination face and neck lift, each procedure has its own healing timeline. By familiarizing yourself with these differences, you can set realistic expectations and plan accordingly for your post-operative journey.

    Deep Plane Facelift Recovery:

    Known for its long-lasting and natural-looking results, a deep plane facelift involves repositioning the deeper layers of facial tissues. During the first week after surgery, expect significant swelling and bruising as your body begins to heal. This initial period is crucial for rest and adhering to your surgeon's post-operative instructions.

    As you enter the second week, swelling and bruising will start to subside, though some discomfort may persist. Patients typically begin to feel more mobile and notice visible improvements. By the end of the first month, most bruising will have faded, and residual swelling will continue to diminish, revealing more defined results.

    Over the next two to three months, your face will continue to refine, with full results becoming apparent around the three-month mark. As any remaining swelling dissipates, you'll enjoy ongoing improvements and a rejuvenated appearance.

    Mini Facelift Recovery:

    For those addressing early signs of aging, a mini facelift offers a less invasive approach with a shorter recovery period. Targeting the lower face, this technique involves a quicker healing process compared to a full facelift.

    In the first three days after surgery, you'll experience initial swelling and bruising, though typically less severe than with a deep plane facelift. As you progress through the first week, bruising will begin to fade, and many patients transition to over-the-counter pain relief.

    By the second week, most swelling will have subsided, and you'll start to see the initial results of your procedure. Many patients feel comfortable resuming light activities at this point. After day 15, most individuals feel nearly fully recovered and can return to their normal routines, with a focus on proper skincare to maintain results and support healing.

    Face and Neck Lift Recovery:

    For those seeking a more comprehensive facial rejuvenation, a combined face and neck lift addresses both areas, sometimes in conjunction with a brow lift or upper eyelid enhancements. During the first week, expect significant swelling and bruising, particularly in the neck and jawline regions. Rest is paramount, and you'll have bandages in place to support healing.

    As you enter the second week, swelling and bruising will begin to diminish, and your surgeon may remove any non-dissolvable sutures. Patients generally start to feel more comfortable during this time. From day 15 to 30, residual swelling will continue to decrease, revealing the initial results of your procedure. You can gradually return to light activities and focus on a proper skincare routine to aid in healing.

    Around the two to three-month mark, your full results will become increasingly apparent, showcasing a more defined jawline and neck. At this point, most patients are fully healed and can enjoy their rejuvenated appearance.

    Remember, every patient's journey is unique, and recovery timelines may vary. If you have any concerns or questions along the way, don't hesitate to reach out to your surgeon for guidance and support. 

    Take the First Step Toward a Rejuvenated You with Dr. Troell

    If you're considering a facelift to rejuvenate your appearance and restore a more youthful, refreshed look, it's important to choose a plastic surgeon with the expertise, skill, and dedication to deliver exceptional results. In Las Vegas, Dr. Troell stands out as a preeminent facial plastic surgeon, renowned for his meticulous approach, artistic eye, and unwavering commitment to patient satisfaction and safety.

    With multiple board certifications and over two decades of experience, Dr. Troell has earned a reputation as one of Nevada's most trusted and accomplished board-certified plastic surgeons. His extensive training and rigorous adherence to the highest standards of patient care set him apart, ensuring that each individual receives personalized attention and tailored solutions to achieve their desired outcomes. 

    Contact our office today to schedule your facelift consultation with Dr. Troell, and discover why countless patients trust him to deliver the exceptional care and stunning results they deserve.