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Social vs. Physical Downtime After a Facelift

Three women excited to get together after some time away

Patients planning to get a facelift before a big social event, such as a wedding or a class reunion, need to plan ahead because social recovery can last longer than your physical recovery.

Many facelift patients at my Toronto practice feel comfortable returning to work a couple of weeks after their procedure. But they may feel less confident about attending a big social event so soon after surgery. Social recovery is the time that’s needed to ensure that all side effects of surgery have completely disappeared.

The approximate facelift recovery timeline I provide in this blog post includes both the physical and social downtime involved. I emphasize that these are estimated times, and each patient’s recovery is unique.

  • 0-10 days after a facelift: You’ll probably want to avoid seeing friends or co-workers during the first week or so after getting a facelift. I often apply a large dressing immediately after the surgery to help minimize swelling and replace it about a day later. Even though you should limit activities during this stage, it’s important to walk around the house starting the day after the surgery to enhance the healing process.
  • 10 days to 3 weeks after a facelift: At this point, most facelift patients feel pretty much back to normal but may still have some bruising and swelling around the incision sites. Many patients return to work and feel comfortable going to the store and being out in public generally. Using makeup or wearing your hair differently is a good way to camouflage any signs of surgery.
  • 3 to 12 weeks after a facelift: Results of a facelift improve with each passing day in most cases. A person’s comfort level attending a class reunion, wedding, or other significant social event varies. But by 6 weeks post-op, most facelift patients have no residual signs of surgery. I will say that results that look good after a month tend to look even better after 3 months.

Building in time to schedule consultations with at least 2 or 3 plastic surgeons is also necessary, along with the time needed for scheduling the surgery after choosing a surgeon. It’s never a good idea to feel pressured to choose a surgeon because of an impending deadline. Ideally, it’s best to start the process of getting facelift surgery about 6 months before an event (which also allows some time for any minor complications to resolve).

If that kind of time frame isn’t possible for some reason, consider nonsurgical treatments such as a “liquid facelift” using BOTOX┬« Cosmetic and fillers to produce effective, but temporary, results. They can’t match the more dramatic and long-lasting results of a facelift, as you can see in our gallery of before-and-after photos, but nonsurgical treatments are viable alternatives.

If you’re looking for a facial plastic surgeon in the Toronto area, you can contact our office using the online form. Or you can call us at (416) 925-7337 (Toronto) or (905) 743-9888 (Oshawa) to schedule an appointment.

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Derek Ford, MD FRCSC

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Derek T. Ford, MD, FRCSC