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What is the Recovery Process for a Facelift?

Posted on Feb 18, 2016 Facial Procedures

A facelift can alleviate wrinkles and give your skin a younger, firmer appearance. A board-certified cosmetic plastic surgeon like Dr. Bottgerin Philadelphia will lift your facial skin to reach the underlying tissue. After tightening these tissues, your skin will be gently positioned back over your face, and held in place with stitches. The surgery itself is just the beginning. It can take several months for your facial muscles and skin to fully recover, and for you to see the full results from a facelift.


When you wake up after surgery, you will have a thick bandage wrapped around your head. This bandage will stay in place for up to 24 hours post-surgery, and then either be replaced with an elastic bandage to prevent further swelling, or left to heal naturally.

Your Hospital Stay

If your facelift was extensive, you will most likely be required to stay overnight for Dr. Bottger to oversee your initial recovery. Anesthesia or sedation through IV is necessary during a facelift. General anesthesia and local anesthesia are both options. You will be unconscious under general anesthesia, and wake up feeling groggy. Nausea is a common side effect. Local anesthesia prevents painful nerve impulses without causing unconsciousness, and you could be able to leave on the same day of your surgery.


Your face is most vulnerable in the first 48 hours. Hold off on showering or washing your hair within this time, and be careful not to irritate your face. Swelling and bruising is a normal part of the process, but if you keep your head elevated while you recover in bed, you can prevent continued swelling. Your stitches will dissolve or require a visit to Dr. Bottger’s office within 5 to 10 days to remove them.

Avoid Exercise

Stay away from heavy lifting for four weeks. Light exercise can be resumed two weeks after your facelift. After the first two weeks, you can wear makeup to hide leftover bruising. Your face will feel numb for a few months, but as long as you pay close attention to Dr. Bottger’s aftercare instructions, your recovery will go smoothly.

If you’re looking for a board-certified plastic surgeon in the Philadelphia area, contact Dr. Bottger at 610-355-1929 to schedule an initial consultation today. Dr. Bottger serves clients in the Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr, West Chester, and Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.