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The Center for Cosmetic Medicine

Understanding the Risks and Side Effects of a Facelift

By Stuart Baker on June 16, 2015

Attractive blonde in a white sweaterIf you want to recapture your youthful appearance and enjoy firm, supple skin, a facelift may be the solution. However, you may also be concerned about the side effects of this treatment. You worry that the recovery will take a huge toll on your quality of life. Fortunately, facelifts are safe procedures with few long-term side effects. Although you may experience some temporary discomfort, proper care before and after your procedure can greatly reduce these risks. At your consultation, Dr. Baker will explain how to prepare for your facelift. After your surgery, he will offer further guidance to speed your healing. To learn more about facelift side effects, contact our Decatur practice today.

What Happens during a Facelift?

During a facelift, Dr. Baker will raise the muscles in your midface to address the drooping effect that is often a consequence of aging. To access these muscles, he will create several small incisions near your ears, along your hairline, or under your chin. When he has achieved the desired effects, he will carefully remove any excess skin or fat. Then he will lay your skin over the firmer contours of your face, and he will close up the incisions with tiny sutures. 

Short-term Side Effects and Recovery

Dr. Baker uses precise techniques to reduce post-operative side effects. However, like any surgery, your facelift will require some healing time. Typically, you will need to take about ten days to two weeks off from work. During this time, you may experience some of the following temporary side effects:

  • Irritation: It is normal to experience some minor to moderate discomfort, particularly along the incision sites. In most cases, over-the-counter pain medication can help minimize discomfort. However, if you experience severe or worsening discomfort, you should inform Dr. Baker immediately.
  • Bruising: Many patients develop bruises, especially near the eyes. You should not wear makeup until you receive Dr. Baker’s approval. However, in most cases, you can cover up remaining bruises with cosmetics about two weeks after surgery.
  • Swelling: Minor swelling will typically recede about 14 days after your procedure. Then you will see the beautiful, natural results of your facelift.
  • Numbness: You may experience some minor loss of sensation in your face following your surgery. In the vast majority of cases, this is not cause for alarm. However, you should tell Dr. Baker if you experience this side effect.

Negligible Long-Term Risks

The minor short-term side effects listed above are relatively common. Thankfully, however, long-term risks are rare. These unlikely side effects could include:

  • Nerve damage
  • Visible scarring
  • Unfavorable aesthetic results
  • Hematoma

Proper Care Can Reduce Side Effects

Although long-term side effects are rare, it is important to take the right precautions before and after your facelift. Proper care can further reduce your risks, making the chance of long-term complications virtually non-existent. Among other things, you should:

  • Stop smoking at least two weeks before your facelift
  • Avoid ibuprofen, certain anti-inflammatories, blood thinners, and vitamin E supplements
  • Eat a healthy, low sodium diet, and drink plenty of water after your surgery
  • Wear compression bandages, as instructed by your doctor
  • Sleep with your head elevated for the first two weeks
  • Change bandages as instructed
  • Avoid strenuous activities, but avoid being completely sedentary, as well
  • Do not use a pool or sauna until you receive approval from your doctor
  • Do not wear makeup until Dr. Baker gives you approval to do so

Dr. Baker is a highly experienced plastic surgeon, recognized for his achievements in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. Thanks to his expertise and personal guidance throughout the entire process, you should enjoy virtually negligible risks.

Find Out If a Facelift Is Right for You

To learn more about low-risk facelifts, schedule an appointment at The Center for Cosmetic MedicineTM.

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