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Facelift Myth #3 – Surgery Recovery is Painful

Why Opt For Facelift Surgery

As we age, changes to our facial structures create old and sad appearance that none of us like. Additionally, people are healthier and living and working longer. We want to look as good as we feel inside. If you are still working, you may also feel the pressure to look youthful to remain competitive in the work force. While it is illegal to discriminate based on various factors—and age is one of these—there is no denying that employers tend to hire younger people, assuming all other qualifications are equal. This desire to maintain one’s youthful appearance is a major driver for the explosive growth in the facial cosmetic industry.

Is Surgery Worth It?

In the past, when we looked old and wanted to rejuvenate our face, the only effective option was a facelift. Being a major surgical procedure, you probably immediately think of the all the unpleasant side effects of surgery. There is scarring risk. You probably worry about significant swelling and bruising that will make you look scary. You might also be fearful of rare complications like nerve injury, worse appearance, or even not waking up from anesthesia. Probably the most common concern people have is worrying about postoperative pain. These are all reasons why nonsurgical cosmetic procedures have exponentially increased in popularity. Many now first look to Botox, fillers, lasers, and other energy-based technologies to look younger, without the major risks and fears associated with surgery.

Unfortunately, for some patients, fillers and Botox can’t do enough to rejuvenate the face. Often at this stage, a facelift is the most effective option. Furthermore, the results will last much longer than any filler or laser can achieve. A good facelift should give you a good result that will last around ten years. If you are in this category and are nervous about facial pain after facelift surgery, the good news is recovery is actually fairly smooth.

What To Expect For Your Facelift Recovery

None of us like pain. But pain in the face seems much more scarier. Having your face cut on is not something we relish. Many people naturally think a facelift will cause a lot of postoperative pain in your face. This myth may dissuade many people from choosing a facelift. Fortunately, there is not much pain at all after a facelift. The incisions and flap elevation disrupt the sensory nerves of your face. So after a facelift, patients don’t complain of much pain at all. You can expect your face to feel fairly numb. The most common sensation reported by patients is a feeling of tightness and perhaps mild soreness. If a patient feels significant pain, that is usually a sign of a hematoma, or blood clot in your face. A normal facelift should not have any pain postoperatively, so presence of pain is actually a clue that a patient has an unexpected complication. If you feel pain after surgery, you need to inform your surgeon immediately so that he or she can quickly examine you and make sure everything is progressing well. If you do have a hematoma, then that needs to be fixed immediately to prevent any further damage or problems. Fortunately, hematomas following facelifts are quite uncommon.

Facelift Post-Op Tips

Things you can do to minimize postoperative bleeding are avoiding certain medications before and after surgery, not drinking alcohol, and not doing any strenuous activities after surgery. Common medications to avoid include aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like Motrin or Naprosyn, and certain supplements. For example, taking high doses of vitamin E or fish oil can increase your risk of bleeding after surgery. If you follow your surgeon’s instructions, you can expect a smooth recovery that is not very painful.

For more information about facelifts and how to ensure a smooth recovery from facelift surgery, contact Dr. Kenneth Yu, facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, and his qualified team of experts serving the San Antonio, Texas area. To schedule a consultation, please contact our Concierge Patient Coordinator at 210-876-6868.