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    Post Operative


    Temporary bruising, swelling and numbness are common the first night after surgery.  You may need to go to the bathroom frequently during the night because of the IV fluids you were given during your surgery. Drink a lot of fluids in order to keep up with this fluid loss. As your body begins to balance itself out, it will rid itself of this extra “water weight and everything will return back to normal. You should leave all of your bandages intact overnight including your Bra and elastic ACE wrap.


    The next morning following your surgery, you will return to Dr Motykie’s office for your first post-operative visit. You should leave all bandages and dressings intact overnight and until you reach the office the following morning.  Upon arrival to the office you will be escorted to a private examination room where your dressings will be changed and your operative sites will be evaluated. If a drain was placed during your surgery, it will most commonly be removed at this visit. After your examination, you will be placed back into your neck compression wrap and you will be allowed to return back to your home. You face and neck will most likely be bruised and swollen and it is therefore best to keep your head elevated for the first few days after surgery. The sensation/feeling in your face and neck may be diminished following surgery and may take several months to return to normal. If fat grafting was performed along with your facelift do not apply ice to your face because it can cause damage to the fragile grafted fat. At this appointment, all of your questions will be answered and you will be given instructions for the following week.

    • Dressings: You will apply antibiotic ointment to your incision lines once a day. There are no other dressings to change.
    • Diet: Mostly patients start with a liquid diet the night after surgery. Usually by the next day most patients are back to a normal diet.
    • Medications: Some swelling, bruising and discomfort are normal immediately following surgery and it is typically controlled with your prescription pain medication. Do not take any other pain medication including Tylenol, aspirin or ibuprofen in combination with your pain medications unless you are given permission by Dr Motykie. You should begin you prescription antibiotics the morning following surgery and continue them for one week after surgery. A combination of Arnica Montana and Bromelain are encouraged after surgery in order to promote your healing process.
    • Surgical Garments: You will most likely have a neck compression wrap for the first week after surgery. You can remove this wrap in order to shower.
    • Bathing: Showering and bathing are permitted the very next day after surgery which requires removal of your compression garments.
    • Activity: Light activity is allowed and encouraged including moving about your house and going for walks outside in order to aid the circulation in your lower extremities. However, no heavy lifting or strenuous activity should be attempted during your first week of recovery.


    For the first week after surgery, the results of your surgery will typically be obscured by swelling and bruising. Any discomfort you feel can be relieved with your prescribed medications but most patients say that facelift surgery is almost “painless.” Most people return to work one week after surgery. Most patients can drive their vehicles within a few days after surgery, but plan on having someone drive you to your first few post-operative visits anyway. In regards to an exercise program, use common sense and use pain as your guide; if it hurts, simply don’t do it!  The majority of patients are allowed to return to light, low impact cardiovascular exercise after the first week of recovery. You can expect some loss of feeling in your face and neck caused by the swelling after surgery. This numbness usually fades away as the swelling subsides over the next several weeks or so.

    • Dressings: During this appointment, any non-dissolvable sutures will be removed and you will be instructed to apply an antibiotic ointment (Bacitracin and/or Neosporin) to the incision line once a day (The sutures behind the ears are dissolvable and do not need to be removed).
    • Medications: Some continued swelling, bruising and discomfort are normal and they are typically controlled with your prescription pain medication. You should also be finishing your prescription antibiotics at this time.  Arnica Montana and Bromelain may be continued for another week in order to promote your healing process. Avoid smoking and alcohol for 2 weeks after surgery.
    • Bathing: You may bath and shower freely during the second week after surgery.
    • Activity: You will most likely be able to return to work within a week after surgery depending on your job.  Aerobic and impact cardio exercise should be avoided for one to two weeks post-operatively. Weight lifting should be avoided for 3-4 weeks post-operatively. The resumption of and amount of physical/athletic activity should be guided by the level of patient discomfort with “pain” being the ultimate guide. Avoid direct sun exposure/tanning of the incision for several months after surgery.


    Depending on the amount of physical exertion required to perform your expected duties, you should already be back into your normal rhythm at work. Exercise and workout routines may begin at this point in your recovery process with pain as your ultimate guide. Any activity that causes discomfort and/or pain needs to be avoided until further along in your recovery process. When you return to the activity, start at half speed and increase to your normal routine as long as you do not feel any pain during and/or the day after your workout.  Although exercising will not adversely affect your end result, it may temporarily cause more swelling immediately after the exercise that will subside over the next few hours. The majority of my facelift patients are back to their regular workout routine within 4-6 weeks after their surgery. Over the next several months many of the benefits of your facelift surgery will begin to materialize and you will begin to enjoy the transformation you have received from your surgery.


    It is very common for patient to ask about the “1 hour” mini-facelift or feather lift which they have seen on a television commercial. These “lunch-time” lift infomercials often feature smiling, happy patients that underwent a quick surgery. Unfortunately, the results of the surgery will also quickly disappear along with the money that is spent on an inferior procedure. The term “mini” is possibly meant to evoke a feeling of something safer, less invasive or faster but in fact any facelift should have minimal downtown and quick healing when performed by a skilled professional. In fact the “contemporary” or any new fancy named lift (i.e. s-lift, feather lift, mini-lift, short scar lift, etc) is in fact almost exactly the same as the facelifts that were performed in the 1920’s.  None of these “franchise facelifts” are new or revolutionary and they often come with heavy advertising and little quality. I think the only major advancement in face lifting has come with tightening of the deep tissues of the face and the simultaneous addition of facial fat grafting (stem cells) which is why I have incorporated both techniques into the more advanced volumetric facelift that offers a longer lasting result with the exact same length incision as these so called “mini-lifts.” All patients vary in their ability and speed to recovery after surgery but most commonly you can expect the final result from surgery to be evident at six months after surgery.  By this point in time, you should start to appear more rested and youthful. Friends and family may begin to comment that you “look good” and may inquire as to what your secret is to looking so rested and youthful. Others may ask if you have lost weight and it will be up to you as to whether you want to disclose you own personal secret to the fountain of youth.

    To find out more about facelift surgery please contact us at 310-246-2355

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