Swelling is a common side effect of any surgery. It can occasionally cause discomfort, but usually resolves on its own within a week or so of surgery. When it comes to facelifts, swelling can be particularly troublesome because it distorts results and patients normally do not feel comfortable going out with swelling after a facelift.
To reduce swelling after a facelift, Dr. Santos will give various pre-operative and post-operative instructions. Before surgery, he will recommend stopping certain medications and supplements which can worsen bruising and swelling. This can include blood thinners and over the counter painkillers like Ibuprofen.
Immediately following surgery, Dr. Santos will wrap your incisions and head to prevent swelling. He may also give instructions like elevating the head of your bed 30 degrees for two weeks. This prevents fluid buildup and can reduce swelling after a facelift. Abstaining from work and strenuous activities will keep swelling at a minimum. While you should move around and walk, doing too much too quickly can worsen and prolong swelling.
Most patients see their swelling become nearly imperceptible in between 7-10 days. This will vary from patient to patient and residual swelling (which is typically not easy to see and easily covered with makeup) can last for a couple months.