Congratulations on your decision to have a facelift! This information sheet is designed to give you some general guidelines on what to expect before and after your surgery.
- Make sure you have all of your questions and concerns answered by Dr. Healy or his staff before your surgery. There is no such thing as a dumb question. We want you to have the best information available to help you make the best decisions for yourself.
- Don’t take any aspirin, ibuprofen, motrin, advil or medications that contain these substances for two weeks prior to your surgery. These medicines affect the platelets in your blood and cause excessive bruising and swelling and can lead to bleeding complications.
- Make arrangements to have somebody drive you to and from the hospital on the day of surgery and to your follow-up appointments for the first few days after surgery. You’ll need some extra help around the house for the first several days after surgery as well.
- Pick up all of your prescriptions before your surgery date if possible. You should receive your prescriptions when you come for your pre-op visit.
- Get a good nights rest before your surgery. It’s normal to be a little nervous prior to your procedure but try to get some rest.
- Don’t eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours before your surgery time.
DAY OF SURGERY
- You will need to be at the office or surgery center at the scheduled arrival time.
- You can park at the surgery center parking garage. Bring your parking ticket to the registration desk so it can be validated.
- Check in at the front desk at the office or surgery center. You will need a photo ID. The surgery center fee is included in the price of your surgery. Dr. Healy’s office will pay the surgery center fee prior to your registration.
- Wear loose fitting clothing to the hospital preferably with a shirt that buttons in the front. You cannot wear a shirt that needs to be pulled over the head. Leave jewelry, valuables, contacts, etc. at home.
- You will change into a gown and a nurse will start an IV.
- Dr. Healy will see you in the holding area before your surgery. Any last minute questions can be addressed at this time. Dr. Healy will do some measuring and marking on your face and neck.
- The anesthesiologist will meet you and review your health history and talk to you about the anesthesia plan.
- The actual surgery time will be about 4 to 8 hours depending on what procedures are done. After surgery you will be taken to the recovery room. You will stay there for about 1-2 hours as you wake up from the anesthesia. Once you are awake, your pain is controlled and you feel comfortable you will be discharged from this area.
- Your escort can wait for you during the surgery or they can leave their phone number with the nurse and they will be called when it is time for you to go home.
- You will be sleepy after your surgery. Go home and rest. Take your medicines as directed.
- You can eat or drink whatever you want after surgery. You might be a little nauseated from the anesthesia (take your nausea medicine) and at the very least make sure you drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated.
- Your head will be wrapped with a bulky bandage after surgery. Leave this on until your post-op visit with Dr. Healy. You will likely want to bring a big floppy hat or scarf to disguise your big bandage on the way home.
- You can walk around the house the day of your surgery.
- You will have some pain and this is expected. Take the pain medicine as needed. Don’t try to grin and bear it. Do not drink any alcohol when you are taking the pain medicine.
- Your first post-op visit will usually be the following day with Dr. Healy. At this visit the bulky bandage will be removed. You will likely want to bring a big floppy hat or scarf to help disguise your surgery. You will have some swelling and bruising. This is normal and will slowly resolve over the first few weeks.
- Try to minimize your activity for the first several days. Walk around the house but don’t do much more than that. Get plenty of rest. When you lie down, keep your head and back elevated on a pillow. Do not allow the pillow to bend your neck forward as this will interfere with the healing of your neck. When watching TV or reading it is best to keep your chin up, this can be accomplished by placing your elbows on your knees and looking forward. This will help the swelling go down more quickly. If you had surgery on your eyes, use the ice packs as instructed or place a bag of frozen peas on your eyes periodically to decrease the bruising and swelling.
- Your incision will be around your ears and in your hairline. Antibiotic ointment (bacitracin, neosporin, etc.) should be placed on the incision line twice a day. Do not put Vitamin E on the incision. Despite what you hear or read, vitamin E does not help prevent scars and can actually make them worse. The best things you can do for your scar is to keep the incisions clean with soap and water and avoid sun exposure. When you are outside put at least a SPF 30 sunscreen on the incisions. It will take at least one year to get the final result as far as the appearance of your scars. The suture and staples will be removed at 5-10 days after your surgery.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- When can I go back to work?
This depends on what type of work you do. In general plan to be off of work for 7-10 days. It may take a little longer for some patients especially if your job is physically demanding.
- When can I exercise?
You can walk the day of your surgery and gradually increase your distance and time each day. You can’t do any strenuous exercise (running, aerobics, and weight lifting) for 6 weeks. Even though you will feel good after a couple of days it takes 6 weeks for the tissues to heal. When you start exercising again the key is to go slow and listen to your body. If you’re having a lot of pain with exercise you need to slow down.
- When can I shower?
In general you can shower 24 hours after your surgery. You can wash your hair at that time. Do not color your hair for at least six weeks after surgery. No soaking in a tub, pool or ocean for at least 2 weeks.
- When can I drive?
Usually around 1 week after surgery. If you are taking the narcotic pain medicine you cannot drive. You will be considered under the influence and could cause injury to yourself and others. Have someone else drive you until you no longer are taking the narcotic pain medicine.
- When can I have sex?
Usually after 1 week. Be cautious and listen to your body.
- What can I do to make the scars look better?
Keeping the wounds clean with soap and water and just being patient is the best treatment. The final appearance of your scars may take up to 1 year. Despite what you hear and read, vitamin E does not help the scars look better and may actually make them look worse. There is no scientific proof that any of the other ointments and creams you read about make any difference in your scar appearance.
- What are the signs of an infection?
Usually you will get a fever, develop redness around the incision and may get drainage from the incision. It is important to take all of your antibiotics to help minimize the risk of infection. If you feel you have an infection notify Dr. Healy’s office.
- How often will I need to see Dr. Healy after my surgery?
In general you will see Dr. Healy the day after your surgery, 5-7 days after surgery for suture removal, 7-10 days after surgery for staple removal, then 1,3,and 6 months after surgery and then on a yearly basis. Some patients may require more frequent visits depending on their post-operative course. All of your post-op visits are included in the price of your surgery.
- Why does my mood change after surgery?
It is very common to go through periods of great happiness followed by mild depression after surgery. Part of this is due to the medication you are taking and part of this is the adjustment to the new you. When you are having pain or if you feel that the swelling and bruising is taking too long to go away you may wonder if it was all worth it. The key is to be patient. Don’t be afraid to discuss these ups and downs with Dr. Healy and his staff. Gradually you will feel better and better and you will definitely feel that the whole experience was worth it.