Common Side Effects after Facelift Surgery
Overcoming the physical signs of aging, such as sagging and creases in your face, may be your goal, but you should approach a surgical solution with your eyes wide open.
Side effects are to be expected with any surgical procedure and facelifts are no different. For most, however, the side effects are temporary. But each person’s recovery from surgery is unique and how you respond depends on a variety of factors, such as genetics, overall health, and lifestyle, as well as smoking, which interferes with healing.
Side effects will also differ based on the type of facelift you select and how invasive it is. In general, risks are similar for any facelift, but the degree of risk varies with how invasive the procedure is.
If you are interested in revitalizing your face, but would like to understand all aspects of a facelift, cosmetic surgeon Darrell Perkins is a plastic and reconstructive surgery specialist in Sydney, New South Wales, who can explain facelift side effects and determine if you are a good candidate.
Facelifts are relatively safe. Most side effects are a normal response to surgery and temporary, fading early in the recovery. Following pre- and post-operative instructions can decrease the chance of side effects.
Facelift side effects include:
- Swelling. This is the body’s normal response to surgery; however, the amount of swelling sometimes shocks patients. Though surprising, swelling will begin to decrease within days of surgery and eventually disappear.
- Haematoma. This is blood pooling under the skin. It may need to be drained or require additional surgery.
- Pain. This is a common side effect of any surgery. You will be given pain medication to control discomfort after your facelift and most patients report minimal pain.
- Numbness. Generally localised to incision sites, this is common and usually fades within a few days.
- Bruising. Bruising is most noticeable immediately after facelift surgery. It subsides within a week or two, with full healing taking typically three to four weeks.
- Scarring. All incisions leave scars but in a facelift, they are hidden as much as possible within the hairline and usually fade to pink, then white.
Many risks of a face lift are similar to those for any surgical procedure and include: reaction to anaesthesia, infection, and bleeding or blood clots. Some side effects specific to facelifts include:
- Injury to Facial Nerves. The more invasive the facelift, the greater the chance of injury to facial nerves, but, in general the risk is low. Nerve damage is usually temporary.
- Hair Loss. This is rare, but can occur in incision lines. It is usually temporary.
- Skin Discoloration. This is a rare condition that can last for several months.
- Skin Death. A rare complication in which skin dies. Smoking increases the risk.
- Skin Contour Irregularities. Irregularities or depressions may occur. These may improve with time or can be surgically corrected.
You should openly discuss questions with your surgeon so you understand what to expect after a facelift. We strive to educate our patients by providing them the necessary information and allowing them time to make an informed decision. If you would like to learn more about all aspects of facelifts, please call our offices.