Facelift (Rhytidectomy): Post-operative instructions


Get plenty of rest and don’t do anything requiring other than minimal exertion for two weeks following surgery. Avoid jogging calisthenics, aerobics, weight-lifting, sit-ups or other similar vigorous activities. Avoid bending over and avoid lifting. Do not drive for one week. Be careful not to strain your neck.


Do not shower or take a hot bath until the bandages have been removed, at which time we will wash your hair. You should was your face and hair the day after your bandages have been removed. Any mild type of shampoo or soap will do, and use cream rinse to help soften hair. Shower at least once a day until the sutures are removed.


Cold compresses may be applied for comfort around the eyes.


Use a Q-tip to clean crusts around sutures with antibiotic ointment.


It is advisable to sleep at a 45° angle for the first five to seven days after surgery. This helps with the natural drainage of fluids in the facial area and helps decrease the swelling. If you can, sleep on your back rather than your side.


You should not use any type of hair coloring or tinting until at least four weeks after surgery. If needed, you may color your hair a few days before surgery. Avoid the use of hair dryers, hot curlers, or curling irons since sensation on the scalp is temporarily decreased and/or absent, and usage may result in scalp burns. It takes about six months to feel “normal” again in the scalp area.


You may take Extra-Strength Tylenol or you prescribed pain medication every four hours, if needed. Avoid any activity immediately after taking the medication as you may experience some drowsiness. Avoid using tranquilizers or sleeping pills while taking narcotics as this combination may be too strong for you. Avoid alcohol of taking narcotic pain medications. Colace (an over-the-counter stool softener medication) is effective to treat constipation, which often occurs with the use of narcotic pain medications.


You may be quite swollen, black and blue, with lumps and bumps for several days or weeks after surgery. This swelling and discoloration may be different on the two sides of the face and neck. This is normal. Remember that each side of the face heals somewhat independently of the other side.


There will be areas of numbness and tightness. Because the neck muscles are tightened with the facelift, you may also feel what patients describe as a “tight band” under the chin and upper neck area. This diminishes over the course of several weeks.


You may begin to gradually return to preop activities such as jogging, bicycling, and aerobics 2 1/2 weeks after surgery. Remember, if it hurts, you are overdoing it!


Make-up and moisturizers may be worn on all skin areas where there are no stitches.


There are aestheticians available by appointment to consult with you. Please speak with Dr. Yaremchuk or the nurses about arrangements to make an appointment if you are interested.


Avoid sun directly on the operated area for two weeks to three months. You may, however, be out in the sun using 30 SPF sunblock and a hat.


If there are any questions, contact the nursing staff at (617) 267-0710.


Call Dr. Yaremchuk's office to make your follow-up appointment.

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