At the Torgerson Clinic in Yorkville, Toronto, we know facelifts. We deliver some of the most advanced techniques for this rejuvenating facial surgery available anywhere, and the various methods of face-lifting are some of our most requested cosmetic procedures year after year. So based on our experience, we’re going to reveal to you the 3 most unexpected ways to be happier with your facelift recovery.

Dr. Cory Torgerson is a facial and nasal plastic surgeon specializing in the head and neck. He genuinely enjoys the artistry and advanced science behind the long-lasting, anti-aging effects of a well-executed facelift. He provides clients with detailed post-operative care and recovery instructions. At his practice, some of the same issues, concerns, and advice come up again and again for most of his clients. In fact, various patients, no matter their age, their gender, or the type of procedure they’ve had, will often benefit from some of the same tried and true advice for healing well.

We’ve developed the “hacks” below for ensuring the most comfortable and positive recovery after a facelift. Keep in mind that your facial plastic surgeon will have specific instructions and restrictions for you, depending on your personal situation, so you’ll need to defer to them. But these tips help make for a happier recovery, and we want that for you.

If a facelift doesn’t affect your body, why do you need time off?

The functional limitations after any facial cosmetic procedure don’t prevent you from using your arms and legs. You certainly won’t be bed-ridden after surgery, and your surgeon will ask you to make sure you’re up and walking around regularly. So what are the physical restrictions, and how can a person minimize them while staying safe and healing well? The answer brings us to the first recovery hack:

1. Do a whole lot of shopping before your facelift

You won’t have trouble breathing after a facelift (unless you also underwent a rhinoplasty simultaneously), and your vision won’t be obscured (as it can be temporarily after a blepharoplasty). You’ll be able to talk and eat regularly, but for roughly a week post-op you’ll be taking pain medication that makes driving a car off limits. In addition to that, your face will be swollen.

Facial tissue is extremely vascular. It’s the reason that while post-operative pain is usually very minimal (yay!), the amount of inflammation and bruising that you see puffing up and discolouring skin could be significant.

The swelling usually peaks around Day 3 and will slowly resolve after the first week, but you’re not going to look like yourself during that time. A comfy, stretchy facial garment wrapped around your head, a few stitches, some bruising, and a rounded face will all be your “new normal” for a little while. If you’re like most facelift patients, you’ll want to hide out until you look and feel more like yourself again. We understand perfectly, and this is why we advise our clients to go on a practical shopping spree before their OR day.

You’ll want to ensure you have household cleaners and other supplies, plus plenty of nutritious food on hand. Your prescriptions can be filled ahead of time, and you can purchase extra firm pillows, bendy straws, books, and magazines – everything you’ll want to be surrounded with for a comfortable, relaxing staycation. It can be especially helpful to purchase or prepare complete meals so you don’t need to stand over a stove when you’d rather be reclining on the couch.

One of the most restrictive elements that busy men and women contend with after a facelift in Toronto is the social factor. Many people feel self-conscious and prefer to keep their procedure private. The amount of time they choose to stay hidden depends on each unique surgery method and personal comfort level.

Trust us — running errands ahead of time so you don’t have to after your facelift reduces social stress and helps you enjoy your time staying in much more.

2. Share your concerns and alleviate anxiety

The Internet is an excellent source of education and can offer guidance . . . or it can lead people planning for surgery to be positively anxiety-ridden and stressed out. Dr. Torgerson is pleased to provide a wealth of detailed procedure information on his website, which serves as a convenient resource for new and existing patients.

We find that the usual expected aspects of facelift recovery can be more concerning or confusing for people who are either poorly prepared or afraid to ask questions. Most of the time, receiving an answer from your surgeon or their staff will immediately put your mind at ease and ensure a far happier recovery.

Bruising, swelling, a sensation of tightness, tingling, itching, and other feelings can be expected. Some of these are unavoidable effects of tissue trauma, and others are positive signs of healing. To reduce swelling and minimize discomfort, your facial surgeon will advise you to avoid bending over, strenuous exercise, heavy lifting, or any other activity that could increase your blood pressure. In a further effort to reduce the pressure in your face, we advise people to elevate the head of their bed and ensure that when they sleep or recline for the first few weeks, the head and shoulders are at a 30- to 45-degree elevated angle, not lying down flat.

If you have pain that is not relieved with your prescribed medication or if you experience any sensation that concerns you, it’s quite all right to contact your surgeon’s office and let them know. In rare cases, a real problem could be averted this way. More often, you’ll find out what’s causing the sensation and be provided with a solution to relieve it. It’s always best to ask if you’re not sure.

We recommend that you ask plenty of questions before your procedure to alleviate anxiety after. Then, once you’re recovering at home, don’t sit with a problem or concern unnecessarily. Don’t go searching for random advice on the Internet either. Iinstead, contact your surgeon’s office and share your concern to get reassurance and mental relief.

3. Plan for long-term patience

One of the toughest things about recovery after any cosmetic procedure is that you’re somewhat limited by the human body’s natural healing progression. When tissue is injured, the healing cascade leads to clotting; inflammation; tissue repair via the stimulation of new blood vessels, collagen, and elastin; and so on. The cellular processes occurring on the micro level cannot be rushed beyond getting plenty of rest, ensuring a healthy diet, and avoiding detrimental activities.

Speaking of activities to avoid a facelift, make sure that you protect your incisions, as directed by your surgeon. That means no baths, swimming pools, hot tubs, or other sources of infection until those facelift incisions are completely healed. As well, smoking or any nicotine product is to be avoided because it limits blood flow and could delay wound healing. When you’re following instructions to protect scars from the sun, prevent infection or irritation, and minimize scarring, all that remains is for you to be patient.

People who have unrealistic expectations beforehand are often unsatisfied with the outcomes of cosmetic surgery. Unfortunately, facelift before and after pictures can be incredibly inspiring and motivating, but they may give the impression that the “after” follows closely behind the “before”.

Several months usually pass before all residual swelling has left the soft facial tissue. While you can expect to look dramatically improved (and often very good) by just a month or two post-op, the further healing and refining of details will unfold slowly and subtly.

Numbness and tingling last up to a year

A loss of skin sensation around the neck or ears (near your incisions) is expected during recovery after a facelift, but if a person doesn’t know how long it takes for nerves to regenerate, they may fear that something is wrong with them. Tingling, zapping, or numb sensations usually serve as a warning signal to tell your brain something isn’t right, so it’s difficult to override that worry and trust that you’re on track. You can expect some odd (but tolerable) sensation as nerves regrow throughout the first year. Let your surgeon know if you have any concerns about your experience.

Scars will take a year to mature

Choosing a top facial plastic surgeon will help ensure that your facelift scars are well hidden and expertly created. The fine lines initially appear reddish and raised, but over time the scar fibres soften and relax while the colour fades. It’s essential that you protect those scars from tanning. In reaction to the sun’s rays, scar tissue can permanently darken, and you probably don’t want that. If after 6 months, your scars are not fading and flattening as you’d like, your surgeon can advise laser treatments and various interventions to help flatten and diminish them.

As with all tissue changes and healing, it’s essential to pack your patience and set out with the expectation that your final results will take a long time to reveal. If you start with that realistic perspective, anything faster will feel like a gift.

Dr. Cory Torgerson – Facial Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Torgerson is skilled in performing mini facelifts, midface and neck lifts, and deep plane facelifts in Toronto. A multitude of anti-aging facial procedures can be custom-tailored just for you and your unique needs.

At the Torgerson Clinic, we don’t offer a one-size-fits-all approach, but each client’s aesthetic goals and expectations are considered while providing a treatment plan that suits them best. We ensure detailed facelift recovery guidance and care so that each patient enjoys their experience, not just the beautiful outcomes.

We invite you to schedule your complimentary consultation and take the next step toward an exciting new look today.

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Dr. Cory Torgerson
Dr. Cory Torgerson
Dr. Cory Torgerson is one of Canada’s most talented and prominent facial plastic surgeons, focusing on head & neck facial surgery. Dr. Torgerson has been frequently invited to teach and lecture on these topics across North America. He has hospital privileges at Sunnybrook Hospital, one of the premier hospitals in the University of Toronto Health Network.
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