Rhytidectomy; Cosmetic surgery of the face
The doctor may temporarily place a small, thin drainage tube under the skin behind the ear to drain any blood that might collect there. Your head will be wrapped loosely in bandages to minimize bruising and swelling. You should not have much discomfort after surgery, and you can relieve any discomfort you do feel with pain medication. Some numbness of the skin is normal and will disappear in a few weeks or months.
Your head will be raised on two pillows (or at a 30-degree angle) for a couple of days after surgery to keep the swelling down. The drainage tube will be removed 1 - 2 days after surgery if one was inserted. Bandages are usually removed after 1 - 5 days. Your face will look pale, bruised, and puffy, but in 4 - 6 weeks it will look normal.
Most of the stitches will be removed in 5 days. The stitches or metal clips in the hairline might be left in for a few extra days if the scalp takes longer to heal.
You should avoid:
You should be allowed to wear concealing makeup after the first week. Your doctor or nurse will give you instructions.
Mild swelling may continue for several weeks. You may also have numbness of the face for up to several months.
Most patients are pleased with the results.
You will have swelling, bruising, skin discoloration, tenderness, and numbness for 10 - 14 days after the surgery. Most of the surgical scars are hidden in the hairline or the natural lines of the face and will fade over time. Your doctor will probably advise you to limit your sun exposure.
Baker SR. Rhytidectomy. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, Robbins KT, Thomas JR. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 4th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2005:chap 30.
Miller TR, Eisbach KJ. SMAS facelift techniques to minimize stigmata of surgery. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2007;40:391-408.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885