How To Sleep Comfortably After a Facelift Surgery

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Facelift Surgery

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  • Place pillows under your head and neck to keep them elevated.
  • Try to avoid putting direct pressure on your face while sleeping.

Considering Facelift Surgery

As you get older, you may start to notice changes happening to your face and body, and these changes can be unsettling. While there’s nothing shameful about getting older, it can be unnerving to see that the face you’ve had your whole life is changing and may look less and less like you. This can be a scary thought, but it doesn’t have to be.

You’re lucky enough to live at a time when you don’t have to just sit back and watch the effects of time on your face. There are a variety of effective options to choose from when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. One of the most popular and most effective treatments we have to reverse signs of aging is a facelift.

What is Facelift Surgery?

A rhytidectomy, colloquially called a facelift, is an outpatient surgical procedure aimed at reversing signs of aging in the face and neck. The goal of the procedure is to obtain a more youthful appearance and look refreshed.

A facelift may correct signs of aging such as deep lines and folds, jowls, loose skin hanging from the face and neck, and skin drooping.

There are some procedures a surgeon may perform in conjunction with a facelift, such as an eyelid surgery or a brow lift, so the patient can achieve a more youthful appearance. A filler or fat transfer may further minimize signs of aging by making the face appear plumper and more hydrated.

Depending on how drastic you want the result to be, you can choose one of three types of a facelift:

  • Traditional facelift
  • Limited-incision facelift or mini-facelift
  • Neck lift

A traditional facelift provides the most drastic result by smoothing out the entire face.

A mini facelift is an effective option for those who have minimal loose skin.

A neck lift focuses on the lower part of the face, namely the neck and jowls.

While there are non-surgical options, the results are not on the same level as a facelift. They provide a more subtle change and may delay the visual process of aging, but those who wish to see a more significant difference in their face should opt for a facelift.

What Happens during Facelift Surgery?

If you decide to get facelift surgery, this is how your surgeon will perform the procedure:


During the surgery, your surgeon will recommend either a general anesthetic or an intravenous anesthetic; whichever one is best for your current condition. Either way, you won’t feel anything or be aware of your surroundings during surgery.

What to Expect When Recovering From a Facelift

After your surgery, you may have a bandage on your face and you might feel groggy from the anesthesia. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to take care of your face and may give you medication like painkillers and antibiotics.

You might feel groggy from the anesthesia, it’s normal to have some swelling and bruising and it may continue for a few days. It usually takes approximately two weeks to recover but you shouldn’t participate in vigorous activity until four weeks after surgery.

If your sutures aren’t dissolvable, you’ll have to get them removed in 5-10 days. This is also a good opportunity for your doctor to see how you’re healing.

Here are some tips to help with your recovery:

Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol

Alcohol dilates blood vessels which can cause excessive bleeding when you’re having surgery. Smoking constricts blood vessels, which can delay healing. It’s best to steer clear of anything that might jeopardize the healing process.

Keep the incision clean

You have to keep the incision site clean to avoid infection and obvious scarring. If it heals well, no one will even be able to tell you had a facelift.

Don’t move around too much

Moving your head around puts unnecessary strain on the incision site. You could end up with noticeable raised scars. You will probably be able to move your head without any problems after two to three weeks.

Stay out of the sun

Your face will be more sensitive to the sun right after the surgery and you will be more prone to sunburns. If you must go out in the sun, make sure you wear sunscreen with a high SPF. A wide-brimmed hat wouldn’t hurt either.

Eat healthy food

It’s crucial to eat nutritious food after surgery, even if you don’t feel like eating it. You need vitamins and minerals to keep your body working optimally. If you eat fewer calories, you could delay the healing process.

Sit upright as much as possible

Keeping the surgical site elevated for two weeks can help reduce swelling and promote healing.

Be aware of side effects

There are possible side effects to having a facelift. Some people experience thinning hair or hair loss near the temples, although your doctor will try to reduce the chances of this happening. You can help by not washing your hair for at least a day after your surgery and by waiting at least six weeks before having your hair cut or dyed.

Follow your aftercare instructions

Your doctor has created a personalized healing plan for you to have the greatest success with this procedure. It’s crucial that you adhere to this plan, including attending your follow-up appointment. It’s the best method you have of making sure everything is going smoothly.

What is the Best Sleeping Position After You’ve Had a Facelift

The best sleeping position after having a facelift is on your back with your head elevated.

After having facelift surgery, the position you sleep in can greatly affect how well you heal. While sleeping on your side might be the most comfortable position for some people, doctors don’t recommend it after having a facelift because it can promote swelling and prolong the healing process.

Additionally, contact between your incision and the pillow may cause irritation and make scarring more visible.

Sleeping on your back with your head elevated 30-45° for two to four weeks after your surgery may reduce swelling and speed up the healing process.

How to Sleep Comfortably After Having Facelift Surgery

It can feel strange to sleep on your back if you’re not used to it, but there are things you can do to help you stay in the right position and make you more comfortable. During this time, many people prefer to sleep in a reclining chair. It supports you in the best position for healing and when sleeping on a recliner, you’re at almost no risk of rolling over onto your incision.

While sleeping in a chair might seem weird and uncomfortable, keeping the fluid away from your head will probably make you feel much better. You might be okay with the trade-off.

If a recliner is not an option, you could try using a pillow with a hole in the middle to keep your head from moving. Otherwise, you can try propping up a pillow on either side of your head.

How Long Does a Regular Facelift Last?

A facelift is an effective solution but it doesn’t last forever. Unfortunately, your skin will continue to lose elasticity, and one day you’ll find that parts of your face are drooping again. The good news is you can expect a facelift to last approximately ten years on average.

Contact a Trusted Plastic Surgeon

You can look like yourself again. If you’re thinking about getting a facelift, Dr. James would be happy to help you through the process. Dr. James Wang is a board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon who specializes in cosmetic surgery to remove wrinkles in addition to multiple other cosmetic and reconstructive surgical procedures of the face, head, and neck.

Dr. James offers a wide range of cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeries, so you can easily choose the right one for you! Schedule a consultation today.

About The Author

Dr. James Wang - Facial Plastic Surgeon

By Dr. James Wang MD PhD

Dr. James C. Wang, MD and Ph.D., is the Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He graduated with Honors from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Sciences Program at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas.