Many of my patients are concerned about when they can expect to be ready to attend social events after facelift surgery. It is a commonly asked question, and although there is no exact answer, I have this general advice about the recovery cycle.

It is important to realize that everyone heals at a different rate. There is swelling and bruising after a facelift that is unavoidable. Some patients bruise and swell more than others. Strict adherence to a low activity level post-operatively can speed resolution of swelling. All sutures are removed and most of the bruising has resolved within ten to twelve days in the majority of patients. At this point, the majority of patients feel comfortable running an errand or two.

You can anticipate that within three weeks after your facelift you will be ready to have a meal with friends or family without undue concern about your appearance. Cosmetics can be used to disguise unresolved bruising as well as cover healing scars; any swelling that remains is likely to be unnoticed by your companions. You may even get plenty of compliments about how rested and relaxed you look!

If you are anticipating a high-profile event such as a family wedding, awards luncheon, or social gala, it is always best to plan your surgery a minimum of six to eight weeks in advance. If you need to be perfectly fit for your event, rest assured you can resume your exercise routine slowly at three weeks post-operatively. Scars are easily covered with makeup at four to six weeks following surgery. Many patients feel photo ready at this point, but I feel patients look their best at eight weeks or more post-operatively.

To plan for facelift surgery in preparation for a major event, it is always best to consult with your plastic surgeon well in advance. She can advise you on her suggested timetable for recovery based on the techniques used in your facial rejuvenation. Because each surgical approach is tailored to the individual, recovery times can vary accordingly; this is especially true if a comprehensive cosmetic improvement is desired that may involve other surgeries such as an eyelid lift.

It is vitally important to follow recovery instructions after any surgery, and a cosmetic procedure is no exception. Don’t rush back into a busy social schedule; I suggest a low-key reentry back into your outings and engagements. You might begin by pampering yourself with a quiet evening dining out, maybe at Phoenix’s Tarbells or one of the Mastro restaurants in the Scottsdale area. Enjoying a delicious meal, on your own or with a close friend, is a good first step toward resuming your normal activities after cosmetic surgery.

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