Does The Type Of Facelifts Affect One’s Recovery and How Long It Lasts?

Q : I am scheduled for a facelift next week.  My friend had hers last week.  We both go to the same plastic surgeon who is well known. I was shocked today when I saw my friend.  It appeared she had been beaten up and looked horrible. Granted it has only been six days but is this normal? When I asked the plastic surgeon about the swelling, he said my friend was still swollen.  He does the SMAS lift and pulls the skin as tight as he can knowing that in 3 months it will look normal. Is this routine?  I really want a natural look and now am not sure what to do.  Please advise.  Thanks.

A: Your concern is understandable and let me provide you with this analogy. Facelift results are a lot like getting a haircut. Sometimes in the beginning it looks bad right after, you think it looks good during the middle part of its growth cycle, and then dislike it again once it is too long or outgrown. That is analogous to a facelift because it is not a static result over time.

Meaning…if you have don’t do too much (conservative facelift) then your swelling will be more mild, recovery will be quicker, and your result will look more natural from the getgo…but the result may not last as long. If an aggressive facelift is done, one will have a lot of bruising and swelling (i.e., look awful) and look overdone in the beginning…but will relax into a more natural reesult much later and the results may last a little longer.

As you can see, the facelift operation is balance of how much recovery one can sustain for perhaps a longer lasting result. While everyone wants the best result possible that lasts the longest, the reality is that the initial and short-term recovery period from doing the most aggressive/extensive facelift is not for everyone. Unfortunately, plastic surgeons generally use whatever facelift technique that they prefer on everyone.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana