The Realities of Recovering from a Mini Facelift

Mini Facelift

It’s been said that age brings wisdom, perspective, and reason. Unfortunately, it also brings signs of aging to our faces. We may have earned every wrinkle, but we don’t have to like it or live with it. 

Many people turn to facelift surgery when they feel younger on the inside than they look on the outside. The result of an expertly performed facelift can be a significantly more youthful appearance to the face and neck and a fantastic boost in self-confidence.  

Facelifts are the gold standard for rejuvenating the entire face and neck, but for many people, a facelift is just too aggressive. The downtime, cost, or risks of a major surgical procedure just don’t fit their lifestyle. Or they may only need a little lift around the neck and jawline.  

A mini-facelift is an excellent option if you want a more youthful appearance but aren’t quite ready for facelift surgery.  

What is a Mini Facelift?

A mini-facelift is a dialed-down version of a complete facelift. It focuses on lifting and tightening sagging skin in the lower face and neck using small incisions along the natural hairline.

Although the mini-facelift is a surgical procedure, it’s a shorter, less aggressive procedure with less downtime. It also produces less dramatic results. But it’s a good option if you’re looking for:  

  • A less invasive procedure
  • Smaller incisions
  • Shorter procedure 
  • Quicker recovery
  • Less drastic changes
  • Less cost 
  • Local anesthesia

The mini-facelift is done as an outpatient procedure with local anesthesia, which means you can go home the same day.

What are the Risks or Side Effects to a Mini Facelift?

Every surgical procedure comes with some side effects and possible risks. Because the mini-facelift is not done under general anesthesia, the risks are lower than with a complete facelift. The incisions are also much smaller. 

Common side effects are: 

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pain or discomfort

More serious risks are rare but possible:

  • Bleeding
  • Hematoma
  • Infection
  • Visible scarring
  • Earlobe deformity
  • Numbness

Carefully following the pre and post-operative instructions can minimize the risk of complications. Dr. Sidle and his staff will ensure you have the instructions and the support you need from the initial consultation all the way through recovery.

Mini Facelift Vs. Non-Surgical Procedures

A non-surgical facelift is a combination of minimally invasive procedures and non-nonsurgical enhancements. The goal is to rejuvenate your face with minimal discomfort and downtime. 

Non-surgical options are faster and more economical than a mini facelift, but they deliver less dramatic results and don’t last as long. They require repeat visits to maintain results. They’re a good option for someone who wants to refresh their look quickly without committing to a surgical solution.  

Non-surgical procedures include injectable options, laser treatments, chemical peels, and dermabrasion. In many cases, they can be combined with a mini-facelift to achieve the desired results.

Recovering from a Mini Facelift

After surgery, you can expect more youthful, fuller cheeks, tighter skin, less fullness in the jowls, and tightening of loose, sagging skin in the lower face and neck. But before you get to that point, you need to heal. Even though the mini-facelift is minimally invasive, it still takes delicate skin and muscles that take time to heal.  

The First 24 Hours

Immediately after surgery, you’ll need to take it easy, keep your head elevated, and restrict your movement. You’ll need another adult with you at home for at least the first 24 hours. You can expect your face to be wrapped in a compression bandage until your 24-Hour appointment, where we’ll remove it in the office. 

The First 72 Hours

During the first 72 hours, you’ll need to rest, relax, and focus on self-care. It’s essential to avoid any bending over, straining, or heavy lifting. You’ll also be wearing a supportive dressing that you can take off to bathe and clean your incisions. You’ll need to take special care of your face and especially your incisions until they heal.

After 1-2 Weeks

Your sutures can be removed in a week or two, and you will feel a little closer to normal. You’ll still notice some tightness and numbness, which will improve during weeks 6-12. After two weeks, most people are comfortable going out in public again. 

For the next several weeks, you’ll be healing. When the swelling and bruising have gone down, your younger features will really begin to emerge, but you may continue to see improvements for several months.

As you can see, recovery is a process – but we think you’ll agree it’s worth it in the end! 

Surgical Procedures Can Be Very Emotional 

As excited as you are to see your results, you may be surprised to find yourself feeling emotional after the procedure. That’s normal! Post-surgery blues are real. Here’s why: 

  • Anesthesia can continue to cause fatigue and depression for several weeks
  • Pain medications may make you feel unlike yourself
  • Physical restrictions after your procedure can make you feel bored or restless
  • Bruising and swelling will probably shock you, even though you’re expecting it
  • When you’re not feeling well physically, it can be hard to feel well mentally
  • You may feel both anxious and excited to see your results

Plan to rest and take good care of yourself while you heal. Stock your refrigerator with healthy food to promote healing and anything else that might make recovery easier for you. 

Additional Read: 10 Myths About Facelift Surgery Uncovered

Physical Recovery is Tied to Mental Well-Being

While you’re healing, be patient and gentle with yourself. You won’t look or feel like yourself at first, and that’s ok. It’s temporary. It will be easier if you have a sound support system in place. That means help with practical things like cooking, but also having someone to talk to. Even though you may not feel up to it, staying in touch with friends and family can help keep your spirits up. And that’s essential for your best healing.  

Research has shown that mental and physical health are closely linked. Good physical health positively affects mental health, and likewise, good mental health positively affects your physical health. 

So, an important part of preparing for your procedure is to plan for your emotional health while you recover. You’ll be glad you did.  

1. Trust the Healing Process  

Let’s be honest – it won’t be easy looking in the mirror after cosmetic surgery. When you’re so excited to see your more youthful face, the post-operative bruising and swelling can be a shock. Don’t worry, the results will start shining through in a few weeks.

Remember that you will heal completely within a few weeks, but you’ll have to go through the stages one at a time. 

Your body’s ability to heal is incredible. Rest and trust the process. You can support healthy healing by getting enough rest, drinking plenty of water, and eating healthy food during your recovery.

2. Follow Your Post Operative Instructions

Your post-operative instructions are the key to your best recovery. They give you step-by-step instructions for preparing to go home, caring for your dressings and incisions, handling discomfort, and when you can return to your normal activities and beauty routine. 

It is essential to follow your instructions precisely for optimal healing and beautiful results. Dr. Sidle and his staff will discuss your surgery and recovery plan at your consultation and will also be available for your questions and concerns during your recovery. 

Are you Interested in a Mini-Facelift?

We want you to love who you see looking back at you when you look in the mirror. If you don’t feel like the face in the mirror reflects the real you, we can help you find the best solution to regain your youthful appearance and rejuvenate your self-confidence.

Whether you’re looking for a small change or dramatic results, it’s essential that you have all the facts to make the right decision for your lifestyle. Your consultation with Dr. Sidle gives you a chance to ask the questions you need to be comfortable moving forward. 

Dr. Sidle is a double board-certified Facial Plastic Surgeon at Northwestern with special expertise in rejuvenating the eyes and face. His experience, technical expertise, and compassion make him one of the leading cosmetic surgeons in the Chicago area. He has built his reputation on excellent results and impeccable care for his patients.

Contact us or call our office at (312) 696-8185 for a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Sidle. 

About Douglas M. Sidle, MD, FACS

Dr. Sidle specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face, head, and neck. His services range from minimally invasive office procedures with little to no down time to major operations leading to dramatic improvements in appearance. Dr. Sidle is one of a select group of cosmetic surgeons who are “double boarded”. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
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