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What to Expect With Facelift Recovery

Your vibrant, youthful facial expression has successfully resisted time and gravity for years, even decades. When skin begins to lose tone and flexibility, as it ultimately will, it’s not an occasion to surrender, but instead to reset the clock.

Facelift can restore the buoyancy and suppleness you remember. By tightening sagging, stretched skin, facelift softens and revitalizes your features, brightening your expression and enhancing your self-confidence. Below, experienced Virginia Beach plastic surgeon Dr. Kevin Bounds discusses what to expect during a key phase of the procedure: the recovery.

The Healing Process

Recovery begins the moment you awake from the surgery. As the anesthesia wears off, you will feel tightness and tenderness near your incisions. The area will be covered with a dressing that will also hold in place tubes to drain excess blood and reduce swelling.

Swelling will actually increase in the first three days. You will have bruising and experience periods of discomfort. Pain should never be severe; in fact, you will probably only need pain medication for a few days. Anything more than moderate pain is a sign of a possible complication. During this phase you may feel some minor numbness and tightness of the skin, but these side effects will not last long. Your skin may feel dry and rough for a few months.

Your Role in Recovery

It’s important not to rush your recovery. Plan to stay home for one to two weeks. You should be able to resume most normal activities in a month, although your face will continue to heal for up to a year. You will notice an immediate change from your facelift, but the final result will take one to four months to become apparent, as swelling and bruising subside.

As soon as possible, you should begin walking around to boost circulation, support optimal healing and prevent blood clots. Straining, lifting and bending should be avoided, however. By the second day, you will be able to wash your hair, and you can use makeup again in about two weeks.

You probably won’t need to be told to sleep on your back. It will be the most comfortable position, and will help promote successful healing. Your head should also be elevated to reduce swelling. You will follow this nighttime routine for at least two weeks.

Eat healthfully, get plenty of rest, and follow the postoperative routine recommended by your surgeon. As a general rule, you should avoid alcohol, niacin and aspirin products. You will return to Plastic Surgery of Virginia Beach the day after your surgery, and again within the week for removal of sutures. If your procedure involved placement of staples in the scalp, those will be removed within two weeks.

To learn more about facelift and other rejuvenating procedures, schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Bounds at his Virginia Beach office by calling or emailing us today.


  • Dr Bounds and his staff made all of my worries melt away. They helped me feel confident, not only with them but about myself. Each time I go in, it feels like going to see friends. Thank you Dr Bounds for giving me my MOUNDS. The size is perfect and they look and feel natural. I couldn’t have asked for a better result or doctor.-Trophy Wife

  • Dr. Bounds, is amazing he will keep you looking natural and enhance your own beauty.

  • Two months before my 50th bday I made my first appointment for Botox and filler with Dr.Bounds.I’d heard incredible feedback from a trusted & beautiful client of mine.His caring and professional staff make me feel like an old friend every time I come in.He is thorough in explaining procedures he can perform and the products he uses.Dr.Bounds shows amazing attention to detail& never forgets to ask how I’m doing as he works.I fear less the process of aging since finding Dr.Bounds & his staff.I love how natural I look…just a lot younger!

Plastic Surgery, Dr. Kevin Bounds, Plastic Surgery of Virginia Beach, VA