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Face Lift


A face lift, or rhytidectomy, is surgery to remove signs of aging. It can tighten the skin and the underlying tissues of your face and neck.


Call your surgeon if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have trouble moving part of your face.
  • Your lip sags on one side.
  • Your face starts to swell and large bruises appear.
  • You have a fever.
  • Your incision area is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Antibiotics may be given to prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Sleep medicine may be given to help you rest.
  • Nausea medicine may be given to prevent nausea and vomiting.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • Keep your head and upper back elevated when you rest. Use a recliner or place extra pillows under your head and upper back when you sleep in bed. This will help decrease swelling. This is usually done for 6 weeks after surgery.
  • Apply ice on your face for 15 to 20 minutes every hour for the first 72 hours. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Ask about activity. Do not lift heavy objects until your surgeon says it is okay. Ask when you can return to your usual daily activities.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage and slow healing. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Care for your incision area as directed:

You may need to clean the incisions with hydrogen peroxide for the first 5 days. You may also need to use antibiotic ointment on the incision area. An elastic bandage is used at night for the first week after surgery. You may be able to take short showers starting on the second day after surgery. Check your incisions for redness, swelling, or drainage every day.

Follow up with your surgeon as directed:

You will need to return to have your surgery area checked and drain or stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.