Pre and Post-Operative Instructions for Your Facelift Surgery

Please read these instructions before and after your surgery. Carefully following these guidelines will help you obtain the best possible result. Take this information with you on the day of surgery so you can begin following the instructions that day. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact our office. We want you to have a pleasant and enjoyable experience.

Preparing for Eyelid Surgery

  • Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications), Vitamin E, herbal supplements or any medications containing these compounds for two weeks before surgery. Acetaminophen (Tylenol or generic equivalent) and a multivitamin are fine.
  • Avoid hair coloring, perms, or other hair treatments for 2 weeks before and 4 weeks after surgery
  • Refrain from smoking two weeks before and two weeks after surgery. Nicotine and tobacco smoke delay healing and can result in scarring. This is the perfect time to give up the habit.
  • Avoid sun damage two weeks before surgery. While we recommend wearing a SPF 30 or higher, our physicians and staff wear a SPF 50 every day.
  • Your prescriptions for after surgery (typically an antibiotic and pain med) will be given to you the day of surgery.
  • Purchase the following non-prescription items:
    • Sinecch—herbal supplement which helps reduce swelling and bruising. This is only available through our office and is optional.
    • Vaseline ointment
    • Stool softener (docusate) – decreased activity, use of pain meds, and anesthesia pre-dispose some people to constipation.
  • Do not eat or drink anything, including water, after midnight the night before your surgery.
  • Arrange for someone to take you home from the hospital. You will not be allowed to drive or leave alone. Arrange for someone to stay with you for the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • Make arrangements to stay in the Kansas City area on the night of your surgery if you live more than an hour’s drive away.

On the day before Surgery

You may be given an approximate arrival time for your surgery at your clinic visit. On the day before surgery you will receive a phone call informing you of the exact time to report to the surgery center.

If your surgery is scheduled at KU MedWest, you can expect a phone call from the Pre-op nurse several days in advance of surgery. If you have not heard from them by noon on the day before surgery, you may reach them by calling (913) 588-2279.

If your surgery is scheduled at KU Hospital, you will receive a call from the Otolaryngology and Facial Plastic Surgery Coordinator on the day before surgery. If you have not received a call by noon, please call her at (913) 588-6522.

Day of Surgery

  • Do not eat or drink anything, including water, the morning of surgery. Essential meds may be taken with a sip of water.
  • Take the first dose of the herbal supplement Sinecch.
  • Wash your hair either the evening before or the morning of surgery. Do not use any styling products or sprays.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes that fasten in front or back. Avoid slipover clothing.
  • Leave all valuables at home; do not wear jewelry.
  • Do not wear any facial or eye make-up. Avoid nail polish.
  • You may wear glasses but do not wear contact lenses.
  • If you wear dentures, keep them in.

Post-Operative Care

  • Iced gauze pads (gauze pads dipped in ice water and wrung out) should be applied to the eyes and cheeks for the first 48 hours to minimize swelling and discoloration.
  • Severe pain or swelling, especially if greater on one side, is uncommon—if you experience this notify us.
  • You may wash your face but keep the dressing dry.
  • Keep your head elevated to minimize swelling. A recliner works well or adding an extra pillow on your bed is adequate.
  • Leave bandages on until we remove them in the office. On the day of surgery arrangements will be made for you to be seen in the office the morning after surgery. A lighter dressing will replace the original one. You will be instructed to remove the dressing 2 days later. You may shower and wash your hair once the dressing is removed.
  • Our office will supply you with a supportive elastic facial sling which you will need to wear day and night for the first 7 days after the dressing is removed. You will need to wear it at night for the following 1-2 weeks.
  • Don’t be concerned if the eyes, cheeks, and neck show some swelling or bruise discoloration after removal of the dressing – this usually resolves within 2 weeks. In certain patients, it may require six months for all swelling to completely subside.
  • Apply a thin layer of Vaseline ointment to all incisions 3 times a day once dressings have been removed and continue until 2 days after the sutures are removed.
  • Baby Shampoo or a clarifying shampoo works best to remove the ointment from your hair and scalp.
  • Avoid foods requiring prolonged chewing and avoid excessive facial movements for one week.
  • Brush teeth gently with a soft toothbrush only. Avoid manipulation of upper lip and cheeks. You may have difficulty opening your mouth wide or turning your head. As healing takes place and swelling subsides this will improve. In the meantime, avoid any stretching facial movements.
  • Avoid extreme physical activity including athletic activities and intercourse. You may resume light walking three days after surgery. Aerobic exercise, weight training, heavy lifting, and straining may be gradually resumed three weeks after surgery.
  • Absolutely avoid sun exposure, sun lamps, or tanning beds for six weeks after surgery. Heat may cause your face to swell. While we recommend wearing a SPF 30 or higher, our physicians and staff wear a SPF 50 every day.
  • Take only medications prescribed by your doctor. You will receive prescriptions for pain medication and an antibiotic. The pain medication along with reduction in physical activity may cause constipation. A stool softener such as Docusate, which is available over the counter, will prevent or alleviate this.
  • Makeup may be used 5-7 days after surgery (except on the incisions). Make-up may be applied on the incisions 2 days after the sutures are removed.

DON’T TAKE CHANCES! If you are concerned about anything you consider significant, call us at our 24 hour number (913) 588-6701.