My mother wants a complete facelift. I think she is too old for this operation. I worry that she won’t heal and I am also concerned that she will have a lot of pain. She is 77 years old. Can you tell me what she has in store for herself after the surgery in terms of the pain and being able to take care of herself?
I have taken care of a number of patients well into their 70’s for full facelifts and other procedures. You are smart for doing some of the research for her and especially focusing on the safety issues related to a facelift as well as the outcome. Although your mother is 77 in chronological age, I am certain that she simply does not feel “77” and when she looks at the person staring back at her in the mirror she is a little confused and perhaps a little depressed. Simply, she has the desire to look as young as she feels. Facelifts should be performed in such a way that when the healing has taken place, you should look refreshed, younger, but, not different. Although a facelift requires a great deal of surgery, the recovery from the procedure is actually not as difficult as one would think. Pain is generally not an issue. Pain medications are given for discomfort, but, most patients do not experience significant pain. I use a pressure dressing following surgery, and this can be uncomfortable but, not painful. I change the original dressing to a smaller one on the first post operative day. Your mother can expect bruising and swelling of the face and neck following the procedure but, this will subside over one or two weeks post operatively. I would suggest staying with her for several days following surgery, but, I really like my patients to be up and ambulatory the first day following surgery. She will likely be able to take care of herself after a few days, but, it is nice to have someone around until I see her the for her second postoperative visit.
Posted by Dr. Philip Schoenfeld