There is minimal discomfort with neck lifts. Pain medication is prescribed, but it is unlikely to be needed for more than a day or two following your procedure.
Patients will experience swelling, but the primary sensation is numbness on the neck, the sides of the face, and even the lips. The lip numbness resolves in about 24 hours, and the remaining numbness steadily subsides over the subsequent weeks. If a drain is placed, you may experience a slight pinching in that area when you move your head, but that is relieved with the removal of the drain, probably a day or two after your procedure.
Your sutures may feel like stiff tiny bristles as you try to find a comfortable position on your pillow to sleep, but again, this vanishes when the sutures are removed five to seven days after your procedure. Suture removal can be done at either Dr. Delgado’s San Francisco office or his Marin County office near Santa Rosa.
As the swelling may cause soreness in your jaw hinge (temporal mandibular joint), you should plan on eating soft foods the first two days after your procedure. You may also be aware of mild, intermittent discomfort in your throat due to irritation caused by the breathing tube in place during your procedure. Throat tissue heals very quickly, and this feeling will also disappear after a couple of days.
The most challenging part of your recovery will probably be getting comfortable enough to sleep in the recommended elevated position. A recliner is very helpful for this, but you can replicate one reasonably well with a good pillow supply. Rest your back and head against a stack of three or four pillows and place one or two pillows under your knees to keep your lower back comfortable and to avoid sliding down out of the elevated position. Adhering to this regimen for the first week after your surgery is the most effective way to keep your swelling at a minimum.
Most of the swelling will resolve in four to five days, as long as you sleep elevated and wear the compression band continually. By the eighth night, you may reduce the use of the compression band to nighttime during your sleeping hours. It is advisable to sleep with the compression band in place for one or two months following your procedure. This will continue to keep fluid from accumulating in the chin area, especially following a day of excessive activity.
The bruising will be entirely gone by two weeks, or even sooner. Makeup may be applied after one week. Most patients return to work or social activities after ten to fourteen days. Strenuous physical exercise should be avoided for four to six weeks following surgery as it can trigger swelling.