Caring for Your Face Lift Incisions: Essential Tips for Healing
Incision Care in the Initial Post-Operative Phase
After your face lift surgery, it’s crucial to follow proper care instructions for your incisions. For the first 24 hours, avoid manipulating the incisions. They will typically be closed with non-absorbable sutures and may or may not have external dressings. In some cases, absorbable sutures may be used, and the incisions covered with steri-strips. At your initial post-operative appointment, any dressings will be removed, so it’s advisable to bring a scarf to cover your disheveled hair on the trip home. While showering, you can wash over the steri-strips or exposed suture material. However, avoid bathing or submerging the incisions for at least three weeks after the face lift surgery. When applying soap, rinse, and dry, be gentle and pat the incisions. After drying, steri-strip covered incisions require no further attention. In the case of exposed sutures, apply a thin layer of triple antibiotic ointment.
Incision Maintenance and Dressing Changes
Over time, steri-strips may fray, and you can trim them. Eventually, as very little is left behind, they can be removed, typically within 2-4 weeks. In some cases, additional tape may be used to relieve tension from the suture line or support healing tissue. If such tape is present, it will be reapplied at your first office visit, and you will be instructed on how to manage it at home.
Keeping Face Lift Incisions Clean and Dry
To promote the most aesthetically pleasing healing and minimize scarring, it’s important to keep the incisions clean and dry. Avoid allowing scabs to accumulate, and if present, gently remove them with a peroxide-soaked q-tip. While tending to the incisions, watch for any signs of problems. It is not standard to have drains placed during a face lift surgery. However, in some cases where bleeding is diffuse and cannot be addressed surgically, a drain may be left behind to prevent hematoma (blood collection). If drains are present, they will typically be removed within one to three days. Non-absorbable sutures, if used, will be removed seven days after the face lift surgery. Incisions behind the hairline or scalp will have clips or sutures removed 10-14 days after the procedure.
Sun Protection and Tanning
To protect the incisions and prevent potential complications, avoid exposing them to the sun or tanning UV light for at least one year. However, after four weeks, you may begin tanning while keeping the incisions covered. If sun exposure is unavoidable, use a product with a minimum SPF of 30. On the third day after the face lift surgery, discontinue the application of gel pads.
In conclusion, proper care of your face lift incisions is crucial for optimal healing and minimal scarring. Follow the provided tips for maintaining clean and dry incisions, removing scabs gently, and keeping them protected from sun exposure. If you notice any signs of complications, consult your your surgeon promptly. Remember, taking care of your incisions will contribute to achieving the best possible aesthetic outcomes.
Check out our gallery of before and after images for face lift here.