It is not a good idea to drive a car or engage in activities that depend on your coordination for 48 hours after your face lift surgery, or after taking any of the pain, nausea or insomnia medications prescribed. Walking and getting about is highly encouraged for multiple reasons, including a decrease in the incidence of clot formation in the veins of your legs. A companion should be with you for the first 24 hours to monitor and help you get about as necessary. It helps to apply refrigerated conforming gel masks over the face for the first 2 days after face lift surgery to reduce swelling and discomfort. Ice should not be applied directly, and will be changed every 15-20 minutes to maintain cold temperature. If the gel pads are no longer useable, frozen vegetable packs, especially frozen peas, work well. A cold compress (damp from a thoroughly wrung out towel) may be substituted for gel or frozen packs if you find this more tolerable. On the third day after face lift surgery, gel pads or frozen pack applications are stopped. It is wise to limit conversation, laughing, essentially anything involving wide opening of the mouth (taking take small bites of food, trying to eat easily digestible, soft, non-spicy food, and chewing gently for the first several days after your face lift). While moving about in the first postoperative week, it is best to rotate your head and shoulders together, (rather than just turning your neck). When resting/sleeping, laying on your back with several pillows under your head and back, or placing a pillow or rolled blanket under the head of your mattress, will decrease swelling.
You should not sleep in the supine position supine for at least 2 weeks after facial face lift surgery. When getting up from bed, you can help yourself by using one hand to support your head, and using the other to grasp a stationary object or to push off the bed. Plan to be away from work for one week, assuming your post-operative course is uncomplicated. For the first week, avoid activities that raise your blood pressure such as heavy manual labor, repeated heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, or bending over. Refrain from sexual activity for 1 month after your face lift surgery. After 1 week you may engage in light exercise only, walking for example. Social activities may be resumed within 1 week of face lift surgery, but may necessitate camouflage make-up. No heavy lifting is permitted (10 lbs or more) for 2 weeks after rhytidectomy or rhytidoplasty. No smoking and no nicotine substitute (patches, chewing tobacco, etc.) should be used for at least 6 weeks after face lift surgery, smoking will decrease blood and oxygen flow to healing tissues and can cause loss (death) of skin, fat, and muscle in the operated field, especially along the incisions. It can slow down healing to double of normal time, worsen scar appearance on the outside, lead to a tough, fibrous scar on the inside, and increase the risk of fluid pockets.