If everything heals as normal one would expect approximately the following timelines. Please keep in mind individual variation can be substantial and each operation in this field can be very personalised. Dissatisfaction with the result may apply to essentially all facial aesthetic procedures.
Substantial swelling settles within a few days but bruising can be obvious for up to two weeks, although make-up can conceal the worst of this. As with all aesthetic procedures, skin sutures are minimised but when used are removed within six days to minimise the risk of punctate scars. Mild altered sensation is not unusual and may last for up to six weeks. Weakness of the muscles of facial expression is not usual although they may occur in so-called ‘deep facelifts’.
A ‘pull through’ suture or other technique to avoid punctate scarring is common. The main issue is swelling and bruising. All noticeable swelling will have resolved within ten days and often sooner. Bruising takes up to two weeks to completely vanish. Abnormalities of sensation once sutures are removed are not common.
Very dependent on the technique used. An old school coronal incision brow lift can take up to two weeks for swelling and quite dramatic bruising to settle. Minimally invasive techniques may have very little bruising or discomfort.
Although technique dependent, most surgeons use some form of support to the re-sculpting of the cartilage. This is one of the most frustrating aspects for children who undergo this procedure. A turban like bandage is often used which stays in place as long as possible (the aim is ten days but it rarely, if ever lasts that long). An alternative for both children and adults are ear muffs or even headphones which achieve a similar degree of support without being overly conspicuous.
An extensive range of splints which mostly decorate the skin surface of what is actually a bony and cartilaginous operation are in use. Most stay on between between a week and ten days. Almost all the sutures used are resorbable and intranasal. External sutures for open rhinoplasty are usually simple paper adhesive strips. The most unpleasant aspect is the nasal pack which is usually removed the day after the operation.
A simple stretchy elastic pressure dressing is often used to reduce swelling. This stays on as long as possible but with washing the face this is often only a few days. Localised swelling and bruising takes the customary seven to ten days to resolve. Altered sensation in the region of the lower lip should be minimal to non-existent after this time. If combined with an orthognathic surgery procedure, the swelling bruising and elastic guidance of that operation makes the genioplasty issues barely noticeable.
Potential complications of rhytidectomy (face lift) include
Because of the risk of flap necrosis, some surgeons recommend that these procedures should only be carried out on non-smokers or smoking should be given up before surgery.
Potential complications of blepharoplasty (eye lid corrections) include
Potential complications of brow lifts include
- alopecia (hair loss);
- scalp paraesthesia (abnormal sensation).
Potential complications of otoplasty (ear corrections) include
- telephone deformity of the ear (a deformity resulting from overcorrection in the middle region of the ear).
Potential complications of rhinoplasty (nose corrections) include
- epistaxis (bleeding from the nose);
- septal haematoma;
- septal abscess;
- decreased nasal aperture with concomitant breathing difficulties;
- dissatisfaction with the result (apparently most common with young males seeking rhinoplasty).
Potential complications of genioplasty (chin corrections) include
- resorption of underlying bone;
- exposure of plate.