Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Home Care After Facelift | Princeton, NJ | Brunner MD

Home Care After Facelift

Home Care Instructions


Uncomplicated and ideal healing depends on how well you care for yourself. Please read these instructions carefully before your facelift surgery and ask us about any questions you may have.


  1. Keep your head elevated as much as possible starting right after the surgery. Lying down flat in bed aggravates facial swelling. Sitting up and gently walking around is advisable.
  2. Sleep with head elevated on 2 to 3 pillows (35-40 degree angle) to elevate the head while resting or sleeping. Try to sleep on your back rather than on your side for the first two weeks. If you sleep on your side, bolster your side with pillows so you do not lay fully on your side. Do not sleep face down on your stomach.
  3. Cold compresses or gel packs that are refrigerated may be used on your cheeks to help decrease swelling. Do not try to apply the cold compress under the facelift dressing. Do not apply ice or ice packs directly to your skin. If using and ice pack, always place a washcloth between your skin to avoid frostbite.
  4. Eat a soft diet, avoiding foods that are hard to chew or may upset your stomach.
    Avoid lifting objects/heavy lifting, bending, straining, and all forms of exercise in the first two weeks. You may brush your teeth gently with a toothbrush.
    Be careful not to bump your face – beware of restless children, bedmates or pets.
  5. Take the pain medication that Dr. Brunner prescribed as you need them. Have regular strength Tylenol at home too. Do not avoid taking pain medication if you are having discomfort. Persistent discomfort or pain may elevate your blood pressure. This can lead to complications such as bleeding, bruising and swelling.
  6. Take Dr. Brunner’s prescriptions (antibiotics) as prescribed. Do not stop them without consulting with Dr. Brunner first.
  7. Arnica montana pills can be started one to two days before surgery and continued after surgery until bruising is gone. Arnica cream can be applied directly to bruises after the surgery.
  8. Call Dr. Brunner for persistent nausea and/or vomiting. Vomiting can elevate the blood pressure to your face, which can lead to complications such as bleeding, bruising and swelling.
  9. Do not resume blood thinning medications such as Aspirin (including Excedrin, Alka-Seltzer, Asacol, Pepto-bismal), ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin), Naprosyn (Aleve), Vitamin E, Fish oil, Flax seed oil, Glucosamine/chondroitin, Ginseng, Gingko, Glucosamine/Chondroitin, ginger pill supplements, garlic pill supplements, and any other Herbal Medications for at least 2 weeks after your surgery. Ask Dr. Brunner first, before you resume these medications.
  10. Do not smoke. Do not drink alcohol. Do not smoke for 3 months before your procedure and two months after your procedure. Smoking can increase your risk of bleeding, infection and scarring. Avoid alcohol consumption for one week before your procedure and two weeks after. Alcohol will thin your blood and increase your risk of bleeding.
  11. Avoid sun exposure as much as possible for 6 weeks. Use sunscreen SPF 30 or more, if you are outside in the sun or snow.

Prior to surgery, arrange for someone to take you home from the hospital, stay overnight with you at home, and bring you to the office for your first post-operative visit the next day.

Any progressive or one-sided pain, bleeding, bruising or swelling should be reported immediately. If you are at home, telephone our office day or night. If you are in the hospital, please notify your nurse.

The large bulky dressing will be removed after 1 to 4 days. Following this, Vaseline should be applied to the suture lines to keep them moist – usually about twice a day. It is not necessary to apply Vaseline on the paper tapes, which are placed after stitches are removed. If crusting develops on the suture lines/stitches, gently clean them with hydrogen peroxide and a Q-tip once a day. Do not use Bacitracin, Polysporin, Triple Antibiotic ointment or any other antibiotic ointment unless instructed by Dr. Brunner.

Post-Operative Schedule: Your first office visit will be the first day after surgery. The cotton dressing will be removed at this visit. A second more compact cotton dressing is placed for another three days. On the fourth day after surgery, the cotton dressing is removed along with some of the stitches. An elastic face and neck bandage is worn for another one to two weeks (day and night), then for 1 further week at night only. Stitches will also be removed one week after your procedure and 10 to 14 days after your procedure.


Hair Washing After Surgery


Please start washing/rinsing your hair after the cotton dressing is removed four days after your procedure. The first time you wash your hair, just let the water run through it. Use conditioner on your hair to help soften it. You may not be able to shampoo your hair until it is softened. It will take several hair rinses, before you are able to shampoo your hair.

Do not try to clean everything out of your hair the first time you wash/rinse. It is easiest to do this in the shower. Do not try to wash your hair by leaning over in the sink, this is too much strain on the facelift.
Do not take a hot/steamy shower. It may make you light-headed and/or cause bleeding in the area of the facelift. Do not use a blow-dryer or curling iron in the first two weeks after your surgery. Let your hair air-dry.

Some patients have used Dawn dish detergent to shampoo out the Vaseline from their hair with good success. Vaseline is very steadfast. It will take multiple washings to get it out. Please be patient and gentle.

If you have any questions or concerns, call the office at (609) 921-9497. We have a 24-hour answering service, which will contact Dr. Brunner. On occasions when Dr. Brunner is not available, surgeons at The Medical Center at Princeton will be on call for her. Should you feel it necessary, go to the Emergency Department at The Medical Center at Princeton and ask for Dr. Brunner or the doctor on call for her.


List of Supplies

  1. Vaseline
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide
  3. Q-Tips
  4. Gel packs/gauzes/wash clothes for cold compresses
  5. Tylenol
  6. Arnica montana pills
  7. Fill all prescriptions given to you by Dr. Brunner, before your procedure.

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