A facelift can be a wonderful solution for patients who are unhappy with sagging jowls, loose neck skin or other advanced signs of aging on the face. When performed by a board certified plastic surgeon, a facelift can restore a firmer, more youthful appearance to the face and neck. However, there’s a strange phenomenon that sometimes surrounds cosmetic procedures that patients should be aware of before their surgery day. Here’s a deeper look into what many surgeons have dubbed the “facelift blues.”
No matter how committed you may be to rejuvenating your appearance with a facelift, the immediate aftermath of the surgery may feel like a letdown if you’re not emotionally prepared ahead of time. As part of the natural healing process, you may experience a significant amount of swelling and bruising, and what you see in the mirror in the first days following surgery can feel very discouraging if you don’t remain patient with the recovery process.
After a facelift, many patients report feeling down or depressed, and this could be due in part to the fact that the face could likely look worse before you look better—and years younger to boot. No matter how much you’ve researched ahead of time, there’s always a small part of the brain that expects to see an instant improvement, and it’s that preconception that can have trouble waiting the weeks or months that the full results from a facelift can take to become evident. Before your surgery day, mentally remind yourself that a facelift won’t provide instant gratification, and be prepared to practice patience while the healing process takes place.
Isolation and Post-Surgical Depression
Post-op facelift patients sometimes choose to isolate themselves from friends and family, either because they don’t want anyone to know they’ve had surgery or because they don’t want anyone to see them before they’ve completely healed. Either way, be aware that hiding out and cutting yourself off from your support system may add to to a post-surgical depression.
Going through the physical and emotional process of having plastic surgery can be overwhelming and draining, and many men and women find that having loved ones around them helps keep their spirits up and contributes to a more positive attitude during recovery. Even if you feel like you want to be alone and separate yourself from the outside world after your facelift, consider the emotional and psychological benefits that having close friends and family around you may provide.
Properly maintaining your own personal expectations is crucial in order to avoid feeling disappointed or discouraged after your facelift. Patients sometimes seek out cosmetic procedures because they feel that changing their appearance will significantly improve their lives in ways that surgeries can’t do. For example, expecting a facelift to fix a broken marriage, advance your career or help you look like you’re a college kid again is setting yourself up for disappointment.
Your motivations should be realistic and genuine. Remember that the goal of a facelift, as with any cosmetic surgery, should be improvement rather than perfection. Before your surgery, I’ll spend time discussing in detail what you can realistically expect after surgery in an effort to minimize the likelihood of developing the “facelift blues.” In my experience, when patients go into their surgery day with a clear understanding of the post-surgical experience and their likely results, they’re more likely to remain even-keeled during recovery.
Dr. Nirav Savalia is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Orange County with offices in Newport Beach and Fullerton. Known for his skill, compassion and dedication to patient-centered care, Dr. Savalia works closely with each patient to develop an individualized plan to achieve their cosmetic goals. He is board certified by both the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery.