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Facelift Post-Op Recovery

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    “I wanted to answer some important questions that very frequently come up in terms of recovery after different surgical procedures. Very often I’m asked this question in our facelift patients "Should we ice this to reduce swelling?"

    It’s a very important question, a very good one because generally speaking as most people know injuries and ice are good combinations. If you have an injury and you ice it, it reduces the inflammatory process, it reduces swelling or the amount of swelling that one might get and genuinely calms the inflammatory process down. My experience, however, with facelift is that people overuse ice and because we're lifting skin flaps that have a limited blood supply, it’s under tension and the skin has been elevated so some of that circulation has been reduced and then if we add ice on top of that, we're actually further limiting the circulation.

    My experience says that probably it’s better, in most facelift patients to avoid icing directly over the skin flaps and I can give you two anecdotes. One was the wife of a very prominent physician, she decided it was a good idea not just to iced but to strap on the two blocks of the freezer ice that are used commonly in coolers and she put it on with a bandage and then feel asleep and left it on basically for several hours. She was doing great in her immediate post-operative period. I want to visit her at a home call on day 3 and found that her flaps were dusky looking and had very slow circulation and there was no real good explanation for that until I explored and found that she had fallen asleep with blocks of ice on her face basically given herself frostbite.

    So I’m very cautious now in advising people for using ice. When we do eyelid surgery or blepharoplasty the circulation is quite good for those I encourage the use of ice. When I do rhinoplasty or nose surgery we encourage the use of ice to reduce swelling and inflammation.

    In facelifts or other types of flap surgery with the skin being elevated and there might be slower circulation in general, I generally recommend not using ice and letting that circulation fully replenish itself and get those skin as healthy as it can be, that the area of the skin is healthy as it can be to get the best chance of healing for the wound.

    So it’s yin and yang it’s a good and bad with ice, I think there are certain applications where it’s helpful and others can be dangerous. It always depend on how its applied but our recommendations for facelift surgery now are to avoid the use of ice and facelift surgery specifically on the skin that's been elevated to the skin flaps, and in general, most of the other procedures we do I recommend using ice.

    If you have any other questions on post-surgical recovery facelift for rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery or others, please don’t hesitate to write us at, you can send video clips, you can send photographs or just simple question I’m happy to always answer them and as always it’s my pleasure to talk about your health and well-being on Looking Your Best, this is Dr. Corey Maas.”