Day 1 – Surgery.
Day 2 – Brief office visit and dressing change; you can already appreciate “the new you.”
Day 3 – Office visit. Dressings changed, suction drains removed. Return home.
Day 4 – At home. You remove the dressings and you may shower and shampoo.
Day 5, 6 or 7 – An office visit begins with stitch removal about the ears and chin. You are generally able to be more active; swelling is minimal and bruising, if present, is resolving rapidly. Make-up can be applied. You may now drive your car. Walking is an excellent exercise at this point; nothing strenuous such as tennis or swimming, however.
Day 9 or 10 – Office visit with further stitch removal from the “hidden areas” (incisions within the hairline). Generally, all bruising has cleared by now. You should feel quite good. Some patients may even be “ready” to return to work (see “Return to Work, Normal Activities, Etc,” below).
Day 14 – Brief office visit. Any remaining stitches are removed. You are generally looking quite good and are now “ready-to-go!”
From the above, you can understand why we recommend that patients “block out” 14 days before returning to routine social and work obligations. Some may be ready a few days sooner and others may take a few days longer. Factors influencing speed of healing include age, general physical fitness, history of smoking and yes, attitude. By 14 days, hair can be colored and styled, etc. Make-up can be used and there are no restrictions except that strenuous exercise, e.g., running, tennis, racquetball, wrestling, etc., is still prohibited until 3 weeks after surgery.
Generally, by 21 days afterneck surgery, you should be enjoying your younger appearance without any inhibitions. While your neck may still feel “tight” and some areas particularly about the neck and behind the ears may still feel “numb,” you should be doing quite well. If there has been a period of “blues,” which is not unusual in the second and third week, it should have lifted by the fourth week after surgery. The only totally unhidden incisions, those about the ears and under the chin, mature to near invisibility within the first 2 to 3 months. We see you weekly only in the first month after surgery; infrequently thereafter until about 3 months after surgery, at which time “after” photos are taken.