So when it's all over and you are safely back in your room, what can you expect? The good news is that your job is simply to rest quietly in bed (getting up only to use the bathroom). We now insist on an overnight stay in hospital after an Advanced Mini Facelift, as we are convinced that a period of total rest is important in the initial stages of healing. Our advice is to bring a good book or just watch TV – you probably don't often get the opportunity!
What will I be like immediately after surgery?
Most patients are fully recovered from sedation by the time they return to their room. Immediately after surgery you will need to wear a fairly tight head bandage to help control any minor bleeding. Some patients do find this quite claustrophobic but we feel it is necessary. You may also have a small drain on each side - these are normally removed first thing the morning after surgery, along with the head bandage.
It is completely normal at this stage for you not to be able to close one eye completely or to have a drooping mouth. This is a direct effect of the local anaesthetic used to infiltrate the operation site and will resolve within a few hours.
How soon can I eat and drink after surgery?
When you return to your room you may eat and drink whatever you wish, although you may wish to consider sticking to a light diet as eating can be difficult initially due to a combination of discomfort and the presence of a tight head bandage. We encourage eating and drinking as soon as possible after surgery as this appears to significantly aid early recovery.
How painful will it be?
The local anaesthetic that we use during the procedure will begin to wear off within a few hours. After that, there is obviously a spectrum of post-operative discomfort; about 90% of patients have mild to moderate discomfort requiring simple pain killers such as paracetamol or codeine. You will be prescribed a selection of painkillers to cover all eventualities and the nursing staff can advise you on the best option for you.
Am I likely to feel sick?
It is unusual to feel sick after having sedation, in contrast to a general anaesthetic. However, people do occasionally feel nauseated or dizzy immediately after receiving tranexamic acid ( a drug we use routinely to minimize post-operative bleeding and bruising). We are aware of these potential side effects but still advocate the use of this drug as the benefits significantly outweigh the side effects.
What if I have a problem?
There will always be a nurse available in case of minor problems and a resident doctor in the very unlikely event that anything of serious concern arises. Your surgeon will review your progress during the first post-operative evening to make sure everything is well.
What happens the morning after surgery?
Any drainage tubes and the head bandage are removed at about 9 a.m. The nursing staff will offer you some minor painkillers about an hour before this – it makes things much more comfortable for you. After that you can get up, have a shower and gently wash your hair, have breakfast and then make ready to go home a few hours later.
When will I be ready to go home?
Before you go home the surgeon and anaesthetist will both review your progress. If all is well you can expect to be discharged from hospital late morning the day after surgery. You should not feel rushed at this stage – just take your time and don't overdo it!