Postoperative Care

Drains and dressings have not been used at our center for about 8 years. Dressings are more likely to hide problems than to prevent them. Long experience with suction drains indicated that they did not reduce the chance of hematoma. By leaving the surgical site open, small hematomas can promptly be identified in the recovery room where they can often be treated by simply expressing them. When larger hematomas are present, we can identify them much more quickly, allowing for an early definitive correction. A normal blood pressure is maintained in the recovery room, as postoperative hypertension is one of the primary causes of hematoma after facelift. Medication is promptly given if the patient shows signs of nausea or hypertension. Preoperative dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) and postoperative oxygen are used in the recovery room to help allay nausea.

Patients are instructed to keep their heads elevated for the first few days after surgery. They are permitted to wash their hair and face the day after surgery. They are to apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment to the incisions and to cleanse the suture lines with peroxide as needed. Surgical staples are removed from the hair 1 week to 10 days after surgery. The sutures in the skin dissolve and do not require removal.

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