In other words, there's every reason to get excited about the possibilities.
But before you set your surgery date, you need to make sure that you and the people around you are prepared. It makes the experience go smoother, and that extra bit of patience and planning ahead really pays off in the long run. Here's what to cross off your to-do list.
1. Quit smoking.
If you're a smoker, we don't need to waste your time telling you what you already know. But here's something you may not realize: Smoking can impact the outcome of your surgery.
Smoking affects the healing process in a number of ways. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke chokes out the oxygen in your blood, making the healing process less efficient. People who smoke are at a higher risk of complications after surgery, including infection, excessive scarring, and delayed healing processes. Not to mention the effects smoking has on your skin.
The bottom line: The results of your facelift simply don't last as long for a smoker as a nonsmoker. As Dr. Thomas McNemar, a plastic surgeon from the Stockton area, tells potential facelift patients, it's essential to quit smoking at least 1 month before your surgery. Of course, if you can quit sooner, you should. The more time you have between your last cigarette and your facelift, the better your results.
2. Get to a weight you're happy with.
It doesn't have to be the ideal weight according to those (faulty) BMI charts or anything. It just needs to be a weight that you can maintain and that you're happy with. Losing or gaining a significant amount of weight after your facelift — even in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 pounds — can affect your results, causing sagging skin or the emergence of additional fat deposits. If you're currently in the process of losing (or gaining) weight, it's a good idea to postpone your facelift until you've reached a comfortable weight and sustained it for at least 6 months.
3. Make all the necessary arrangements.
Booking the appointment with your surgeon is a given, but there's a bit more to it than that. Although you're not obligated to shout your facelift from the rooftops, it's a good idea to at least share your plans for surgery with those closest to you, for example. You may need their help during the recuperation period, and discreetly sharing the news with your loved ones is a thoughtful way to keep them in the loop.
Make sure you've made the necessary plans with your employer, too. You don't need to share the details of your surgery (a simple "I'm having a medical procedure" will do), but you should be prepared to spend at least 10 days out of the office. You may be feeling well enough to return to work before the 10-day mark, but you'll probably still be bruised and swollen.
Many facelift patients who have the option choose to work from home, and it's worth broaching the topic with your supervisor before undergoing the procedure.