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Sam (Samieh) S. Rizk, M.D., F.A.C.S. Director of Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgery

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The onset of swelling is a natural bodily response to any invasive surgery, including a facelift and other facial plastic surgery procedures. Though most swelling subsides within the first month after surgery, this comes as small consolation to those facelift patients who experience anxiety over their appearance during the postoperative period. The good news is that steps can be taken to reduce swelling even before a facelift is performed.

The first action that can be taken to minimize swelling is to avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Alleve, Excedrin and ibuprofen for two weeks prior to surgery. These medications thin the blood and can exacerbate bleeding, bruising and swelling. Also tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking, as some of them may lead to increased swelling.

Following surgery, there are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce swelling:

  • Drink lots of fluids to maintain proper hydration
  • Maintain a good diet, with low sodium
  • Elevate the head as instructed by your surgeon
  • Avoid any medications that might interfere with fluid balance or cause swelling (this can be avoided by informing your doctor of the medications you take prior to surgery)
  • Your surgeon may also recommend some or all of the following:
  • Supplements such as Arnica Montana or bromelain, which can reduce swelling
  • Massage
  • Warm compresses
  • A cold mask or cold compresses for the first 48 hours

Each patient responds differently to surgery and may require different measures to reduce swelling and avoid other unpleasant aftereffects of surgery. Make sure to ask your surgeon for additional tips.

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Castle Connolly, the most respected major healthcare research company, has ranked Dr. Rizk one of America's Best Doctors

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