5 days post-op of Facelift, my right eye won't blink and right upper lip is lazy/immobile. Is this normal?

W/concentration, I can close right eye about 50% but no blinking mechanism. I believe I see "some" improvement in swelling this morning. I'm sooo anxious & nervous. I've read so many threads & know nerve trauma/damage happens & can take months to heal. I'm looking for optimistic experiences -- ie, ever see nerve trauma return to normal after 10? 15? 20? days. Any words of encouragement. I see my doctor again tomorrow. I believe the technique was a smas facelift. I am so worried!! (rev. mid-facelift w/fat xfer (1st facelift 15 yrs ago).

Doctor Answers (12)

5 days post-op of Facelift, my right eye won't blink and right upper lip is lazy/immobile. Is this normal?

+2
I would not say that this is normal but it is really best that you see your surgeon to discuss your concerns. Your surgeon is the only one who knows the details of the surgery and thus what your expectations should be for recovery. Please make sure your eye is not drying out--saline eye drops and/or eye lubrication are needed if you really can't close your eye fully, especially with sleep.


Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Temporary disturbances of blinking can occur after a facelift.

+1
You are probably working too much. The swelling associated with the facelift often times leads to temporary muscular function disturbances. Keep in contact with your plastic surgeon.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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Facial nerve dysfunction 5 days after facelift surgery

+1
Most facial nerve injuries following facelift surgery are reversible.  75% of transient weakness caused by facial nerve dysfunction after facelift return to normal after the first 6 weeks and usually after the first 10 days.

If your weakness persists past 6 weeks ask your surgeon to consider direct-current muscle stimulation using the EMS direct muscle stimulator.

Brooke R. Seckel, MD, FACS
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Time and patience will allow you to see the final result better.

+1
There can be transient nerve dysfunction after a facelift from a number of normal events that occurs during a facelift, such as swelling, tissue tightening,etc.  Patience and time will usually be rewarded with a slow return to normal function.  The majority of these nerve weaknesses fully recover so follow up closely with your plastic surgeon.  The fact that you see some function is a good sign.

Jeffrey M. Darrow, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Eye issues after facelift

+1
It is unlikely that you have a nerve injury severity of facelift. This is probably transient swelling of the nerve if at all. Your eyelid function will return over the next week too. Until that time I will make sure that you lubricate that eye and use tape at night to help close to protect the globe.

Earl Stephenson, Jr., MD, DDS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Facelift, SMAS lift

+1
It sounds like you have some type of problem with your facial nerve.  If it is from swelling, it should return soon (maybe around 3-5 months), but if it is from other causes, such as actual injury with it being cut, burnt, etc. then it may take a very long time. In very rare cases, it may not come back.
Look at the rest of your face. Are you able to raise your brow, are you able to blow your cheeks, wrinkle your nose and also show your teeth.  These are some of the other functions of this nerve.
But, checking in with your surgeon is the best course of action.
I wish you well.

Shashidhar Kusuma, MD
Plantation Plastic Surgeon

Nerve weakness after a facelift

+1
nerve weakness after a facelift
weakness after a facelift especially a revision, can occur from stretching, cauterizing, suturing.   this is essentially bruising of the nerve and generally recovers after weeks or at times a few months.   This may improve significantly as your swelling diminishes.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Nerve damage with facelift

+1
It sounds like you have some facial nerve problems.  In a SMAS lift, it would be unusual to be actually damaging the facial nerve since the dissection is more superficial.  It would be more common in a deep plane lift.  If you had a lot of swelling, or if the surgeon had to do a lot of cautery for bleeding, you may just have some temporary weakness of the muscles due to inflammation around the nerve.  This should resolve in the next few weeks.  Keep your eye lubricated - drops during the day and ointment at bedtime until you can close completely.  

John J. Martin, Jr., MD
Coral Gables Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Nerve Problems after Facelift

+1
It is possible that you do have an injury to one or more branches of the facial nerve.  That is a motor nerve which allows muscles to move.  Facial nerve injuries may be temporary (vast majority) or permanent.  Some will improve within weeks but others may take months.  You should see your doctor asap to be sure other factors are not involved such as a hematoma (collection of blood beneath the skin that can compress nerve branches).
I agree with the other physicians that some movement is a really good positive sign for more improvement.  Best of luck to you.

Robert J. Spies, MD
Paradise Valley Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.