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Will Nerves Reattach After Face Lift?

One and a half years after a face lift, is tingling in the right side of the face and neck common? Will the nerves ever reattach?

Doctor Answers (12)

Tingling is a good sign after Facelift

+2

Cheek tingling after a facelift can last 2-3 years and is largely due to recovery of the nerves that supply the skin. Most commonly, patients report it is not terribly bothersome and most gladly trade their improved look for some temporary tingling. Gradually over time, these sensations should disappear.


Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

It might still be possible for nerves to re-attach

+2

One sign of nerve regeneration is tingling. If this sensation is moving toward your ear, it might be a sign of the nerves re-growing. You won't know what your total final sensory recovery is until about 2-3 years after surgery. Massaging the area and taking B complex vitamins may help to stimulate recovery and also to desensitize any hypersensitive areas. Good luck!

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Will nerves reattach after facelift?

+1
Hello! Thank you for your question! Numbness after any surgical procedure is expected for several weeks to months following. As the nerves to the area are traumatized and will then experience a temporary neuropraxia, a transient loss of nerve conduction. This usually resolves over the next 6-12 weeks, but depending on the procedure performed, sometimes much longer. Typically this should resolve by 1 year. As it goes past this date, the likelihood of the sensation returning is small. However, it can take up to 2 years. If no return from there, it is unlikely to return. It should be discussed that persistent sensory changes may develop following any surgical procedure.

The usual signs of the nerves regenerating and neuropraxia resolving is itching, followed by a burning sensation and then occasional sharp, shock-like pains. These will be normal to experience, and actually a promising sign. Usually, normal sensation returns, but is is also possible to have decreased sensation or even increased sensation to the areas affected. Re-educating nerves postoperatively is often helpful and will allow proper instruction for the affected sensory nerves - methods include using different textures to the affected areas when showering, bathing, applying lotion, etc. If bothersome, there are some medications that may be helpful, including Neurontin for pain for hypersensitivity. You can try various textures such as washcloths, loofahs, cotton sheets, etc. Massaging the areas is also beneficial for the incision to make the finest scar possible. The last place to regain the sensation will be directly adjacent to the incision/scar as the nerves will make its way from the periphery to this location. If continual pain arises, evaluation is warranted. After ruling out other causes, one rare explanation may be that a neuroma has developed and may require surgical excision. This is very unlikely unless a large sensory nerve has been transected inadvertently during the procedure. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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Facelift - Will Nerves Reattach After Face Lift?

+1

Nerves do regrow to a certain extent but tingling at one and a half years after a facelift is somewhat unusual, and it's possible that these sensations will not improve on their own.  It can take a long time for things to settle down and heal completely, but tingling is often specifically related to the fine nerves in the area that had surgery.  If it's been like this since the surgery then you cannot necessarily assume that the rate of your progress will suddenly change.  If this is a new symptom you should, of course, address it with your surgeon.

I hope that this helps and good luck,

Dr. E

Alan M. Engler, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 148 reviews

Nerve damage after a face lift

+1

Probably they will.

First question - is the tingling the same ever since the face lift? Or has it just appeared? Or is it slowly improving?

  1. For most people, face lift numbness goes away by 18 months after surgery. Return of feeling begins with tingling.
  2. If nothing has changed, it is possible your nerves heal especially slowly.
  3. It is possible a nerve has been damage. It may be possible to treat this.

What to do? First ask your original surgeon. Then get a second surgical opinion. And consider seeing a neurologist as well. Best wishes!

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Tingling and Numbness after Facelift - Will it go away?

+1

The reason for numbness after a face lift  is that when skin is undermined the microscopic plexus of nerves is divided but in just about all cases reattach over several months up to a year  or more and normal sensation is returned. Tingling is a good sign that they are reattaching and that it is likely your sensation is in the process of returning.  After this period of time may represent an injury to an underlying named sensory nerve. 

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Postoperative Tingling After A Facelift

+1

Tingling after a facelift one year postoperatively is highly uncommon.  Most likely causes of tingling include the following:

  • Recovery of sensory nerves- Every patient will have some degree of numbness early on.  The vast majority have this restored within one month to 6 months.  There are some cases which take up to 2 years for this to restore.  Nerve regrowth is variable in every patient.  Some patients swear by homeopathic nerve regrowth remedies.
  • Hypertrophic scar or keloid- Can give the sensation of tingling.  

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Nerve reattachment after facelift

+1

It is not common to have tingling in the right side of the face and neck after a facelift. At this point, the nerves will not improve and it most likely a permanent sequela. The tingling in the right side of the face and neck is most likely a result of a cutting or stretching of the greater auricular nerve which innervates the right side of the front part of the ear and the ear itself.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Tingling of nerves in face

+1

TIngling in the face a year and a half after surgery most likely will not get better on its own. This is most likely a neuroma of some sort whether from a cut sensory nerve or a traumatized nerve.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Nerves may regenerate long after your face lift

+1

Most of the nerve recovery after facelift surgery occurs by one year post-op but it is possible that your nerves are still regenerating. Sometimes avoiding caffeine will help to minimize the tingling Supplementing with B-complex vitamins do help support nerve function. You can use sublingual B-12 tablets that you just put under your tongue and let it dissolve. (I have seen this at a great price at Costco). One a day or every other day is plenty. I think they are 2500micrograms.

Jonathan Hoenig, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 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.