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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 14

Tingling is a good sign after Facelift

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 36 reviews


Patients who undergo facelift surgery often complain of numbness and skin hypersensitivity. These are normal findings immediately following surgery, and usually resolve with time. The hypersensitivity that you describe is known as a dysesthesia. It’s very similar to what happens when your leg falls asleep. This phenomena occurs when nerves are compressed, stretched or traumatized.
During facelift procedures small cutaneous nerves are divided and traumatized. In many cases this is made worse by swelling. When dysesthesias occur patients describe a tingling, burning sensation that can be very uncomfortable. In many cases, clothing rubbing against the skin can elicit a burning sensation.
These symptoms usually resolve in six to eight weeks without intervention. In rare cases 12 to 18 months may be necessary for resolution. In most cases tingling indicates nerve regeneration is on going. In some cases aggressive massage can desensitize the area and minimize the pain and discomfort associated with this condition.
If you’re concerned about abnormal sensations following facelift surgery, consultation with your plastic surgeon is appropriate. Your surgeon should be able to address your concerns and alleviate your anxiety.

Tingling of nerves in face

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
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

It might still be possible for nerves to re-attach

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!

Tingling and numbness following facelift surgery

It is fairly common for patients to experience temporary numbness on both side of their face following a facelift surgery. During the skin flap elevation and the surgical dissection some of the small sensory nerves to the skin must be transected in order to tighten the facial muscle. These nerves will regenerate over time anywhere between 6 weeks up to a year. In rare cases this numbness and tingling may last up to two years. During my consultation, I discuss this with patients, so they know exactly what to expect.

Kevin Sadati, DO
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Will nerves reattach after facelift?

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 14 reviews

Facelift - Will Nerves Reattach After Face Lift?

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

Nerve damage after a face lift

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!

Tingling and Numbness after Facelift - Will it go away?

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 76 reviews

Postoperative Tingling After A Facelift

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 101 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.