Four Months Post-op Necklift Surgery is It Possible Feeling Will Return to my Right Ear and Skin in Front of my Ears?

Approximately 80% of the feeling in my left ear had returned by 8 weeks post-op with no improvement since then for my left ear. But my right ear is still completely numb except that now when I lightly pinch my earlobe there is a slight tingling pain. I have had the sensation of energy waves across my right ear ever since head bandage was removed two days after surgery. This sensation is NOT tingling just energy waves. The skin in front of both ears is still numb too. Thanks for your response.

Doctor Answers (8)

Numbness 4 months after necklift surgery

+2

  Yes, your surgeon could have damaged the auricular nerve and yes, this is very distressing.  But I think there is still a high likelihood that your sensation will return with time.  Regeneration of the smaller sensory nerves may take 12-24 months.  I would bet on some recovery in the future.  I certainly hope that is the case for you!


Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Numbness after facelift

+2

although I don't perform facelifts, I have had many patients who have had them.  Peforming Mohs surgery and reconstruction around the cheek and ear, I am well acquainted with the anatomy as well.  Nerve injury or neuropraxia, may take many months to resolve spontaneously.  Complete transection of the nerve may heal without aid, but this is not guaranteed and can take more than a year. 
 

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Left ear and skin numb after Face and Neck Lift

+2

The greater auricular nerve, in the neck, is the sensory nerve responsinle for feeling in the earlobe and adjacent skin.  This nerve runs superfifically between the skin and the playtsma muscle, in the neck.  It can be inadvertantly injured or cut during a Face Lift or Neck Lift which gives the symptoms that you describe.

I have performed Face Lifts and Neck Lifts for over 20 years and IMHO, it's always possible but unlikely that the sensation on your left side will change much form this point forward.  There's no way to regenerate the greater auricular nerve, that i am aware of, but you might do some internet research for a neurologist that can advise you further.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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Neck lift Video:Greater Auricular Nerve injury is the most common in face neck lift

+2

Could be a greater auricular nerve injury. This is the most common nerve injured in a face lift. The nerve could come back since you noticed a slight difference. If it really bothers you, you can graft another nerve there from somewhere else and it could help. Wish you the best!

Thanks for reading, Dr Young

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Numbness after facelift

+2

The greater auricular nerve supplies sensation to the ear and is the most commonly injured during facelift surgery.  In most cases, sensation will return but if by one year it has not, it is likely a permanent condition.  

Kristin Egan, MD
Manhattan Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Nerve injury is a very rare complication of facelift.

+2

Hi.

It sounds like the right greater auricular nerve may have been injured or cut.  If partially injured, feeling will slowly come back.  If cut, numbness is usually permanent.

Ask your surgeon.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Four months postop necklift surgery - is it possible feeling will return to my right ear and skin in fron of my ears?

+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.  There is some injury likely to the Great Auricular Nerve - this may or may not return.  Only time will tell, but followup closely with your surgeon regardless.  Surgical conisderation may be entertained if transection.

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

I've lost sensation in my ear since my facelift

+1
The great auricular nerve provides sensation the that region of the neck and face. It is a sensory nerve that runs on top of the muscle in the neck and can be stretched or cut during a facelift procedure. If it was cut, sensation will not likely return. If it was stretched, there is a good chance that you will experience return of at least some sensation. If this is the case, it can take over a year for the sensation to return.

Todd C. Miller, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 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.