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Will Numbness Go Away After a Cut to the Forehead?

I recently cut my forehead down to the bone (shape of a backwards C approx. 3"). I have had my stitches removed a few days ago. Cut is healing well, but I have noticed alittle numbness at cut site. Also, I have noticed that I can't move the eyebrow all the way up on the side of the cut. Is this normal?

Doctor Answers 12

Lacerations Are Common: Seek Consultation

Facial lacerations are extremely common and may be associated with injuries to the underlying muscles and nerves. For this reason, it’s not unusual for patients to note numbness and muscle weakness. This may occur for a variety of reasons including direct damage to the muscle, transection of the nerves or bruising of the nerves. In addition, these injuries can cause significant swelling which can also adversely impact muscle and nerve function.
In the vast majority of cases, muscle weakness and numbness resolve in 3 to 4 months following injury. In some cases resolutions may take up to a year. In rare cases these changes may be permanent, but this would be unusual.
If you’re concerned about numbness following this type of injury, consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is appropriate. This surgeon should be able to address your concerns and alleviate your anxiety.

Numbness common

It is common for numbness to occur after surgery. It can take a few weeks for numbness to go away, but sometimes it may take up to a year. Nerve regeneration will slowly occur over this time, allowing you to have sensation again, and this is associated with tingling.

Will numbness go away after a cut to the forehead?

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

Numbness and difficulty moving my forehead after a cut

It is very common to have numbness after trauma to the skin. This will usually return in full but it can take up to a year and the return of sensation is not guaranteed. Your recovery is largely dependent on the location and depth of the laceration. If the cut was superficial, involving only skin and muscle, your prognosis for return of sensation and motion is good. If the cut was deep and in an area where sensory or motor nerves reside there is a chance that you could have permanent numbness or paralysis. Make sure that you follow up with an experienced facial plastic surgeon.

Todd C. Miller, MD
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Nerve damage following forehead cut

Losing sensation and movement can be frustrating, and there may be some permanent nerve damage if your cut extended down to the bone.  However, depending on the exact location of the cut and if you have some movement of the forehead on the side of the cut, my guess is that the damage is primarily to the muscle and that your forehead movement will return completely.  As for the numbness, it is likely that some sensory nerve branches were severed with the injury.  Although this can cause prolonged or even permanent numbness around the area of the injury, sensation will often return over a period of several months or years.  Good luck!

Scott K. Thompson, MD
Salt Lake City Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Numbness after a cut

A cur on the forehead can lead to temporary numbness or even permanent numbness depending upon the location and depth.  As for motion, this may be related to swelling, nerve bruising, or actual nerve transection.  

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Numbness after a laceration to the forehead

Sorry to hear about your cut to the forehead.

It can take up to 1 year for normal sensation to return to the forehead after a laceration. The reason being is it can take this long for the sensory nerves to find their way back to the skin. Most of the time, this numbness does subside for most patients. The eyebrow not moving can be related to generalized swelling since your cut was so recent.  However, if there is an obvious weakness of your eyebrow it could be due to damage to the the branch of the facial nerve that provides sensation to your frontalis m. I would seek the opinion of a board-certified surgeon if the weakness persists after the swelling resolves.

Best of luck

Sachin Parikh, MD 

Sachin S. Parikh, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Numbness

Numbness can take up to 12 - 18 months to go away.  Swelling in the initial few weeks can affect normal movement as well

Sam Naficy, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 170 reviews

Forehead nerve problems after injury

You should wait for return of sensation and movement which might take as long as one year. If there is noticeable problems with forehead movement, Botox therapy could help even out the movement while healing is taking place. 

Sheldon S. Kabaker, MD FACS
Oakland Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Forehead Injuries and Numbness

  • After a deep cut to the forehead, numbness is very common.
  • Then nerves  that serve the scalp and forehead run like telephone wires, entering the skin near the eyebrow and running to the upper scalp.
  • When the nerves are injured, they SLOWLY regrow over many months to years. Permanent numbness and tingling can occur with complete division of the nerves.  Usually the surrounding nerves can "grow in" to the numb territory and provide some sensation over time.
  • Be patient!

Michael Suzman, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 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.