Anything I can do to alleviate numbness, tightness & discomfort I continue to experience 3 years out from a full facelift?

My post op tightness & discomfort took MUCH longer to go away than expected. Didn't have any relief until 18 months out or so. After that, the symptoms gradually subsided, but each year as warm summer weather/humidity arrives, it all comes back with a VENGEANCE. From mid-June thru September, my discomfort is SEVERE, like I'm wearing a mask that's excruciatingly tight. I feel like ripping my face off. Things improve with cooler weather. Any advice on causes? ANYTHING I can do to help feel better?

Doctor Answers 4

Very unusual pain syndrome after a facelift.

Most patients have near total sensory return three years after facelift. You might be a candidate for a drug like Neurontin which can help with peripheral nerve issues.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Facial pain 3 years after face lift

Thank you for your face lift question.
  • From your description, it seems likely that your pain is from dilated blood vessels from hot weather.
  • That can definitely make your face too tight from increased blood flow.
  • Cooling the face with ice compresses probably will help, so will air conditioning.
  • But I wonder if you have high blood pressure as the underlying cause of this problem.
  • Or are on a vasodilating medicine.
  • In addition to seeing your original plastic surgeon, you should see your regular doctor as well to be sure that high blood pressure or some underlying condition medicine isn't the source of the pain. Best wishes.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Pain and Discomfort 3-years post-op facelift

All the unfavorable side effects are mostly temporary and should not last for more than a year. At 3 years post-op, I don't think that conventional medicine can help.

I recommend that you try acupuncture. 

Somyos Kunachak, MD
Thailand Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Numbness and tightness after facelifts

Numbness and tightness are common symptoms shortly after a facelift.  These symptoms typically resolve in around the 2-3 month range.  Your symptoms seem to have lasted much too long and also appear to have seasonal variations.  To best address this, could you be more specific about where you are having numbness and tightness?  Specific facial nerves may have been injured and would explain your symptoms.  Also, the type of facelift performed can explain your symptoms, for example deep plane lift vs subcutaneous lift.  Best wishes!

John Michael Thomassen, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

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