Earlobe & Surrounding Area Numbness, Pulling/tightness Around Ear 11 Weeks Post Mini-lift. Normal?

Had a mini-lower facelift 11 weeks ago from experienced, board certified ps. Still have numbness in both ear lobes and area surrounding ears about 1/4 inch in front of & behind ears.Numbness in lobes has improved a bit but not much improvement in the surrounding area. Also VERY uncomfortable pulling, tightness & pinching around both ears since day 1. Other tightness I've had around incision line has definitely improved in last few weeks but ears are stubborn. Is this normal? Thank you so much.

Doctor Answers 5

Earlobe & Surrounding Area Numbness, Pulling/tightness Around Ear 11 Weeks Post Mini-lift

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Numbness or muscle weakness following a #facelift is not uncommon.  When the skin is separated from the underlying tissues during #surgery, small sensory nerves are cut. Varying degrees of #numbness will be present after surgery and will improve gradually as the nerves reconnect to the skin. This process can take from 2-6 months for face, neck and cheeks, and to 9-12 months for the forehead and scalp. Muscle #weakness may also be present around the mouth especially if liposuction is used. This typically recovers fully in the months after surgery. If you have certain concerns about the procedures and #healing process, it is recommended to call your board-certified surgeon or their medical staff and discuss those #concerns.

Earlobe Numbness and Tightness after Mini Facelift

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Your concerns about numbness along with your description indicate that you have already experienced a partial return to function and sensation.  At 3 months, this should continue to improve over the course of a few more months to a year or so.  With regard to tightness, this almost always resolves with tincture of time.  Massage may be useful as well, if your plastic surgeon is OK with that option.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Numbness and Tightness Normal After a Facelift

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As you know, the skin around the ear was separated from the underlying tissue as a part of your facelift.  This causes numbness in the area for everybody.  The nerve will heal and sensation return in up to a year.  The earlobes can get numb similarly.  A particular nerve injury in the neck could cause a more significant numbness of the ear.   But the fact that sensation to the earlobes has already improved some is a good sign and you most likely don't have that problem.


Tightness can last for a while as well.  But it always goes away.  As the tissue returns to normal with healing, the feeling will return to normal.  Different people settle at different time.  Not to worry.  Enjoy your new face.

Seung K. Kim, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon


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11 weeks post-surgery is normal to have numbness in areas mentioned. Nerves regenerate really slowly. Don’t lose hope, the numbness should return with time. In regard to itchiness you can take Benadryl to help your symptoms. Please make sure you follow up with your PS to give you options to your symptoms.


Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Temporary Numbness after a Minilift is Normal!

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It is perfectly normal to have temporary numbness, especially around the ears, after having a minilift procedure.  Tightness around the area is also normal.  These feelings should go away within a few weeks to a few months following the procedure.  Usually the feeling returns in a backward direction towards the ears.  Occasional tingling sensations may occur and signify that nerves are "waking up."  Having performed thousands of these procedures, I see this all the time and full sensation always eventually returns.

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.