Forehead Numbness After a Brow Lift?

I've had an endoscopic brow lift along with an upper and lower eye lift. It has been 10.5 months and I still have numbness on the right side of my forehead, and the eyebrow is slightly lifted. The area under the eyebrows seems to be thicker or swollen, even though my doctor says that it's impossible at this time. I have tingling sensations in my forehead, my eyebrow area and between my forehead, which I'm told is a good thing to feel. I just want to make sure, is everything okay and will things eventually get better for me?

Doctor Answers 22

Browlift and forehead numbness

During a browlift the forehead nerves that begin above the eyes may be bruised or stretched.  Like your foot going to sleep when your leg is crossed, you may experience very odd sensations or numbness.  Usually, given time, the nerves will begin to recover and the strange sensations will cease.  It may take over a year, however.

Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Forehead numbness after browlift

It is possible that the nerves that supply sensation to the forehead were stretched or otherwise injured during the surgery, and that the tingling sensation you are experiencing indicates there may be some return of function. You should probably allow more time for any additional recovery to occur.

Olivia Hutchinson, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Brow lift and nerve damage

There are two nerves that run under the brow that supply sensation that run a risk to be damaged from a brow lift: The supraorbital and supratrochlear nerves. There are several things that can happen during surgery to these nerves:

1. The nerve may be cut completely: When this occurs there is usually permanent numbness that does not change over time

2. The nerve may be stunned: When there is manipulation of the nerves, sometimes they can get irritated and shut down. Over time they come back to life. Usually within a year.

3. The nerve can be partially cut: When this occurs one of two things can happen. First, the nerve can partially work or two the nerve can develop a neuralgia. A neuralgia occurs when a nerve is damaged and pain sensation is stimulated.

For all of these, a tincture of time is what works best. For neuralgias from trauma or surgery it may resolve in time or may necessitate complete resection of the nerve resulting in permanent numbness (which is usually preferable to pain).  

Chris Thiagarajah, MD
Denver Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Numbness after a brow lift with tingling

Your numbness and tingling is due to the fact that during your procedure the supra trochlear and orbital  nerves may have been cut or stretched.  Occasionally it takes  about 2 1/2 years for feeling to come back and often it does not return.  Your tingling is a sign that the nerves are regenerating feeling.  This sensation is described as parasthesias.

Gary H. Manchester, MD (retired)
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Numbness after a brow lift

Brow lifts are an extremely popular and effective way to reposition the brow and smooth the forehead. It is possible to have some swelling and numbness in the brow after the surgery. This is usually due to the nerves of the forehead having been stretched. Your sensation should return in several months. At this time it is too early to perform any corrective procedure.

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Numbness after brow lift may last a year

Numbness in the forehead following a browlift generally last 2-6 months. Sensation in the crown may take longer to recover (10-12 months). The degree of any injury (bruised, stretched, or cut) to the main sensory nerves (the supraorbital and supratrochlear nerves) may prolong these general recovery times. If you're feeling tingling sensation, this may be an encouraging sign that your nerve is recovering and you'll regain sensation.

Corey S. Maas, MD
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Give it some time

There are some studies which have shown that it can take up to two years for nerves to recover in the forehead.

It's important to find out if there are any treatable causes. For example was there a suture (stitch) placed or a device that may be compressing the nerve? Other than that there is no intervention of which I am aware that can repair these nerves as they are of extremely small caliber.

The tingling may be indicative of nerve recovery but only time will tell.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Tingling and Nerve Injury

Thanks for the question -

It is unusual to have numbness on your forehead 10 months after endo brow lift. Sometimes the trochars or the dissection can stretch the nerve. These injuries will usually resolve on their own.

A nerve called the supraorbital nerve provides sensation to the forehead and scalp. (You have one on each side that arises from the level of your eyebrow. If you push with your finger at about midbrow you can actually feel the hole in your skull that this nerve exits (the hole is called a foramen).

You may have actually described a key part of the healing process. The tingling you're feeling may be something known in the medical community as Tinel's sign. It signals where sensory nerves may be healing. The tingling should travel away from your eye towards your scalp if this was the nerve that was injured.

Unfortunately at this time all you can do is wait. But take some comfort in the fact that permanent injury is rare.

I hope this helps.

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Tingling forehead after browlift

What you are describing is injury to the supraorbital and/or supratrochlear sensory nerves. These emerge from the bone above the eye beneath the brow and may be injured when the muscles that are weakend in a brow lift are operated on. Tingling is a sign of nerve regeneration, but you may be left with that sensation. Check often with your surgeon to monitor your progress.

Best of Luck

Dr. J

A. Dean Jabs MD, PhD
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Bethesda, MD/McLean, VA

A. Dean Jabs, MD, PhD, FACS
Bethesda Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 91 reviews

Forehead numbness after a browlift?

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 26 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.