Why my ears are so stiff and sticking out after after facelift?

5 weeks after facelift my ears look bigger, sticking out and I feel as the are not part of my head. I move I feel them and they are not flexible as used to be. They feel as I have two wooden ears attached to my head. My doctor says I can't sleep on them yet and it will takes 18 months to fully recover? What is wrong?

Doctor Answers 11

Ear swelling and numbness after facelift

Numbness and swelling following facelift will subside over several month. If you have decreased sensation especially around the your ears, this numbness, which will last 6-8 months, can also make the skin feel tight. All of this will improve as healing progresses. Good luck with your healing

Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 208 reviews

Ears are so Stiff and Sticking out After Facelift

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.

As the nerves regenerate, the itching, burning, tingling and shooting #sensations will occur. Ice, moisturizers and gentle #massaging are helpful during this phase of the #healing process. Frequently there is a tight feeling in the neck, jawline and cheek after a facelift. During surgery, not only the skin but the underlying muscles are tightened to create a better and longer lasting result. Additionally, the #swelling will move downward in the first week and the neck will feel even tighter. Do not be alarmed: the sensation will decrease during the first month.
Some degree of firmness or lumpiness under the skin is normal after surgery and will resolve with time. Local massage will speed resolution of this problem, which normally takes 2-4 months to disappear completely. 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.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Post op facelift

What you are going through is a normal part of recovery after a facelift.  There are incisions around the ear so you are still healing in that area.  Be patient and continue to follow up with your surgeon.

Sunny Park, MD, MPH
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Painful ears post facelift is normal

What you are experiencing sounds completely normal. The discomfort in your ears is due to the fact that your face is still healing and swollen. In all honestly, it should begin to improve over the next couple of weeks, but yes, it can take up to a year for all to fully resolve and for you to see your final results. Be patient and kind to yourself as your body continues to heal.


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Ear problems after facelift

Having issues with your ears after a facelift is not unusual and these issues should resolve over time, usually in the first several months, but things can take up to year to completely normalize.

Andrew Campbell, M.D.

Facial Rejuvenation Specialist

Quintessa Aesthetic Centers

Andrew Campbell, MD
Milwaukee Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Ear stiff and swollen after face lift

Thank you for asking about your face lift.

What you are feeling is the result of surgical swelling and healing. There is nothing wrong - this is just the nature of your surgery. Your surgeon is right that it can take 18 months for the swelling to fully subside and feeling to return.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

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

Ears tender and stiff

Ear tenderness can occur following facelift but will usually subside after one to three months. I recommend that you post a photo if you are concerned about the shape and size of them.

Arian Mowlavi, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Why my ears are so stiff and sticking out after after facelift?

Thank you for your question.  Your concerns are very common during the first 3-4 weeks after facelift surgery.  Keeping her head elevated to encourage swelling to decrease and warm soaks can be helpful.  This is very common I expect that he will improve significantly over the next few weeks.  Be sure to follow closely for exams by her plastic surgeon.

Stiff ears

Thank you for the question and I would imagine your incisions are probably around the ears and consequently it makes them feel strange.  This will resolve but express your concerns to your surgeon

Dr Corbin

Frederic H. Corbin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews


Thank you for your question. It is typical for patients to sleep with your head elevated for two weeks after the procedure, but you should follow your surgeon's recommendation. You are in the very early stages of the recovery and should not judge your results for months. I suggest that you continue to follow the recovery instructions provided by your board certified facial plastic surgeon. Remain patient and rest assured that your experience is not atypical.

Best wishes,

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 120 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.