Lower face lift/Neck lift-using sutures.

Can the vagus nerve be damaged during this type of surgery? If so, what would be the symptoms and treatments to repair?

Doctor Answers 6

Vagus nerve injury during face/ neck lift...

It is next to impossible for your vagus nerve to be injured during a face or neck lift.  I don't perform suture only lifts, but I can't imagine injury during that technique either. This is because the nerve lies deep in the neck under a large muscle in a fibrous lining called the carotid sheath adjacent to your carotid artery and jugular vein.  Injury to the nerve is unlikely without injuring one of these major vessels.  Additionally, the dissection for a face or neck lift is not this deep.  Suture placement, likewise, should not be this deep.  Injury to the vagus nerve will affect numerous things, but noticeable to you would be a hoarse voice from vocal cord paralysis on the side of injury as the vagus nerve shoots off the recurrent laryngeal nerve that gives most of the movement to your vocal cords.  I don't know what you have experienced but perhaps your should ask another question with your symptoms so we can better help you.

New Orleans Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Lower face lift/Neck lift-using sutures.

Hello vsaling,The vagus nerve would not be injured in any cosmetic surgery.  The reason has to do with where that nerve is located in the neck.  It is very deep in the neck, deep to your carotid artery (the main blood supply to the head), and the jugular vein (the main draining vein of the neck).  It is deep to two large muscles in the neck (called the sternocleidomastoid muscles).  There would be no way to get the vagus nerve without serious other issues including cutting those large vessels.  Even with sutures the only way to get to the nerve (and keep in mind this is so far removed from where a surgeon doing a neck lift would be) would be to lasso it as well as those other vessels.  I would recommend you describe the symptoms you are having and then a more meaningful response from the community regarding treatments can be given.I hope this helps and good luck.  

William Marshall Guy, MD
The Woodlands Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Damage to vagus nerve in suture based neck lift

It is very unlikely that someone who is familiar with neck anatomy may create injury to the vagus nerve while performing face lift. However, non-surgical specialist who is using suture based neck lift (it is hardly a case that a board certified plastic or ENT surgeon would use it without particular reason) may create problems due to a lack of knowledge of basic neck anatomy and face lift related surgical planes. You should seek a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon with good reputation in facial surgery for detailed evaluation and a second opinion. Good luck.

Zoran Potparic, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Not possible

It is really not possible to damage the vagus nerve during a lower face/neck lift.  If so, the surgeon would likely encounter bleeding due to proximity to large vessels in the area and the location is very deep to the plane used for necklifts.

Brian K. Machida, MD, FACS
Ontario Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Injury to Vagus Nerve During Facelift

While anything is possible, it would be an extraordinarily unusual to have a vagus nerve injury during a facelift.  I have never heard of that complication.  That nerve lies deep in the neck tissue and a surgeon should be no where in the vicinity of that nerve.  I hope this helps.   

face and neck lift candidate

For a full set of facial photographs are required to make a determination about being a candidate for a surgical procedure.  The goal of a lower face and neck lift is to tighten the loose skin in the face and neck, tighten loose facial and neck muscles, lift the jowls, and remove any fatty deposits in the neck.  We use permanent sutures to hold the tissues in their new position and never had a vagus nerve injury in over 25 years

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 126 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.