I had a deep plane Face lift/brow lift, why do I have this pain? (photos)

Do I have nerve damage? Is something wrong? Will this pain ever go away? It's been two months now and for the past month I've had cronic pain of tingling, skin crawling, burning type pain 24hr a day ONLY on top left side of scar. Can't sleep or conduct a quality life style.

Doctor Answers 9

Healing after a facelift

Generally speaking, it can take 6 to 12 months to completely heal after surgery. Please keep in touch with your surgeon or his/her clinical team to discuss your ongoing concerns.

Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Cutaneous pain after facelift can be managed by injections.

There may be some inflammation around the cutaneous nerve behind your ear. Small amount of local anesthesia administered by your surgeon should immediately cause pain relief. Steroid injections that same area should help out until healing is complete and the pain goes away on its own.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Strange pain after deep plane brow lift

Thank you for asking about the pain after your face lift and brow lift.

I am sorry you are having this pain. There are many branches of nerves of feeling in this area.
Your description is of dysesthesias (strange feelings) caused by nerve irritation or injury.
Given its severity, return to your surgeon for the following:
  • mapping of the nerve pain to see if there is a trigger point
  • an injection of a long-lasting local anesthetic. This often ends the cycle of post-operative nerve pain
  • consideration of neurontin to control the pain
  • if a trigger point can be identified - exploration of the incision at the site to look for a trapped nerve that can be surgically release. 
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Hope you found this answer helpful. Best wishes.

I had a deep plane Face lift/brow lift, why do I have this pain?

Most facial rejuvenation procedures require incision and dissection to varying degrees. This surgical process often times creates trauma to sensory nerves. The process of recovery of these sensory nerves is accompanied by all of the sensations that you describe. Most likely, what you're feeling - is a road to recovery.

Sensory Nerve Pain after Pretrichal Brow Lift

The type of incision that you have shown provides a strong brow lift and is often used to lower a high hairline. The relative disadvantage of this type of incision is that it always results in the disruption of the small sensory nerves that innervate the scalp. The immediate result is profound numbness of the scalp that slowly resolves over a 12-18 month period.  As the nerves grow back, it is not uncommon for the patient to experience periods of intense itching, burning, tingling and occasional electrical shocks. However, the pain that you describe is a little different because it is focal in nature. This could be caused by scar tissue enveloping a small nerve, pressure from a deep suture, or from a traumatic nerve growth (neuroma). Treatment varies but can include massage, steroid injection and the removal of painful suture(s). The  injection of a small amount of Botox into the painful area has been shown to help in some cases of neuropathic pain.  There are also a variety of medications that help manage nerve pain including amitriptyline, carbamazepine and pregabalin. These solutions are best discussed in consultation with your surgeon. Best of luck.

Brock Ridenour, MD
Saint Louis Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Scalp pain after an open brow lift

The incision that you are exposing in the photo most likely caused transection of sensory nerves. You could have developed a neuroma at the site. Only an experienced surgeon with lots of experience with this type of surgery can properly assess your condition and recommend appropriate treatment. Good news is that this type of pain can be significantly improved with proper treatment and passing of time. The best of luck to you.

Boris M. Ackerman, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Brow lift and sensory fibers

During a brow lift, the sensory fibers to the back of the head will be cut and it can take 6 months to a year to improve .It may be feel like tingling or ants crawling until it heals. Best of luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Pain after browlift

You are having regrowth of the sensory nerves which causes the tingling, etc.  When it is intense there are pills you can take, or injections into the scar that can help reduce the inflammation.  See your doctor.  

John J. Martin, Jr., MD
Coral Gables Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Pain at incision site

I would suggest you return to your surgeon. You may be developing scar tissue at the incision site which can become painful. Massage can help break up the scar and sometimes injections with a steroid may be helpful. Without examining you in person, its difficult to tell. I am sure your surgeon would be happy to evaluate and treat you. 

Dilip D. Madnani, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 71 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.