My Ear Canals Feel Weird After Surgery, Will This Go Away?

One month after facelift/ neck lift surgery my ears are very uncomfortable. My right ear is worse the tragus (sp?) is tight sort of pushed in a bit. I have to open it to even get a q-tip in that ear canal. My inner ears feel like they are being tugged on. From my ear to my jaw line is very hard and tight, will that go away. I am not seeing the results of a defined jaw line that I wanted. Is it too soon? Also is it normal for my outer ears to feel numb and hurt when they touch a pillow?

Doctor Answers 10

Healing after a facelift, lite-lift

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healing after these procedures sometimes takes a while.

swelling around the canal may occur with tightening of the smas layer and sometimes feels as though the ears are plugged.

this will improve with time


Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Sensitive Ears

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The tragus is an area that can be effected from a standard facelift.  The tragus can have thick scar tissue, or it can have tension and distortion from the skin being pulled to tight.  In addition, it can still have mild residual swelling if the procedure was only one month ago.  Based on your time from procedure, you probably don't have thick scar tissue leaving you with the possibility of the skin being pulled too tight or having mild swelling.  Both of these should resolve over the next month or so.  Obviously check in with our surgeon to keep an eye on your progress.  Regards, Dr. Lanfranchi, Las Vegas.

Paul Lanfranchi, DO, FAOCO
Las Vegas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Ear Canals Feel Weird after Facelift

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   The ear canals should be examined.  With regard to the other concerns, this may be technique related and could be expected to improve.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Early yet after a facelift

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You are in the early stages of healing.  The tightness wil relax and the jawline will slowly improve as the swelling resolves  The tragal incision to the ear can alter the shape and other issues can arrise.  However, it sounds like you are doing well for a month.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Being patient after procedure

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What I always tell patients is that results take time; especially after a face lift. Our body has to go through an inflammatory response and this will take several weeks. You will see swelling and bruising for a while. A far as your ear, you should go back to the physician who did the procedure to take a look at your ear. You probably just have fluid in the ear from the procedure. The numbness that you have should go away over a period of time. This is normal for most patients to have this.

Jeffrey Adelglass, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Face Lift Ear Pain

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It is common for sensory changes to occur around the ears following a face lift. Usually those changes improve with time.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Ear pain after face lift

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Your scars are very tight. This and the hardness and numbness usually improve with time but you have a lot of problems for 4 weeks after surgery. Here's what to do:

  1. Wait 2 weeks, until you are six weeks after surgery. A lot improves at 6 weeks.
  2. Then see your surgeon.
  3. A very cautious steroid injection may help a tight scar.
  4. After another six weeks, another injection or a minor scar revision may help more.
  5. If your surgeon won't or can't work on this with you, get a second opinion - but you will pay for the consultation and the treatment.

Your improvement? This should be visible at once unless you had bleeding or fluid in the area. Discuss this with your surgeon. Perhaps you expected too much. Or perhaps you may need that second opinion. Good luck!

Weird feeling in my ear canals after facelift surgery

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It is very common to have plugging, tugging, and pulling sensations around the ears following a facelift. Most of the time these sensations gradually subside over a couple of months. I would follow up with your surgeon to ensure that you don't have an old blood clot in the ear or an external canal infection. It is very normal for your ears to feel numb for several months following surgery.

Todd C. Miller, MD
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon

Ear discomfort after facelift surgery

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The most unexpected feeling after a facelift for many patients is how it initially feels on their ears. With the incisions running into and around the ears, they will have some discomfort, tightness and numbness. For some it is initially more uncomfortable than others. The ears, by far, offer the greatest source of discomfort after surgery as the rest of the facial skin is largely numb. Much of this should have subsided however by one month after surgery, particularly the pain. You should have your ears checked by your surgeon to be sure that your canals are not occluded with dried blood or prep solution as well as to rule out an external otitis. 

Unfortunately these are expected sensory changes for some after a facelift.

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I strongly encourage you to discuss your concerns with your plastic surgeon.  The ears need to be examined to determine if any impacted material is present in the ear canal contributing to your discomfort.  One month after surgery is generally when the face feels the tightest.  This sensation begins to subside after 6 to 8 weeks following surgery.  Numbness over the ears can be related to compression of the great auricular nerve.  This may or may not full resolve over time.   Resolution can take 6 months or more in some cases.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 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.