I'm having a revision Facelift in 4 weeks. Can getting the second lift cause nerve damage?

It has been 16 months since my first deep plane face lift. Can getting the second lift cause nerve damage? Will it make the numbness worse? I am still numb in front of my ears. Is it harder on the patient the second time around? I am going under general again :-(. Will this cause more scar tissue? Will I have more pain then the first time? I am as nervous as the first time maybe worse.. The reason for my revision is some jowling and neck bands r back.

Doctor Answers 13

Risk of Revision Facelift

There are many research papers published on this topic.  The general census is that when performed by an experienced facelift surgeon the risk is about the same for nerve damage.  The same goes for skin necrosis due to something called the delayed flap phenomenon.  Studies being published on revision facelifts using a deep plane technique seem most promising as these are a different type of lift performed in a virgin plane of dissection making the surgery less traumatic while giving a much more significant result as the vector of pull and planes of release differ from the first surgery assuming the first surgery was a SMAS plication lift which is what most surgeons use. 

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

I'm having a revision Facelift in 4 weeks. Can getting the second lift cause nerve damage?

Any invasive facial procedure can cause nerve damage.  But, the risks are low in good hands.  A secondary facelift is often easier on the patient than the primary.

I do not agree that you should be more concerned with general anesthesia.  Anesthesia with a BC Anesthesiologist is very safe if you are healthy.  It is certainly MUCH more comfortable for you to have an invasive procedure while you're asleep.  

Stephen J. Ronan, MD, FACS
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

I'm having a Revision Facelift

The general risks of your second facelift are basically the same as your first facelift, such as bleeding, scarring, infection, nerve injury, etc. The numbness shouldn't get "worse". I would be more concerned with the fact that you will be under general anesthesia a second time for this elective procedure. That is significantly still more risky than local anesthesia. 

The real question is, WHY did your jowls return? It could be that your skin has a tendency to be more lax, or that your skin and SMAS simply need a little more tightening. These are the questions to discuss with your surgeon. I wish you the best. Dr A

Arnold Almonte, DO
Roseville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Second time

In some ways, technically the operation has some easier parts the second time. This is not of meaningful importance. Neither is how long the skin numbness may last. The important issue is whether proper judgement has been used to PLAN the second surgery and why this time it should be "better" and also whether the planned operation will be carried out in a technically skilled manner. Just "doing" another operation does not guarentee improvement, especially IF the plan is flawed.

Robert H. Hunsaker, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Revision facelift expectations

At 16 months post facelift you can expect a similar experience to the first procedure. In some people revision surgery actually goes easier than the first. Hopefully, your recurrent problems will be resolved.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Revision Face Lift complications

A secondary facelift may carry similar and different side-effects and risks of complications depending on the plane or level of the lift. 

I would not expect more numbness, nerve injury or healing recovery.

These are concerns to discuss with your surgeon before the procedure.

I wish you the best!

Dean P. Kane, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Secondary Facelift Experience

Thank you for your question. The postop recovery experience, pain, swelling and numbness issues will essentially be the same as the same procedure will be performed. Anytime you have surgery there is a risk of nerve injury.  The deep plane technique carries a slightly higher risk than other methods.  Secondary lifts can be somewhat of an easier dissection in most cases.  The difference in risks are not dramatically different, but I would address your individual concerns with your surgeon as he/she knows your anatomy and details of your surgery best. Best wishes on your recovery.

Robert F. Centeno, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Revision similar to original facelift

Your revision procedure will be, if anything, easier than your original.  Jowls and neck bands can be tough to tame.   There will be no more risk than with your original surgery.  You should do just fine.  My Best,  Dr C

George Commons, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Risk of Revision Facelift

The risk of nerve damage from a revision facelift is about the same as for it is for a primary surgery. Other considerations, such as complications related to anaesthesia and the duration of the recovery period, are also similar the second time around. Generally, there can be more swelling after revision face and neck lift surgery and healing time is often slightly longer that the first time. To allay your fears, be sure to discuss your expectations and your surgeon’s rationale for the surgical technique and plan. Before going into the surgery, it is best to feel that your surgeon has outlined an appropriate surgical approach to address your concerns.

Julian De Silva, MD
Birmingham Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 148 reviews


The risks are all dependent on the quality of the primary facelift. and the extent of the revision. Risks increase if you had any problems initially and I would always consent patients that in patients where I have not preformed the primary facelift, with revisionary facelifting there is an increased risk of facial palsy. Pain and numbness could be made worse although it depends a little on the scarring, the quality of the primary facelift and the extent of the revision. Having another facelift within 18 months does suggest to me that you may be best to get a second opinion. 

Gary L. Ross, MBChB, FRCS
Manchester Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 168 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.