Is This Normal Healing After Mini-facelift?

4 months ago had mini-lower lift & platysmaplasty. Looks great but many issues with recovery, mostly tightness around both ears, sometimes radiating down jaw; tightness on right side of neck; "plugged up" sensation right ear (dr. says ear canal is clear); persistent numbness around both ears. I massage the area but it doesn't seem to give more than momentary relief. Some days are definitely better than others and I get my hopes up but I always seem to eventually regress. Can this be normal? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 11

Feelings of "too tight" go away after facelift

For the first 6 months many patients ask - "Did you have to pull it so tight?"  After one year, many patients ask - "Couldn't you have pulled it a little tighter?"  This is a bit of humor among surgeons, but the reality is that surgeries do relax over time and we often purposely try for a little "too tight" early on so that the long term results are pleasing. Tightness and numbness usually is an issue for the first six months.  Some patients will have areas of numbness that last longer, and may even be permanent - although usually not bothersome.  At 4 months, I would encourage you to enjoy the nice result, and follow up with your surgeon regularly.  Your course sounds normal and the discomfort should improve daily.

Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Healing concerns after face lift

All symptoms you have mentioned are very common during healing process after face lift surgery. Yes, they are uncomforting, but all or majority of these symptoms resolve with time, usually by 1 year postop.  Altered sensation may occasionally take longer to recover.

Alexander Ovchinsky, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Mini Facelift Recovery

Thank you for your question.  All what you are experiencing is completely normal after facelift surgery.  Unfortunately if it is not pulled tight enough you would not have achieved the great look you wanted, this should also ensure long lasting results.  Please follow up with your plastic surgeon regularly, however this should resolve after 6-12 months.
All The Best 

4 Months after Facelift and Residual Tightness - Is This Normal?

    Residual tight feelings at 4 months following facelift may be normal sensations in certain patients.  As the scar softens over the next few months, the tightness should improve and the tissues will relax.  This relaxation effect is not something most people want to happen after facelift, but this is unavoidable.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

Healing from a mini facelift

After 4 months you will still be healing. It is not abnormal to feel tightness, numbness, and swelling at this time. It is possible the sensation you are experiencing in your ear is due to pressure created by swelling. Numbness may be caused by temporary nerve damage, which will usually resolve itself within 6 months to a year following surgery. It may take even longer for a complete recovery, but it really depends on the patient and the extent of their surgery. Light massage can help, but I would only recommend the massage if you can tolerate it.  I would recommend speaking with your surgeon regarding the issues you are experiencing. He/she may be able to provide some additional insight on your side effects and what may be done to provide some relief. Hang in there, and I wish you the best of luck with the remainder of your recovery.

Paul S. Nassif, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Strange sensations after facelift

The sensations and tightness you are feeling after your procedure is not uncommon. While most people do not feel these sensations four months out, it does happen. Massaging and stretching excersizes for the neck do help. With time, all of these will disappear.

Andres Bustillo, MD, FACS
Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Normal Healing Process after a Mini-Facelift

Tightness, numbness, and that "plugged up" sensation are all within the norms of symptoms experienced during the recovery period, but usually should clear up within the first year after the procedure. The reason you feel that "tightness", even though 4 months have passed, is because the skin is pulled tightly during the procedure on purpose so that the results would not regress over time. The numbness results from interruption of superficial sensory nerves which then grow back over the course of a year.

Ramtin Kassir, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 146 reviews

The Dreaded "Mini Facelift"

 A feeling of "tightness" is not the feeling that I try to achieve and my patients feel but the "tightness" may get better as the tissues beneath the skin soften.  Only time will tell.

The numbness is due to decreased functioning of the Greater Auricular nerve.  Again the sensation may improve with time.

The eustachian tube dysfunction (plugged up ear) may require decongestants or steroids to evaluate if this alleviates the problem.  


Dr. ES

Problems after a mini facelift

After 4 months most problems should be well on their way to resolution.  Numbness should get better; if it is not better by 6-8 months it will likely be permanent.  Enjoy the good result and massage massage massage.  Scar tissue can take as long as 18 months to mature, so you have a little more time to wait. During this period stretching the scar (with massage) and neck exercises may help with the tightness.

Daniel Greenwald, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Healing after a facelift

These are very common symptoms to experience following a facelift and often take many months to over a year to completely resolve. I would make sure that you have follow up with your surgeon to ensure that the healing process is progressing normally and be compliant with his or her instructions. In the vast majority of cases a tincture of time is all that is needed to get the results you are hoping for.

Todd C. Miller, MD
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 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.