What Can I Do for a Facelift That was Made too Tight?

I had facelift procedure almost one year ago and the results are too tight in my connective tissue. I have tried massage, acupuncture, electro-stimulation, high-volt current, ultrasound, and reiki. Moist heat gives some relief and some mobility. I am living in constant torture due to constriction inside my skin, that grips my mind as well. Pain is slight, discomfort is extreme. Right ear still numb. Thank you for any advice you can give me.

Doctor Answers 12

Persistent Tightness And Pain After A Facelift

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This is a very unusual problem/complaint one year after a facelift procedure, no matter how it was performed. By far, most patients would have an opposite concern after a year...that they wish it was a little tighter. You have tried every known modality that induces soft tissue relaxation and have even given it a full year to relax. At this point I would not expect these symptoms to improve if there has not been any significant change over the past six months. Other than allowing more time, you may consider seeing a Neurologist and/or Pain Specialist for potential management of your nerve dysesthesia and pain.

Excessively Tight Facelift Solutions

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If one has an excessively tight facelift it does relax over a year or two, but if it is extremely tight and you have a “Hollywood” windswept look then after one or two years one can go in and release, reshape, and re-contour these areas to release the deep scar or SMAS to provide for a more natural, normal looking face.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

Tightness 1 year post facelift

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Most of what you are describing is related to irritated nerves.  You may wish to see a neurologist for medication to 'calm the nerves'

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

Face lift too tight can just be a part of healing

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This tightness feeling is sometimes a normal part of the face lift recovery. The healing process can give you many of those sensations. Applying pressure to those areas can help such as the use of wraps that you can buy. Time is your best friend. You need to just wait it out. For the discomfort, there are a lot of medications that can ease these feelings. I would discuss this with your doctor or even see a pain specialist.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

Discomfort after a facelift

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all of the information already provided is correct.  this amount of discomfort is  rare.. i would see a neurologist to address any nerve damage and relief from many meds that can be used.

a last resort can be exploration by the plastic surgeon and release of any deep sutures and fascia that may have been tightened ..  this is generally unheard of , but may be a last resort

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Too Tight Face Lift

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A face lift that is too tight is an unusual occurrence.  It is usually associated with significantly widened scars.  The numbness of the right ear is probably due to a greater auricular nerve injury.  Although there is a chance of improvement in the sensation to the ear it is unlikely after one year.  At this point  it would be best to continue the supportive treatments that have given some relief (moist heat) until the normal relaxation of the tissues occurs. 

Michael Sundine, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon

Tight facelift discomfort

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Thanks for the opportunity to address your concern.  Rarely does one hear that a facelift is too tight.  However, in your case it seems that it is not the cosmetic result that is the concern but ongoing issues such as pain and discomfort.  Since you are about one year out I would  not expect any significant changes in your condition.  Of interest are some of your symptoms including numbness.  This may indicate a nerve injury and I agree with some of the other responders to your question that a nerve block may be in order.  In addition, there are medications which may help with your symptoms.



James Wire, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon

There are some other effective therapies that can be tried.

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i would see a neurologist who may place you on one of several medications that may give you relief from the nerve discomfort.

Also your ear which is still numb may indicate that you have chronic irritation of one of the facial nerves which can sometimes be helped by nerve block, or these medications, again best evaluated by a neurologist.

The modalities you have tried are often effective, but when they fail you need to consider a more directed approach.

Dr. Mayl

Fort Lauderdale

Nathan Mayl, MD (retired)
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon

Tight Facelift

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Thank you for your question. As it is one year out, the chances of the tightness resolving is very little. If you are having discomfort from the tightness, you should ask your plastic surgeon for advice since it will most probably not resolve. Before I can give you any advice to this, I would need to examine you and also discuss the type of facelift with your surgeon.

Time heals most wounds!

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In your particular situation it seems like time will give you the most relief. It appears via your discussion, you have tried many alternative methods to no avail. While patients discuss tightness post surgery this is usually during the first few weeks post-operative and not a year later. I am sorry for your circumstances and I hope time will bring you some relief.

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 218 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.