"Pulling Sensation" and Numbness After Mini-lift?

I had a mini-lift done 3 months ago. Just where the bottom of my earlobes connect to the sides of my face, I feel a "pulling sensation". As it doesn't hurt, I find it annoying. Is this normal and will it go away? Also, when I touch the skin on my face right in front of my ear-hole, I can't feel it. Is this normal after 3 months, or do I have nerve damage?

Doctor Answers 12

Pulling and numbness after minilifts are normal for at least 6 months.

The pulling sensation and the numbness can last up to 6 months quite easily and may take up to 12 months to resolve completely.  You shouldn't worry at this time. Enjoy the new you and don't let the sensations annoy you since you know they are only temporary.  Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Pulling and numbness is normal and will go away

Commonly after a Facelift, whether a mini lift or standard Facelift, numbness and pulling sensations can manifest.  Numbness is quite common, but generally gets better over time.  The majority of patients will improve with the numbness problems in the first weeks and then as the months go by numbness generally resolves.  Numbness as a permanent problem is possible but is rare. 

Pulling sensation is standard as well, particularly just after the procedure, but long term sensations of tightness or pulling generally abate as well.  Overall I don’t get too concerned about these initially and patience is suggested.  There is not really a good modality or treatment that might accelerate the resolution of these problems. 

As far as “nerve damage” is concerned, all individuals undergoing a mini lift or Facelift will have separation of sensory nerve endings to the skin as the skin is elevated off of the deeper tissue.  This is a “form of nerve damage” but is standard with the procedure.  Real nerve damage is when nerves that assist with muscle function, such as the facial nerve, is injured.  Again permanent muscle weakness or permanent numbness are rare events.

David Q. Santos, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

"Pulling Sensation" and Numbness After Mini-lift

Numbness or muscle weakness following a #facelift is not uncommon.  When the skin is separated from the underlying tissues during #surgery, small sensory nerves are cut. Varying degrees of #numbness will be present after surgery and will improve gradually as the nerves reconnect to the skin. This process can take from 2-6 months for face, neck and cheeks, and to 9-12 months for the forehead and scalp. Muscle #weakness may also be present around the mouth especially if liposuction is used. This typically recovers fully in the months after surgery. If you have certain concerns about the procedures and #healing process, it is recommended to call your board-certified surgeon or their medical staff and discuss those #concerns.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 109 reviews


It is not at all uncommon to have numbness at the ear lobe area. This is usually transatory. The pulling sensation is also normal.Be patient

David A. Bray, Sr., MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Pulling Sensation Could Be Internal HEaling & Scar Formation

The pulling senasation could be internal healing and scar formation that typically occurs with any Face Lift procedure.  Patients sometimes report a pinching sensation as well, which has the same cause.  Tingling and mild lightning type shooting sensation is an indication of cutaneous nerve regeneration which again is very typical after any type of Face Lift. 

As long as your earlobe doesn't start to pull forward or downward, this is normal post op healing...but please always seek the post-op advice of the plastic and cosmetic surgeon that did your Face Lift as only he/she knows what was done on your face.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Pulling sensation and numbness after mini-lift is normal...

To feel a pulling sensation and numbness 3 months after surgery is acceptable because you are still in the process of healing.  It can take several months to be completely healed, but in time you should regain full feeling in your face.  The nerve endings have to regenerate into the skin and that may take 6 months or more.  As the skin relaxes, the pulling sensation should resolve, but if you notice thickening of the incision around the earlobe be sure to see your surgeon immediately.

Andrew Miller, MD
Edison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 204 reviews

"Pulling sensation" and numbness 3 months after mini-lift.

At three months, you have not completely healed, and the "pulling sensation" will continue to improve over the next several months. If it does not completely resolve, a revision of this area under local anesthesia to take tension off the cheek skin by the earlobe with long-acting dissolvable sutures to the mastoid fascia just behind the earlobe will relieve this completely, but will create a new scar (probably a better one as there is less tension) and can also correct the "pixie ear" or other earlobe deformitiy if you have this.

Skin sensation will gradually recover as well, but will take up to 6 months or longer, and may not reture to full pre-operative sensibility. Virtually all patients note this early on, and virtually nobody is bothered by this after 6 months! Not to worry!

I thought "mini-lifts" involved only a "few days" of healing and "virtually no down-time." Maybe that was the "lunchtime lift." I guess not. (Sorry for the sarcasm--surgery is surgery no matter how slick the advertising or marketing is!)

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Numbness and Tingling after Facelift

During any surgical face lifting procedure the skin must be separated from underlying tissues to some degree, and the peripheral nerve branches that give sensation to the skin are cut. These tiny branches almost always reattach normally, but they grow at a very slow rate. Around the three month  point some of these nerve endings are starting to reattach. This can lead to odd sensations which are temporary.  Most patietns have completely normal sensation between 3-12 months postop

Roy David, MD

San Diego

Roy A. David, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Abnormal Sensations after Mini-lift

The "pulling" sensation you are experiencing on the earlobe is most likely normal, and secondary to scar tissue formation under the skin.  As the scar tissue softens over time this sensation should subside.  If the skin flap was pulled too tightly this may lead to a "pixie ear" deformity where the earlobe looks abnormally elongated.  This will have to be evaluated after 12 months of healing.  The numbness at the earlobe is also common, as the sensory nerves are cut when the skin flap is elevated during the procedure.  All symptoms should improve and fully resolve in about 6 months.....Good Luck.....Dr. Corrado

Anthony Corrado, DO
Philadelphia Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Mini-facelift and sensation

It is fairly common to have some numbness of the elevated skin regions after a facelift. This suusally gets better after a few months. Pulling on the ear is can lead to a pixie deformity.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 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.