Post op numbness following facelift or brow surgery?

What percent of YOUR patients report total restoration of skin sensation so that the face feels EXACTLY as it did prior to their facelift or scalp feels EXACTLY as it did prior to brow lift at the 1 year mark? If not then, when as a percentage?

Doctor Answers 11

Numbness after Face and Brow Lifts

The answer to your question, as you asked it, is that no one ever gets back sensation "exactly" like it was before surgery.  However almost everyone has return of sensation enough that they do not worry about it, nor does it bother them at all.  To get to the state takes about 6 months to a year and, occasionally, requires some work at sensibility reeducation.  The majority of people don't really notice a difference in most areas after several months.  Also, most people are so happy with the results of the surgery, mild differences in sensation in areas where you rarely concentrate on what you feel seen a trivial trade off.  As good as I am in detecting these differences, I only have 1 small place that I never think about

Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Postop numbness following facelift or brow surgery?

Hello! Thank you for your question! Numbness after any surgical procedure is expected for several weeks to months following. As the nerves to the area are traumatized and will then experience a temporary neuropraxia, a transient loss of nerve conduction. This usually resolves over the next 6-12 weeks, but depending on the procedure performed, sometimes much longer. Typically this should resolve by 1 year. As it goes past this date, the likelihood of the sensation returning is small. However, it can take up to 2 years. If no return from there, it is unlikely to return. It should be discussed that persistent sensory changes may develop following any surgical procedure.

The usual signs of the nerves regenerating and neuropraxia resolving is itching, followed by a burning sensation and then occasional sharp, shock-like pains. These will be normal to experience, and actually a promising sign. Usually, normal sensation returns, but is is also possible to have decreased sensation or even increased sensation to the areas affected. Re-educating nerves postoperatively is often helpful and will allow proper instruction for the affected sensory nerves - methods include using different textures to the affected areas when showering, bathing, applying lotion, etc. If bothersome, there are some medications that may be helpful, including Neurontin for pain for hypersensitivity. You can try various textures such as washcloths, loofahs, cotton sheets, etc. Massaging the areas is also beneficial for the incision to make the finest scar possible. The last place to regain the sensation will be directly adjacent to the incision/scar as the nerves will make its way from the periphery to this location. If continual pain arises, evaluation is warranted. After ruling out other causes, one rare explanation may be that a neuroma has developed and may require surgical excision. This is very unlikely unless a large sensory nerve has been transected inadvertently during the procedure. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Facelift and sensation


There is always some altered sensation after any incision. Typically it will return within a year, but it is not uncommon to have altered sensation permanently over your incision. If you are looking for someone in your area for your facelift, I would recommend Dr. Todd Lefkowitz in Columbia, SC. He has a special interest in facelift and trained with some of the masters in the field. He does outstanding work and would take great care of you. His website is below. Good luck.

Arun Rao, MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Loss of sensation after facelift or brow lift

every 1 has loss of sensation after a facelift or brow lift.  Most of that sensation returns over 1 year's time.  But I don't think anything ever returns exactly as it was before as this is a significant surgery.  I make my patients aware of this before surgery and they don't seem to be bothered by it so long as they are aware of it.  Some patients whom I have met in the past who have had surgery elsewhere were concerned about it but once I explained to them that it is essentially common and everyone who has a facelift they seem less concerned.

I hope that was helpful to you.  Even if it has been a year since her facelift you'll probably find that the sensation as a little better as the months and years go by.

Chase Lay, MD
double board-certified facial plastic surgeon

Chase Lay, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Numbness after face lift and brow lift

  • After any surgery including a face lift or brow lift, there will be some minor, permanent changes in feeling.
  • After a face lift, the numbness in the neck and skin is gone in most people by 18 months
  • After a brow lift, depending on the technique, there will be numb patches in the scalp above the scar which are permanent. 

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Will face and brow return to normal sensation.

The only true way to answer this is to say 0% of my patients say their face or brow feels EXACTLY like it did prior to surgery.  The incision line from ANY surgery and some of the skin around it can have decreased sensation for months or permanenetly after surgery.  The areas of decreased sensation are typically very small and of no consequence to my patients.  It doesn't affect their recovery nor their result.

Jeffrey M. Darrow, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 98 reviews

Post-op numbness following facelift or browlift

Numbness is to be expected after facelift or browlift surgery.  Every patient's sensation returns at different intervals, however numbness is expected to last approximately 6-12 months.  The areas that will definitely be effected are near the earlobe or under the chin, as well as in the hairline of the scalp.  

Edward J. Gross, MD
Orlando Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Sensation after facelift

Most patients have a return of sensation at one year. However, the sensation is altered somewhat from the pre-operative state.

Andres Bustillo, MD, FACS
Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

100% of return of sensibility is not possible after facelift.

After a facelift short-term numbness always occurs. Usually by six months to a year patient states that The face feels as it did before surgery although commonly they can point out small areas of numbness particularly behind the ear. Precise neurologic testing would show some diminished sensibility in all facelift patients even years after the procedure.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews


Most patient experience some numbness after a facelift or brow lift surgery with most of the sensation returning back after a year or so. No one person is similar so each experience can be different for each individual.

Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 118 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.