Would There Be Any Sensation at All in & Around Ears if Greater Auricular Nerve Were Damaged in Mini-lift?

The area around both ears & ear lobes feel numb yet I can sense heat/cold, sharpness, touch etc in the area. Other than the lobes, no other part of the ear itself was ever numb. Does this sound like potential Greater Auricular Nerve injury? I'm 3 months post-op and there's been no real indication of nerves regenerating other than occasional sharp electric like pains shooting into ears. Thank you for your time.

Doctor Answers 8

Nerve damage after face lift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}


Thank you for the question.  Numbness can be caused by a nerve being cut or sometimes the nerve being significantly pulled on.  Sometimes when the nerve is placed under tension pain can be causes but numbness is not.  More often than not, nerve issue such as these do great with time.  It may take considerably longer than 3 months for this to happen however.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

3 Months after Facelift with numbness of earlobes

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

    You may get the sensation back over the next year to 18 months.  There is a great deal of overlap in some nerve territories.

Facelift and nerve injury

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It doesn't sound to me like a greater auricular nerve injury, especially both sides.  At three months the sensory nerves in the area are still healing and some numbness around the area is normal just frome surgery. You performed good nerve testing. However, if the electric pain persist at the six months mark there could be a nerve issue.  Stay intouch with your plastic surgeon 

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Nerve damage following facelift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

In general, nerve damage from a facelift can result in the following side effects:


1) Numbness of the face
2) Difficulty making certain facial expressions
3) Ear numbness
4) Drooping of facial features (mouth or cheek)

Most temporary nerve damage that occurs from a facelift will be resolve in anywhere from 6 months to a year. It may take longer for a complete recovery, but it depends on the patient and the circumstances of the issue. At 3 months, you still have some healing to do. I would recommend speaking with you surgeon regarding any concerns, as he/she knows the extent of your surgery and will be able to provide the best advice for your issue. Thanks and good luck!

Ear numbness after face lift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The likely possibilities after a face lift are an injury to  -

  1.  the posterior branch of the greater auricular nerve
  2. a branch off the posterior branch  of the greater auricular nerve
  3. swelling from surgery - less likely after 3 months.

The posterior branch gives feeling to the lobe, the lower half of the ear front and back and the skin right behind the lobe. Ear lobe numbness may be the only symptom because of cross-over from other nerves.  Shooting pains suggest that the nerve may be recovering. 

What about seeing your plastic surgeon and together documenting the exact area of change? See him again in 3 months. That way you both know if the nerve is recovering.

Best wishes!

Facelift sensation and nerves

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

From what you describe after your facelift, it is unlikely that your great auricular nerve was injured. The nerve has a large area of distribution of sensation for the ear, and one would expect a larger area of numbness if the nerve had been injured. It is more likely that the numbness is secondary to smaller cutaneous nerves in the region. I would be optimistic that the majority of the sensation would return to normal by the six month mark.

Jamil Asaria, MD
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 139 reviews

Nerve Injury After Mini-Facelift?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Yes it does sound like the Greater Auricular nerve has been injured.  At this point observation (6 months) is the best medicine. 


Dr. ES

Would There Be Any Sensation at All in & Around Ears if Greater Auricular Nerve Were Damaged in Mini-lift?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It does not sound like Greater Auricular Neve damage to me. For 6 months to a year patients can have sensation issues from cutting through the small nerves that run within the skin that none of us can see. Most of the numbness will resolve with time. With Greater Auricular nerve damage I would expect you to have more complaints of numbness involving the area behind the ear and more of the ear, not just the lobes. You probably need to give this another 3 months or out to one year to really know if the feeling will return. I would consult with your surgeon and express your concerns.

Richard J. Brown, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 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.