Top of my scalp is completely numb 5 1/2 weeks after hairline lowering/forehead reduction. When will sensation return?

I had one stage hairline lowering done 5 1/2 weeks ago. The surgeon excised just over 1 cm of skin from my forehead. The sides of my head, particularly around the temples, is still quite sore, and the ENTIRE top of my scalp remains completely numb. There is some mild itching, which I've taken as a sign that the nerves are regenerating, but I'm still concerned at the continued loss of feeling. At this stage is it normal to still be so numb?

Doctor Answers 9


It depends on precisely which tissure plane the lift was done on and whether any specific attempt to preserve the main nerves for sensation to the crown was made. If just bruised nerves it is mostlikely to return. If you had a deeper plane dissection, it is more likely that these nerves were sacrificed and while sensation will not return, the are will get smaller and your brain will typically begin to progressively ignore it more and more over time. Usually it is not an issue long term. Ask your surgeon if he/she identified and preserved the nerves or cut them.

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Top of my scalp is completely numb 5 1/2 weeks after hairline lowering forehead reduction. When will sensation return?

During surgery, the cutaneous nerves can be severed. It can take several weeks to several months for the sensation to return. Be patient and give yourself time to heal. 

Suzanne Kim Doud Galli, MD, PhD, FACS
Washington Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Scalp numbness

It is normal to have numbness following  your procedure. When a scalp lowering procedure is performed, the nerves that supply sensation to the forehead and scalp are bruised. It can take several months for these nerves to wake up and for you to regain your normal sensation. Itching is also quite normal and indicates the scalp is healing and the nerves are regenerating. Everyone is different and the times for these nerves to work normally varies from patient to patient.

Robert M. Wald, Jr., MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Numb 5 1/2 weeks after hairline lowering/forehead reduction. When will sensation return?

Yes, it is common to have the numbness you are describing 5 1/2 weeks after your procedure.  The itching is indeed a sign that your nerves are recovering.  The numbness can persist for 6 months but can take one to two years to return to complete normal sensation.  However, the timeline is typically about 6 months.  Be careful with hairdryers (curling irons) and other similar devices until the sensation returns so as to avoid burning or injuring the skin.

I hope this helps.

Timothy R. Miller, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Numb scalp after procedures

usually resolve with time, even when the nerves may be cut completely.  You can only hope for the best and it would be encouraging if you developed electric like sensations in your scalp as it usually is a sign of healing.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Scalp sensation after hairline lowering

Any full depth incision across the front of the hairline will always cause numbeness to the front and  top of the scalp. All hairline lowering operations go through this condition. The feeling  usually starts to return in 3 months and will be complete in 9-12 months.You are correct in that itching is a sign of the start of sensory nerve recovery . Soreness in the temples is common as sensation is partially preserved there . Be sure to have the area checked by your surgeon.  

Sheldon S. Kabaker, MD FACS
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 35 reviews


Numbness is a normal after a forehead reduction surgery.  It can last weeks to months.  It is a good idea to follow up with your surgeon for a recheck.

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Numb scalp after forehead lift?

Thank you for your question.  You are still very early in the healing process. Soreness is to be expected at 5 1/2 weeks post op.  Additionally, it can take up to 18 months for the sensation to fully return to your scalp. Be patient. Itching or the feeling of "pins and needles" are indications of nerve regeneration and these are normal signs of healing. Please call your plastic surgeon's office if you would like some reassurance.

Steven Vath, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 152 reviews

Top of scalp is completely numb 5 1/2 weeks after hairline lowering/forehead reduction. When will sensation return?

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

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.