Full face and neck lift and a chin implant (winged, inserted from underneath the chin). Will this improve?

I had a full face and neck lift/chin implant (external), 10 wks ago. I'm aware that the mandibular nerve can take some time to wake up properly. My surgeon explained it was a tight fit and he expected the nerve to have been stretched, but it will recover. It is slow. I also have a lot of stiffness from the chin, down the front of the neck and then up either side of lower face. I feel as if I want to keep stretching the muscles to make them less stiff. Will this improve? It feels muscular.

Doctor Answers 7

Face Lift and chin implant

Congratulations on moving forward with a rejuvenation procedure.  Your surgeon probably also wishes it goes as smooth as possible.  Yes its true that nerves can get stretched and will recover with time. As far as the stiffness, warm compresses or light massages with heat can also help.  You should definitely address any concerns with your surgeon and continue to ask for suggestions and remedies that can help speed up the healing process.

Best of luck!

Plantation Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Nerve changes after chin implant

Hello and thank you for posting your question. 

Nerve related recovery after stretching injury is measured in months, not days. Nerve structures recover by regeneration. This happens slowly and should be assessed over the matter of months. Speaking with your surgeon about the expectations regarding recovery would be useful and keeping your followup appointments are the best course of action at this point. 

Best wishes

Kathleen Waldorf, MD, FACS
Portland Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Face and neck lift and chin implant - will stiffness improve?

Thank you for asking about your face and neck lift and chin implant.

  • If you are seeing your smile return to normal, even if slowly, the marginal mandibular nerve should fully recover.
  • The stiffness down the neck and on the sides should also improve.
  • Swelling and stiffness can persist a long time after a face lift.
  • Check with your own surgeon to see if massage or muscle exercises might help.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

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

Chin Implant with Face Lift and Neck Lift

Hi There, 

The stiffness is often normal and many patients will have this feeling after a face lift and neck lift.  A chin implant can stretch the nerve, as long as you have some sensation this is a good sign that you will regain full sensation.  I have found giving my patients a short dose of oral steroids does help with the stiffness and swelling of the mandibular nerve.  

Hope this help.  Dr. Sajan

Javad Sajan, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Nerve injury with chin implant

Hello.  Thank you for your question.  The mental nerve, a branch of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve, provides sensation to the lower third of the face.  This nerve is at risk for stretch injury during placement of a chin implant, because the implant sits just below the opening where the nerve exits the mandible.  For this reason, it is not uncommon to experience some numbness of the chin and lower face during the early postoperative period.  Unless, the nerve was incidentally cut during the procedure, which is very unlikely, the numbness should improve over time.  This may take several months before the sensation returns to normal, but you will probably notice progressive improvement with each passing month.  

With regards to stiffness over the chin, front of the neck, and sides of the lower face, this would be expected following face/neck lift and chin implant.  It is simply due to swelling within the soft tissues, which is normal during the early postoperative period.  This swelling should continue to improve over time and the tissues will soften and return to a normal feel within a few months.  The time frame for resolution of the swelling can vary from one patient to the next.  Most of the swelling will typically resolve in the first 2 - 3 months, but there may be some subtle residual swelling and feeling of firmness that may take 6 - 12 months before it has completely resolved.  You are still early in the recovery period.  I would encourage you to be patient with the healing process.  Be certain to always discuss any concerns that you have with your primary surgeon.  No one knows your case like they do.  I wish you the best in your recovery.

Michael Boggess, MD
Nashville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Nerve recovery following facelift

It can take months for the nerves to recover following a facelift. For now, be patient and kind to yourself. You can try warm compresses to speed things along.


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Neck tightness after neck lift and chin implant.

Congratulations on your procedure and thanks for sharing your question. I can appreciate your concern.

The tightness is not only a result of the surgery but the scarring process. sling stretches, massage and time should take care of your current sensation. in some cases botox injections may help relaxing the muscles. 

Your Doctor is taking the correct steps. Have an open conversation with her/him, as you progress with your surgery.

Wishing you the best in your journey

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.