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Is sensation loss after a facelift permanent if it hasn't returned after 18 months?

Q:

I had eye surgery and a face and a neck lift 18 months ago. I have no returned sensation everywhere the skin was pulled away(cheeks, neck, ears and part eyes). It feels like a strap is tight around my face. I went to a very respected surgeon and he claims I am a first person that has had this experience. I am going to a neurologist soon, but I fear I may have to be prepared this loss is forever.

A:

Jennifer,

 There are different types of sensations and responses. We feel heat/ cold, fine/ light touch, pressure, sharp pain, proprioception and two point discrimination. Often there is a response to the stimuli like sweating, blanching, withdrawl, etc. If you really have completely have lost sensation you might burn or freeze part of your face not even knowing that it has occurred until a wound appeared.

 Some patients after facelifts feel like they lose fine/ light touch over areas of undermining. Oral Vitamin B6 can sometimes be of assistance but, at 18 months you probably have what sensation you are going to achieve.

 Hope this is of assistance. Best,

 

Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS

A:

Some loss of sensation adjacent to any surgical incision is normal but the total loss of sensation is a distinctly abnormal response to surgery. I would be  in agreement with your surgeon, I have never seen a patient with totally numb incisions and would therefore recommend a workup by a neurologist. A complete and detailed examination may give you more answers but you should be concerned at this point that your sensory deficit may be permanent.

A:

It is hard to imagine that you have absolutely no sensation, true anesthesia similar to the experience following a dental nerve block.   When patients have skin grafts, they often have "some" sensation develop in the grafted area.  It is very common to have a tightness in the surgical area which should ease up with time.  I think seeing a neurologist is a good idea.  You may consider seeing another plastic surgeon also.  

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