Many people spend years dreaming about having their appearance surgically enhanced and reversing signs of aging such as unwanted lines, folds, and wrinkles. However, as with all surgical procedures, facelifts and other facial plastic surgeries have side effects. One is skin numbness in the weeks following your operation.
How long does it take for the skin to regain feeling? And what do these skin changes feel like? Here’s what you can expect concerning skin sensation after facial plastic surgery.
What Do These Changes Feel Like?
Different patients experience various sensation changes, with numbness being the most common. Some patients report an overall loss of feeling. Others note a tingling sensation around their incision sites. Often, patients compare post-surgery numbness to the feeling you experience when a leg or arm falls asleep.
Skin sensation may return suddenly or gradually. Many patients feel a tingling sensation as the nerves heal and the feeling returns.
What Alters Skin Sensation After Facial Plastic Surgery?
Your body has a nerve network communicating sensations to the brain. When your skin experiences a wound, it may disrupt this system. Afterward, it takes time for these nerve pathways to restructure and regenerate after surgery.
Many patients preparing for their operation wonder what this sensation loss will feel like and when they can expect to regain skin feeling after surgery. Review our guide to the different types of post-surgical numbness you might experience, and how long it takes skin sensations to return to normal.
Numbness Due to Lying Down for an Extended Period
Lying still on the surgical table during an operation can cause numbness in the limbs. The longer the surgery takes, the higher the risk will be for this type of sensation loss. This surgery-related numbness usually resolves itself rather quickly and is usually not of concern.
Numbness Due to Anesthesia
Anesthesia may be the culprit for patients losing skin sensation after waking up from surgery. Though this may seem concerning at first, it is a good sign! Numbness from anesthesia may last for few hours or a day after surgery. It will allow you to avoid any discomfort at the start of your recovery.
Numbness Due to Incisions
If your surgical procedure requires incisions, you may experience numbness around the incision sites caused by minor nerve damage. You can expect feeling to return a few months after your operation. However, this can vary from patient to patient.
Numbness Due to Nerve Damage
In more severe cases, permanent nerve damage may result from a facial plastic surgery procedure. Though rare, this potential complication could occur from your surgery. Dr. Gale will discuss this with you during your consultation. For some patients, the risk of skin numbness is acceptable for restoring facial beauty.
When to Worry
While post-surgery numbness is normal and typically not a cause for concern, some cases may indicate a more severe problem. Make sure to immediately call your surgeon if you experience facial drooping.
Healing occurs differently from patient to patient. The extent of surgery and how quickly you heal impacts the level of sensation loss and skin recovery. Smoking will reduce oxygen in the blood and slow the healing process. If you smoke, we advise you to quit the habit before undergoing surgery to avoid lasting complications.
When Will My Skin Feel Normal After Plastic Surgery?
The more invasive the surgery, the more likely you’ll be to experience sensation loss. While feeling usually returns after surgery, some patients will experience a permanent change or loss in skin sensation.
It is common to experience sensation changes around facelift incision sites for up to 12 to 18 months. However, many patients begin to feel normal sensations three to six months after surgery.
If you would like to learn more about sensation changes after facial plastic surgery, Dr. Gale will be happy to answer any of your questions. Contact us at (801) 506-6344 to schedule a visit to our Riverton, Utah, plastic surgery center.