This is one of the more common procedures we do, especially being here in SW Florida. In addition to the usual complications there are some that are unique to face lifting. In the face there are 2 types of nerves – sensory and motor. Motor nerves innervate muscles and if they are injured there can be asymmetry to your smile or facial expressions. In 35 years I have been blessed not to have had a permanent injury. Sensory nerves provide sensation such as touch and feel. Almost everyone will experience some sensory nerve loss such as the cheek or earlobe may be numb or have decreased sensation. This usually will return in days, week or even months. On some occasions there may be a slight difference. The most feared complication is skin slough or skin loss. This is a piece of skin that dies, forms a scab and can leave a large scar. Fortunately it is rare. It usually almost always occurs in smokers. I tell all my patients to quit 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after. I can’t be as aggressive in a smoker as I can be in a non-smoker. Normal scars exist but they generally heal well and are hidden.
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