Question: What are the potential risks and complications associated with facelift surgery? I am 44 years old and in good health.
Answer: Well, overall, the risks from a facelift surgery are exceptionally low when performed in experienced hands. But risks would include blood collection under the skin, which is called a hematoma, which would need to be evacuated if this would actually occur. Other risks include injury to a nerve that provides sensation in and around the ear that could result in permanent numbness of this area and, depending on the technique of facelift performed, other risks would include injury to the facial nerve that could cause weakness of the muscles of facial expression.
All of these risks are rather low, especially the risk to any motor nerve or facial expression damage. The risk of a hematoma is approximately 5%. The risk of injury to the great auricular nerve is approximately 7%, depending on which article you quote but, in my own personal hands, I have never had a patient tell me that they had permanent numbness, and I have certainly never seen direct injury to the great auricular nerve during any facelift that I have performed. Injury to motor nerves is exceptionally rare and, though I have seen a few patients with some temporary weakness after a facelift, this is due to some mild injury to the nerve due to cauterization of minor bleeding during the procedure itself. These mild injuries eventually resolve and the full function of the muscles of facial expression have always returned within approximately six weeks. This is a very unusual complication but fortunately, at least in my own personal experience, this has never been a permanent consequence of facelift surgery. All in all, the complication rate is exceptionally low and, typically, these sort of mild complications are only temporary and will leave no lasting results.