Q: Dr. Eppley, Over one year ago I had a facelift and damage occurred in both great auricular nerves. My ears have been horrible since then. I have trouble sleeping on them and I am aware of the pain on most days. Do you do a repair on the nerves? I would like to see if the nerves can be repaired through surgery.  I am in great discomfort all of the time.

A: What you have is a greater auricular nerve injury from your facelift that is likely due to a complete transection and the proximal end of the nerve now has a neuroma. With this nerve condition there are two nerve treatment options. 

1) Resection of the neuroma and place the nerve end into the muscle or wrap it in a fat graft. This would be the most common treatment approach.

2) Actual repair or nerve grafting to reconnect the two ends of the nerve. This is less common as finding the distal cut end of the nerve can be very difficult or impossible in the scar tissue. If both ends are found a small nerve graft may be needed if they can not be stretched and brought together.

Given your degree of symptoms it is clear that something needs to be done.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana