(TMZ) -- Carrie Underwood might look different whenever she returns to the big stage ... 'cause she says she needed at least 40 stitches in her face after falling last month.
Carrie reportedly sent a health update Sunday to members of her fan club, revealing her doctor patched her face up with "between 40 to 50 stitches" while undergoing surgery from a nasty fall she suffered at home in November. She also broke her wrist at the time.
She goes on to say she's currently healing, but "not quite looking the same." She ends her note with a hopeful message about the new year ... adding "And when I am ready to get in front of a camera, I want you all to understand why I might look a bit different."
Carrie posted a photo of her covered face this Christmas season, but didn't address anything about her facial injuries ... which, apparently, were very serious. #GetWellSoon
This makes sense as to why she's been so quiet on social media lately. Glad she's okay!!