Ask a doctor

6 Months Post-Op Tummy Tuck - Still Numb And Very Swollen - Is This Normal?

6months ago i have a a tummy tuck and breast augmentation and lift all at once the breast part is fine but my abs are at times tender to the touch have pins and needles the scar is higher than was first told and i have bulges above the scar and if i excerise or work to much it swells mover and is tight and painful sometime even something as wonderful as sex ends up painful and unsatisfiable due to my abs and the muscles what do I do i still can't wear any of my clothes i wore before s

Doctor Answers (10)

Numbness and swelling after 6 months


Post-operative sensation on your abdomen will be different from the sensation that you had prior to your surgery. Some times, you may feel numb; some times you may feel "pins and needles." This altered sensation is very common and can persist for a long time, i.e. over a year.  In regards to swelling, it is also very common.  In fact, you are expected to have some swelling after tummy tuck.  Although most of the swelling subsides in 6 weeks, it may last over 6 months.  If you still have swelling at 6 months, it may be due to residual fat or retained fluid collection.  I would advise you to discuss it with your plastic surgeon.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

6 months after tummy tuck surgery.


At 6 months after surgery, your swelling should be gone. Numbness can continue up to 18 months and may never return to normal, particularly in the center of the tummy between the belly button and the incision. As for pain in the muscles, this can occur early on, but should be improving significantly at your stage. I recommend a thorough evaluation of your symptoms by your plastic surgeon.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Pain post tummy tuck


While most patients feel quite normal after 6 months, many patients heal more slowly.

It is worth discussing your problems with your plastic surgeon.  Is there retained fluid?  Is there extra fat or skin?

If you do not fit into your old clothes, this is decidedly unusual.  Have you gained weight?

Patients who are active, work out, and stretch have fewer of these types of complaints.

Numbness is typical but the nerve symptoms you may be having may warrant further therapy.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Tummy tuck swelling after 6 months


I agree with my colleagues and without seeing pictures and examining you, I cannot really give you my recommendations.  I do think its abnormal to be that swollen and in pain.  At the very least, I would recommend a series of post-lymphatic massages (sometimes even with ultrasound technology) which may help to break up any scar tissue and can also help with edema resolution; however there may be more going on such as a chronic seroma or fluid collection.  I would go back to see your plastic surgeon; however, it is never a bad idea get a second opinion from another board certified plastic surgeon.

James F. Boynton, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

6 Months Post-Op Tummy Tuck - Still Numb And Very Swollen - Is This Normal?


No this is not normal as for the swelling. Either residual seroma or hematoma or excess skin/fat left. As for the numbness it can be permanent. From MIAMI Dr. Darryl j. Blinski

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Symptoms after a tummy tuck


Some patients need more time than others.  Sometimes after a tummy tuck the discomfort can persist for a very long time.  I've seen this sort of thing happen to all different types of surgery patients.  Some can be after breast augmentation, sometimes for breast reconstruction.  It's important to know that these surgeries can require rearrangment of anatomy such as tighten the abdominal muscles and move them towards the center or rearrange the belly button and it's location on your skin.  Consider how long this would take to return to normalcy.  Many are very much in touch with their body and can feel more than others do.  This could be your case.  Best wishes,

Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Post-op tummy tuck


It is quite possible to still be swollen at six months after a tummy tuck. Certainly numbness may persist and may never improve.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Swelling and pain after tummy tuck

It is common to feel sore and have swelling even so many months after your tummy tuck, particularly if you've exercised or physically exerted yourself. You may want to cut back on the physical activity a bit to minimize this. However you should not be so swollen that you can't fit into your pre-op clothing. I recommend you see your surgeon to discuss your concerns. 

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Tummy tuck Swelling?


Thank you for the question.
As always, it is best to be seen in person ( by your plastic surgeon) for precise diagnosis and treatment.
Abdominal wall "swelling" after tummy tuck may be related to:
1. Swelling in the soft tissues.  This may take several months to resolve and may worsen with increased activity  or at the end of the day.   Patience  is required to allow for resolution of the swelling. The swelling occurs because of the interruption of venous and lymphatic channels that occurs during the tummy tuck operation.
2. Fluid accumulation in the space between the skin and the abdominal wall muscle.  this may consist of blood ( hematoma)  or serum (seroma).  This fluid accumulation can generally be diagnosed by physical examination ( occasionally ultrasound  may be helpful).  Treatment consists of aspiration;  several episodes of aspiration may be necessary. 
3. Separation of the abdominal wall muscle repair may lead to a swelling/bulge appearance. This may be diagnosed on physical examination  with your surgeon examining you in different bodily positions. One of the steps of a tummy tuck procedure involves reapproximation (plication)  of the rectus muscles.  These muscles have spread apart during pregnancy and/or weight gain. Bringing them together again in the midline helps to “tighten” the abdominal wall as well as to narrow the waistline.
4. Residual adipose tissue may be confused for swelling. Again this is most easily diagnosed by physical examination. Additional liposuction surgery maybe necessary to improve the results of surgery.
Generally, it takes many months for swelling to resolve after tummy tuck surgery and it may take up to one year  (or greater)  a complete skin redraping  to occur.
I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 682 reviews

Swelling after Tummy Tuck


Your swelling at 6 months should be pretty much resolved.  Without before and after pictures, it is impossible to give you specific advice.  Sometimes if the incision was not long enough for if there was too much fat to be treated at the same time as surgery you could end up with a "dog ear" at the edges of the incision.  I am not sure if this is what you are referring to.  Regardless, it I think it is importation that you follow up with your surgeon for an evaluation.


Good Luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.