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After a Tummy Tuck, is It Normal to Have a Small Numbness Pouch Below Your Belly Button?

I had a tummy tuck 17 months ago. I am still experiencing numbness right below my belly button. But know I have this little pouch that is numb. I am not sure if it is my muscle or what. Is that normal?

Doctor Answers (6)

After a tummy tuck, is it norml to have a small numbness pouch below your belly button?

+1
Hello! Thank you for your question! Numbness after any surgical procedure is expected for several weeks to months following. As the nerves to the area are traumatized and will then experience a temporary neuropraxia, a transient loss of nerve conduction. This usually resolves over the next 6-12 weeks, but depending on the procedure performed, sometimes much longer. Typically this should resolve by 1 year. As it goes past this date, the likelihood of the sensation returning is small. However, it can take up to 2 years. If no return from there, it is unlikely to return. It should be discussed that persistent sensory changes may develop following any surgical procedure.

The usual signs of the nerves regenerating and neuropraxia resolving is itching, followed by a burning sensation and then occasional sharp, shock-like pains. These will be normal to experience, and actually a promising sign. Usually, normal sensation returns, but is is also possible to have decreased sensation or even increased sensation to the areas affected. Re-educating nerves postoperatively is often helpful and will allow proper instruction for the affected sensory nerves - methods include using different textures to the affected areas when showering, bathing, applying lotion, etc. If bothersome, there are some medications that may be helpful, including Neurontin for pain for hypersensitivity. You can try various textures such as washcloths, loofahs, cotton sheets, etc. Massaging the areas is also beneficial for the incision to make the finest scar possible. The last place to regain the sensation will be directly adjacent to the incision/scar as the nerves will make its way from the periphery to this location. If continual pain arises, evaluation is warranted. After ruling out other causes, one rare explanation may be that a neuroma has developed and may require surgical excision. This is very unlikely unless a large sensory nerve has been transected inadvertently during the procedure. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!


Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Numbness and swelling after tummy tuck

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Thank you for your post. In a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty surgery, the tissue above the abdominal muscles is lifted off of the muscles from the lower scar to the ribs in a full tummy tuck and to the umbilicus in a mini tummy tuck. The superficial nerves that travel through the muscle to the skin are cut in order to do this. This is what causes the numbness afterward. The numbness usually extends in the entire area that was lifted up. On occasion, a superficial nerve to the thigh could be pulled causing numbness in this area as well. Swelling happens after surgery and also tends to be in the entire area that has been lifted up and any area that has received liposuction. Both numbness and swelling may take months to years to go away, and the last place for both to go away is the area right above the incision centrally, and sometimes right below the belly button. It may take up to 2 years to get to baseline sensation. sometimes, certain areas never feel totally normal, especially the area right above the incision centrally. If tingling or itchiness develop, that is a sign that the nerves are growing back. This is normally well tolerated, but occasionally, a nerve type pain medication is needed such as neurontin.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

After a Tummy Tuck, is It Normal to Have Numbness

+1

The TT interrupts many sensory nerve fibers resulting in some numbness in all patients. Much recovers over the course of a year. By then persistent areas of numbness are usually permanent. Even so, they get less and less bothersome.

Best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

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Some numbness is common

+1

Hello,

Thank you for the question.  During the process of a tummy tuck the small nerves that innervate the skin are cut to allow removal of the excess skin.  Many of these nerves will grow back but will take time.  It is possible that some of the nerves will not return and some numbness will persist.

All the best,

Dr Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Numbness post TT

+1

The complete healing takes around two years for the numbness to vanish away like all the unwanted effects of the surgery, stay assured things usually get better with time.

The reason for the numbness is the surgical dissection and denervation of the abdominal sensory nerves, which is expected to be re-innervated later with the process of healing.The best.

Fatema S. Alsubhi, MD
UAE Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Numbness after tummy tuck

+1

The numbness that you are experiencing is not uncommon after tummy tuck surgery.  The sensory nerves to the skin on the lower abdomen are cut during this operation by necessity.  The innervation slowly returns in most cases  but it can take time.  You should see that the zone of numbness gradually diminishes as time passes.  

Douglas Hargrave, MD
Albany Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 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.