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Lymphatic Drainage and Numbness After Tummy Tuck?

Do the lymphatic channels and nerves regenerate at the same rate after a tummy tuck? Is there a connection between these two? I have swelling 3 months post op but some of the feeling has returned to the site so that I have much less numbness. I'm wondering if the return of sensation is any indication of the progress of lymph system re-establishment? Thanks for your help!

Doctor Answers (4)

Sensory return and lymphatic establishment are independent of each other.


The return of sensation and the restoration of lymphatic channels are totally separate processes that are not interrelated. Lymphatic drainage and compression garments are helpful to improve postoperative swelling.

Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Numbness post tummy


There will always be some numbness and swelling above the incision which will take time.Heat and massage can help get rid of the swelling.the return of sensation can take months.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Lymphatic Drainage and Numbness following Tummy Tuck


Having swelling and numbness in the lower abdomen is a normal side effect of a tummy tuck.  The length of time for resolution of these side effects differs from patient to patient.  Lymphatic vessels, which help to carry away edema fluid,  are reestablished in 3-5 weeks after surgery.  Generally patients with thicker fat layers take longer than thinner patients to resolve the swelling.  Sometimes the sensation never completely returns.  This dosn't bother the patients because they are so happy with their new contours that it a small price to pay.  Wearing moderate compression garments such Spanks or Flexies helps a great deal.  Avoiding salty foods, msg and processed foods also helps.

Daniel H. Kane, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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Return of sensation and resolution of Swelling after Tummy Tuck


There are not any scientific studies that document the return of sensation and resolution of swelling after tummy tuck surgery. The short answer is that we do not know . I can tell you that from my experience if my patients are in excellent health before surgery and they undergo Manual Lymphatic drainage with a therapist for 4-6 weeks after surgery most of the swelling and sensation returns by 12-24 weeks. I also rrecommend supplements including Vitamin B complex to hasten the recovery.

Laurie Casas, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 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.