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Nerve Damage Years After Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift, Is There Anything I Can Do?

I had a tummy tuck, breast lift and implants about 6 years ago. I still have no feeling on my stomach in a large area below my belly button. As well, I've lost some sensation in my nipples. Can anything be done to restore feeling in any of these areas once the damage has been done?

Doctor Answers (7)

Sensory loss


If you have had sensory loss on your abdomen and of your nipples and the surgery was done several years ago, there is nothing that you can do to improve the sensation.

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Numbness and surgery


Unfortunately during any surgery where skin or deeper structures are lifted and repositioned (tummy tuck, breast lift, breast reduction, and sometimes breast augmentation) sensation loss is possible.  Most patients who have these procedures will gain back some sensation if they lose any at all.  For tummy tucks most everyone is numb to some degree for at least 6-12 months.  Some areas can be permanent.  This is not nerve damage and is inherent to the type of operation a tummy tuck is.  The sacrifice for abdominal rejuvenation is at times sensation loss or change to small areas.  Nothing was done wrong during your surgeries to cause this.  Unfortunately at 6 years its unlikely that you will see any improvement and there is no real fix to improve things.  The good news is that you may notice it less as time goes on.  I would look at the glass as 1/2 full and feel good about the improvements you made in your body shape.  Sincerely, Dr. Kerr.

Mahlon Kerr, MD, FACS
Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

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Numbness below the umbilicus after a tummy tuck isn't "damage" or the surgeon's fault


All TT patients have some numbness belwo the umbilicus long term if you ask them.  This is not "nerve damage" as if it is something the surgeon could control or something they did wrong.  Lifting the skin to do the TT divides neves that are microscpoic and must be divided to do the surgery.  Same with lifting the breasts.  Honestly there's nothing you can do at 6 years other than learn to adjust to it.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
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Loss of Sensation After a Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift


Dear Curious6529,

Sadly, after six years, it is not likely that you will regain more sensation in the areas you described.  While it is uncommon to have the amount of numbness you noted, it certainly can occur.  There are no established treatments that can stimulate new nerve growth into these areas at this time.  I wish I had better news for you but..


Herluf G. Lund, Jr, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Loss of Sensation after Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift?


Thank you for the question.

No,  unfortunately, there is no treatment for loss of sensation in the areas that you have described.   Also, unfortunately, any improved sensation that will occur with ( 6 years after surgery)  will be very minimal.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 681 reviews

Tummy Tuck - Nerve Damage Years After Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift, Is There Anything I Can Do?


In a word - no.  At this late stage it is unlikely that additional sensation will return, but even in the early stages following these procedures there isn't anything you can DO to improve the results from that standpoint.  Fortunately, significant degrees of diminished and altered sensation are rare with these procedures but they can occur, as is well known, and when they do it is understandably disconcerting.  However, again, there is little that can be done about it, short of redoing the procedures very early (within day or weeks) but ONLY IF a direct contributing cause has been identified.  And that scenario is extremely unlikely.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

Alan M. Engler, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 146 reviews

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