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Numb on One Side of Belly Button 3 Months After Tummy Tuck - Normal?

Is It Normal to Feel More "Numb"on One Side of Belly Button? Will It Normalize? It's been 12 weeks.

Doctor Answers 13

Numbness after a tummy tuck

Numbness of the lower part of the abdominal skin is par for the course after a tummy tuck.  Some numbness or funny sensations may persist for up to six months after the procedure.  Don't worry, it is almost certain to come back.

All the best.

Champaign Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

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Numbness after tummy tuck takes time

Tummy tuck has a rather long recovery because of the effort in raising the abdominal skin and contouring the abdomen. Numbness occurs because the nerves to the skin are disrupted and it will take about six months for all of the sensation to return. Your numbness is normal and you can be hopeful of a recovery in the months to come.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Numb on one side of belly button 3 months after tummy tuck - normal?

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!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Numbness and Swelling post tummy tuck

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 29 reviews

Yes numbness after tummy tuck is normal and will improve.

I tell patients pre operatively they will have a large area of numbness right after surgery which improves and gets smaller over time.  This takes months and even improves up to two years post operatively.  There is often an area of permanent numbness or decreased sensation at the midline at the incision which does not cause any longterm problems and is expect.ed.

Louise Ferland, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Numbness tummy tuck

yes.. i tell my patients to expect numbness for 3 months to a year to allow for nerve regeneration of the small sensory nerves that are cut during a tummy-tuck..Good Luck..

Michael K. Kim, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Numbness of skin

Numbness after a tummy tuck can happen and may persist. Usually it gets better over time and may take up to a year for that to improve.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Numbness after tummy tuck.

This is normal.  Your sensation will return slowly.  It should take up to a year to feel completely normal.  You had a lot of work done to the area and now it is healing. 

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Difference in sensation on different parts of abdomen 3 months following a tummy tuck

Numbness of the abdomen following a tummy tuck is a given - an expected outcome. Over time, much sensation will return. It can take any where from several months up to a year or more for sensation to return. There may always be some areas where the skin is either totally numb or the sensation is decreased substantially from normal.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Numbness After Tummy Tuck - Is it Normal?

Any procedure where a significant amount of tissue is moved such as a tummy tuck or face-lift, numbness is somewhat of an expectation. Peripheral nerves are cut and fortunately these regrow to restore feeling into the numb areas. This however takes time, and may continue to improve over the course of months to years. There is always a small risk that there will be an area of persistent numbness, but this is less common.  Be patient as this should continue to improve as you move along in your recovery.

Best of luck

Vincent Marin, MD, FACS

San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Vincent P. Marin, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 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.