Swelling and Loss of Sensation After Tummy Tuck, When Will It Subside?

I had a TT 12 weeks ago, 80% of the swelling has gone down but my stomach still has swelling especially in the lower abdomen and mons pubis area. My stomach feels tight and it is still pretty numb. I asked my surgeon and he replied, you look better now than when you started. I just want to know how long before all this resolves? THX

Doctor Answers (9)

Swelling and Loss of Sensation after Tummy Tuck?

+4

Thank you for the question.
 

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.

The loss of sensation you are experiencing is also quite normal after tummy tuck surgery; return of sensation may require many years ( you will notice very gradual improvement month after month).

I hope this helps.


San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 751 reviews

Swelling and numbness

+2

Thanks for your question.  In my experience the last 10-20 percent of swelling can take over 6 months to resolve and the numbness resolving can take over a year.

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Swelling and loss of sensation after tummy tuck - when will it subside?

+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!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

You might also like...

Swelling and numbness after tummy tuck

+1
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

Return of sensation after tummy Tuck can take over a year, last bit of swelling 6 months

+1

Thank you for your question. Nerves take a very long time to recover and you may find that sensation continues to return to your abdomen for over a year after a tummy tuck.

Your swelling sounds like you are on course. If 80% of your swelling is gone at 3 months the last 20% may take another 3 months.

Brooke R. Seckel, MD, FACS
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Swelling and decresed sensation after tummy tuck

+1

It can take 9-12 months. Sensation usually returns but after 12 months. Any residual sensation that has not returned, will likely not return. Swelling also continually subsides.

Raj S. Ambay, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Swelling and numbness

+1

i think it takes at least 6 months for all the swellin to go away after tt.   numbness can take a year or so and there is always the chance of permanent numbness.  be patient

Jonathan Saunders, MD
Newark Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Resolution of numbness and swelling following a tummy tuck

+1

Swelling from a tummy tuck can take up to a year to maximally resolve though most of it will have subsided by 6 - 9 months. Resolution of the maximal amount of numbness can take the same period of time or even more. There may also be some localized areas that have permanently decreased sensation.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Swelling and numbness are normal after tummy tuck

+1

Swelling in the lower part of the abdomen, particularly late in the day, is normal after a tummy tuck.  This can take three to six months to resolve, and occasionally longer.  If the swelling does not fluctuate (increase as the day goes on, decrease upon rising in the morning), you may want to ask your surgeon again.  There may be a pocket of fluid, called a seroma, or some extra fat beneath the skin.  The fluid pocket would be drained quickly, the extra fatty tissue may require some revision at a later date.

The numbness in  the lower abdominal wall is normal, also, and often improves over the first year.  It may never go away completely, but it is expected and routine.

Best of luck.

Michael S. Hopkins, MD
Albuquerque Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 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.