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 (7)

Swelling and Loss of Sensation after Tummy Tuck?


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 681 reviews

Swelling and numbness


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 67 reviews

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


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 26 reviews

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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.

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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

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Resolution of numbness and swelling following a tummy tuck


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
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Swelling and numbness are normal after tummy tuck


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
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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.