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How Long Does Numbness Typically Last After Tummy Tuck?

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Numbness after Tummy Tuck lasts about a year, but some is permanent

+7

Opa:

Doctors usually tell patients before surgery that they can expect some permanent and some temporary numbness. It is often permanent in the triangle extending from the umbilicus down to the upper pubic area (along the incision). The areas from the incision ends, across and above the umbilicus, extending into the upper abdomen are commonly partially numb and temporary.

Some sensation recovery occurs in the first few months, but final improvement can take 2 years. Most patients say they feel normal in about one year.

Remember numbness is decreased sensation. This doesn't affect motion or strength of the muscles underneath.


Greenville Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Numbness following a tummy tuck

+5

Following a tummy tuck many patients have numbess along the incisions that can persist for up 12 months after surgery.  The nerves regenerate themselves starting from the outsides of the abdomen, working their way to the midline.  Many patients have permanent sensation loss of the skin between the belly button and the middle of the abdominal incision.  Other common sensations after a tummy tuck include tingling and "lightening shock" pains, which are also caused by the nerves regenerating.  I hope this helps.

Best wishes,

Neil J. Zemmel, MD

Neil J. Zemmel, MD, FACS
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Feelin is slow to return after tummy tuck, often 2 years

+3

Opa,

I would not be concerned at 2 months.

Many nerves are injured during tummy tuck and it is normal for the abdomen to feel numb after tummy tuck.

Healing of nerves takes 2 years for full healing and return of function to occur.

As mentioned above there will be some areas of permanent numbness near the belly button, but patients do not seem to be bothered by this.

Brooke R. Seckel, MD, FACS
Boston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

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Numbness After Tummy Tuck

+2

Numbness is common after tummy tuck especially in the triangle below the new umbilicus. This can last for up to a year and it can even be permanent. If one has a mini abdominoplasty the numbness is usually resolved in 6-9 months.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Numbness after Tummy Tuck

+2

There is quite a bit of variation, but expect the lower part of the tummy to slowly regain sensibility over 12-18 month.

Often the area just above the scar doesn't regain complete or normal feeling.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Numbness will last an long time after a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and may be permanent in small areas.

+2

A tummy tuck is a fairly extensive procedure.  Numbness of the abdominal wall skin is part of the recovery process.  Usually the sensation begins to return on the sides and moves towards the center.  It may take more than a year for full recovery.  Ocasionally a small area may never be renervated and numbness in that place will be permanent.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

1-2 years

+2

Numbness after abdominoplasty can persist for 1-2 years. Typically this does not present a significant problem.

David J. Levens, MD
Coral Springs Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

How Long Does Numbness Typically Last After Tummy Tuck?

+1
Thank you for the question. When a tummy tuck operation is performed, the abdominal wall skin is separated from the underlying abdominal wall muscle. During this process,  many sensory nerves are divided. Therefore, some degree of  numbness is to be expected. This may persist for months to years. In some cases/locations, the loss of sensation may be permanent.  Also, as patients become more active, they report abdominal wall swelling (this may increase during the day);  this phenomenon is usually self limited and improves when the lymphatic and venous channels start to work normally. Again, it may take several months/years for this to occur.  

I hope this, and the attached link (dedicated to tummy tuck concerns) helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 710 reviews

How long does numbness typically last after tummy tuck?

+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

Numbness and Swelling 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 26 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.