What Can Be Done for Chronic Pain/numbness 2 Years After Liposuction and Arm Lift?

I had some Liposuction done to my underarm, hip, and back area at the same time I had an arm lift. When I woke in the recovery room, my left side from the waist to the foot was numb. That was 2 years ago. My left side is still numb and it tingles/burns. What do you think happened? Do you think it is a back problem or what? I am in chronic pain. What do you think I should do?

Doctor Answers (11)

Chronic pain two years after surgery is abnormal



I'm sorry that you're experiencing this chronic pain, but hopefully it can be resolved. Like I said in my title, chronic pain two years after surgery is NOT normal. You need to go see a neurologists or a physiatrist. A physiatrst specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Thank you for your question.

Englewood Plastic Surgeon

Chronic pain after liposuction


Liposuction is a safe, popular, and effective way to contour the body. One of the known risks of liposuction is bruising or stretching of nerves in the area treatment. Usually, the nerves repair themselves and the sensation returns without difficulty. Although rare, it is possible for the nerves to not heal completely and this can create chronic pain or discomfort. Be sure that you are evaluated by a board-certified plastic surgeon who can assess these areas. If you continue to have this pain, you may also want to see a neurologist who may recommend a medication to help manage this chronic pain.

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Body numbness after an arm lift and back liposuction


The pattern of numbness you describe is very atypical for liposuction or arm lift procedures. I would consult a neurologist to pinpoint the lesion that is creating your numbness.

Scott C. Sattler, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

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Pain management consultation


I am sorry to hear of your troubles. It sounds like you had a nerve injury. These are rare, but characterized after arm lift surgery. Pain management doctors might be able to get that under control for you. They are generally anesthesiologists. Ask your surgeon for a referral.

Best Regards.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Chronic pain and numbness 2 years after Liposuction and Arm Lift


The finding you report Left side numbness lasting 2 years"...my left side from the waist to the foot was numb" is VERY atypical and I have not seen it.

I ASSUME you have seen a neurologist and had a CT. In my experience it is seen in only 2 scenarios a massive stroke (which would have most likely left you with muscle weakness on the right side of your body - HEMIPLEGIA and inability to speak, Dysarthria) or in certain psychiatric stress conditions, such as CONVERSION REACTION. The latter is seen with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and other similar conditions and while VERY real to the patient, does not have any CT / MRI findings nor follows any known neuro anatomical pattern.

If everything was ruled out, you may want to consult a psychiatrist who specializes with such disorders. You may find your symptoms could be reversed with hypnosis, relaxation therapy or even some medications.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Chronic pain after surgery


The simple answer, as already stated above, is a neurology consultation. The neurologist will perform tests to determine the source of the pain, and may offer treatment.

Nirav Savalia, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Neurology consultation


The starightforward way is a neurology consultation. Nerve conduction tests as well as imaging studies will be done to rule out the different causes for your synptoms.

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Difficult Problem


Your description is not specific enough for me to make a specific diagnosis. What you describe is consistenet with a nerve injury that may have occurred during surgery. That said, a treatment must be based on an accurate diagnosis. Given that this may be a nerve injury, you may want to seek out a neurological evaluation.

Scott E. Kasden, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Numbness after liposuction


The tingling and burning sensation is not common after surgery. FOr this you may want to seek the consultation with a neurologist. In terms of foot numbness, it is unlikely related to liposuction, it could be neurologic related disease secondary to spinal compression and this too can be evaluated by a neurologist.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

It sounds like sciatica


You may have had some underlying spinal disc herniation or nerve compression that may have been exacerbated by positioning during your surgery. That would explain why it was present when you awoke in the recovery room. Your surgeon should be able to shed some light on this phenomenon and refer you for a full work up for spinal nerve compression to a Neurologist. Good luck!

Kenneth R. Francis, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 31 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.