Numbness 15 Months After Tummy Tuck

Is it normal to still have numbness after your tummy tuck? It has been 15 months now and I still feel pretty tight?

Doctor Answers 13

Long Term Numbness after Tummy Tuck

Although uncommon, permanent numbness can occur after tummy tuck surgery, especially in the lower mid line area between the scar and belly button. After 15 months there can be some improvement but it is doubtful. In most cases there is some sensation present, just not the normal pre-surgical amount. The good news is that it does not affect your normal functions and with time, most people are no longer aware or concerned with its presence.

#tummytucknumbness #tummytuckpost-op

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Numbness 15 months after tummy tuck?

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 26 reviews

Swelling and numbness after 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 48 reviews

Tummy Tuck and Numbness?

Thank you for the question.

Yes, numbness of the abdominal wall is to be expected after tummy tuck surgery. This may persist for many years and may be permanent in some locations.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 reviews

Numbness and tummy tuck

Numbness in some parts of the skin may be pernanent. If your surgery was 15 months ago it is more than likely permanent.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Numbness after tummy tuck

It is quite normal to have a small area of permanent numbness that extends from the belly button (umbilicus) down to the pubic hairline in the shape of a triangle

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Numbness is common after tummy tuck

Do not fret, numbness is normal and expected after tummy tuck.  When the skin and fat is separated from the underlying muscle layer to tighten it, some of the cutaneous nerves are sacrificed at the same time. The area of skin numbness may be large initially but tends to decrease in size over time.  Nonetheless some of the skin above the scar and below the belly button will be numb. 

Randy Proffitt, MD
Mobile Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Numbness 15 months after tummy tuck, normal?

Nerves are the most unpredictable tissue that we work with.  They do not like to be pushed, cut, squeezed, etc.  Often patients will have numbness after a tummy tuck, especially in the area between the belly button and the incision.  Often it comes back with time, but it may be reduced, or some tones permanently numb.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Numbness after Tummy Tuck

Numbness after tummy tuck can occur.  The majority of the sensation usually returns but if you still have numbness 15 months after surgery then the numbness is permanent.  

Dr. ES

Numbness is normal

It is very normal to have numbness after a tummy tuck.  It will gradually decrease over time but you will probably be left with some areas of permanent numbness.  Remember it does take time to heal and don't expect to see the final results including the scar maturing for up to 6 months to a year.

Steven Schuster, MD, FACS
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 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.