17 Day Po from TT- Normal to Have Tightening and Numbness by Abs

I am 17 daysvpo i have been doing amazing. Up until today i have a tightening crampy feeling in the middle of my abs. I cant even sit up because it feels like im about to catch a cramp or like my muscle want to get stiff. I have not felt this.

Doctor Answers 6

17 days PO from TT - normal to have tightening and numbness by abs?

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!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Numbness and Swelling post 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 47 reviews

Cramps and muscle tightness two and a half weeks post tummy tuck

It is nice to hear that your recuperation has been more pleasant and comfortable than expected. Intermittent muscle spasms and tightness occurring weeks or, at times, even months later are fairly common following a tummy tuck. You will also find some temporary increased stiffness and discomfort often once you start engaging in more vigorous activities.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Muscle cramping after abdominoplasty

Congratulations on the great result. Usually, as the swelling recedes, which guards against pain, patients experience more awareness of muscle cramping and aching. Also, it is very common for patients to begin to exert themselves more as they recover. This is nothing to worry about. Don't do more than you feel you can handle without pain.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Tummy is Tight and Numb

After having a tummy tuck you can expect to feel tightness for several weeks and maybe even a couple months.  In fact, the first few days you will be so tight you may not be able to stand up straight.  Hopefully, "tightening" the abs was one of the goals of the abdominoplasty in the first place.  The after the first two weeks, talk to your surgeon on what stretching exercises you are allowed to do to help relieve the crampiness.

It's also normal for the lower abdomen to feel numb.  During surgery, some of the smaller nerves supplying sensation are divided when releasing the skin or are stretched from swelling afterwards.  These take longer to recover and numbness can last from three to six months.  It is almost never permanent and feeling will gradually return.


Adam Hamawy, MD
Princeton Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Tummy Tuck Recovery?

Thank  you for the question.

It is always best  for  patients to follow up with their own plastic surgeon when they experience a new development after surgery.

Generally speaking, the type “crampy” feeling you're experiencing is quite common and may be related to an increased activity level  along with weaning off of medications. Make sure you are not too active too  soon and you don't wean off medications too soon.

Again, you will be reassured even better by seeing your own surgeon.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,485 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.