6 Months Post-Op Tummy Tuck - Still Numb And Very Swollen - Is This Normal?

6months ago i have a a tummy tuck and breast augmentation and lift all at once the breast part is fine but my abs are at times tender to the touch have pins and needles the scar is higher than was first told and i have bulges above the scar and if i excerise or work to much it swells mover and is tight and painful sometime even something as wonderful as sex ends up painful and unsatisfiable due to my abs and the muscles ....so what do I do i still can't wear any of my clothes i wore before s

Doctor Answers 14

Post-op tummy tuck

It is quite possible to still be swollen at six months after a tummy tuck. Certainly numbness may persist and may never improve.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Numbness and swelling after 6 months

Post-operative sensation on your abdomen will be different from the sensation that you had prior to your surgery. Some times, you may feel numb; some times you may feel "pins and needles." This altered sensation is very common and can persist for a long time, i.e. over a year.  In regards to swelling, it is also very common.  In fact, you are expected to have some swelling after tummy tuck.  Although most of the swelling subsides in 6 weeks, it may last over 6 months.  If you still have swelling at 6 months, it may be due to residual fat or retained fluid collection.  I would advise you to discuss it with your plastic surgeon.

Pain post tummy tuck

While most patients feel quite normal after 6 months, many patients heal more slowly.

It is worth discussing your problems with your plastic surgeon.  Is there retained fluid?  Is there extra fat or skin?

If you do not fit into your old clothes, this is decidedly unusual.  Have you gained weight?

Patients who are active, work out, and stretch have fewer of these types of complaints.

Numbness is typical but the nerve symptoms you may be having may warrant further therapy.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 128 reviews

Tummy tuck swelling after 6 months

I agree with my colleagues and without seeing pictures and examining you, I cannot really give you my recommendations.  I do think its abnormal to be that swollen and in pain.  At the very least, I would recommend a series of post-lymphatic massages (sometimes even with ultrasound technology) which may help to break up any scar tissue and can also help with edema resolution; however there may be more going on such as a chronic seroma or fluid collection.  I would go back to see your plastic surgeon; however, it is never a bad idea get a second opinion from another board certified plastic surgeon.

6 Months Post-Op Tummy Tuck - Still Numb And Very Swollen - Is This Normal?

No this is not normal as for the swelling. Either residual seroma or hematoma or excess skin/fat left. As for the numbness it can be permanent. From MIAMI Dr. Darryl j. Blinski

Symptoms after a tummy tuck

Some patients need more time than others.  Sometimes after a tummy tuck the discomfort can persist for a very long time.  I've seen this sort of thing happen to all different types of surgery patients.  Some can be after breast augmentation, sometimes for breast reconstruction.  It's important to know that these surgeries can require rearrangment of anatomy such as tighten the abdominal muscles and move them towards the center or rearrange the belly button and it's location on your skin.  Consider how long this would take to return to normalcy.  Many are very much in touch with their body and can feel more than others do.  This could be your case.  Best wishes,

Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

Swelling can last up to 1 year-- but most resolves in 6-8 weeks.

The wound healing process following abdominoplasty lasts for over a year. During this time, both swelling and numbness are often present.
Most swelling resolves in six to eight weeks, but small amounts of swelling may persist for up to a year. Patients can minimize swelling with compression garments, massage, and limitations on activity level.It’s important to remember that swelling is a normal part of wound healing and should resolve with time.
In the vast majority of patients, numbness is temporary and resolves in about a year.Sensation tends to first return laterally and superiorly and move downward and inward.The last place to have return of sensation is the area near the transverse incision below the umbilicus.In some cases loss of sensation may be permanent.

Swelling 6 months after an abdominoplasty

If your lower abdomen was flat at first and now it is swollen this is normal. As you get more active the fluid between the cells, called interstitial fluid tends to accumulate above the scar. The scar works as a dam. It takes about 3 months for the lymphatic vessels to re-form and properly drain this dependent edema. Give it a chance and it will get better. If in doubt discuss this with your plastic surgeon.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

6 months postop tummy tuck - still numb and very swollen. Is this normal?

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 17 reviews

Numbness and swelling 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 38 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.