Numbness and sensation of itching 8 months after a Tummy Tuck, how long does this last?

As of today it is 8 months after my tummy tuck. The left side of my stomach has the feeling/sensation of itching (needing to scratch) but I am numb, so of course I can't feel it if I scratch, but again I can feel the sensation that you get when you need to scratch/itching. Some areas of my stomach are still numb. How long does the numbness last?

Doctor Answers 5

Numbness and sensation of itching 8 months after a Tummy Tuck, how long does this last?

Nerves take much longer to heal and this may take up to 18 months.  It is always best to ask these questions of your chosen surgeon as recommendations may be different.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Post op numbness

The numbness can last for a year or more. Some patients may even experience permanent patches of numbness. You can try "desensitization" exercises as described by my colleagues below. The good news is that eventually, you will get used to it and no longer feel the need to itch. Hope this helps.

Kindly,

Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Numbness and itchiness

Hello and thank you for your question. This can be a common complaint after tummy tuck surgery. I know this can be a "weird" feeling and can take a lot of time to get used to. I tell my patients that the numbness can last all the way out to a year and maybe even longer. Sometimes the numbness can be permanent. If numbness is permanent it is usually in a triangular area from the bottom of the belly button to the top of your incision. After about a year, I tell my patients that area of numbness will likely remain that way. I recommend the same thing as my colleague below which is desensitization exercises. This basically entails gentle tactile stimulation to the areas of numbness and itching. You can use your fingers and gently run them back and forth across your abdomen. It is also helpful to use things that have different textures like maybe a towel. When using other textures, you are not rubbing....you are gently letting it glide across your areas of numbness. This is trying to desensitize the nerves that are growing back and trying to make them get "used" to all these sensations so that your mind begins to think these are normal. I hope this helps and hopefully gets better!


Ankur Mehta MD

Ankur Mehta, MD
Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Tummy tuck numbness

This can be a normal part of the healing process as many of the skin nerves are interrupted or normally traumatized during the surgery.  Itching can be a sign of the nerves regenerating and "coming back to life" so to speak.... That scratching does not relieve itch is a sort of 'fathom' sensation --- the origin of the sensation is not in the same place that the itch is perceived --your brain only perceives the sensation at the target point only...  

Normally, nerves can take up to two years to regenerate so keep the faith ----things will hopefully improve... there is however always a risk with tummy tuck of some degree of permanent numbness ... Most patients are not however disturbed by this..  Try massage 4x/day for 3-4 minutes at the incision level to stimulate nerve sensory imput.

Good luck.

AVS

Armand V. Simone, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Itching and numb skin can sometimes be long-lasting, even up to 8 months post-op, following tummy tuck

Becasuse we have to disrupt some of the normal sensory nerves to the skin of parts of the abdomen during tummy tuck, there is almost always some area of complete numbness in parts of the abdomen following the procedure.  This may last for months or even a couple of years; in many areas it can be permanent.  The areas affected are usually in the lower central portions of the abdominal skin, between the belly button and the pubic region above the scar.  The sensations you are describing actually have a name.  They are called "dysesthesias," and they refer to abnormal sensations in areas of skin which have undergone some kind of injury to the sensory nerve pathway. Usually when people experience dysesthesias it is during the time that the nerves are the most swollen or inflamed, and as healing progresses, while the area may remain numb, the dysesthesias usually settle down.  Again, this may take several monhs or longer though.  In those instances in which the dysesthesias are bad enough, there are some medications that can be prescribed that can help calm them down.  In addition, I will often have my patients do some intentional "desensitization" exercises to the affected skin.  This involves massaging the area with some moisturizer or body butter, and occasionally gently rubbing different textures across the skin, like felt, denim, or canvas.  We dont' want to create injury to the skin, so it's not very rough rubbbing, but just something to produce some stimulation to the sensory nerves in that area.  We do this once or twice a day until we start seeing some improvement.  That is how I manage this issue in my practice, but every surgeon is different, so be sure to discuss your concerns in detail with your own surgeon before doing anything different so that they can advise you properly based upon their own experience and treatment plan.  Best of luck.

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