Is It Normal to Feel a Pinching Sensation After Tummy Tuck and Liposuction?

I had a Tummy Tuck with Liposuction two months ago and I am now feeling a pinching sensation only on my left side. It feels like a needle being stuck on me, and it happens every so often, especially when I'm outside. My surgeon said it might be the veins reattaching themselves, but it scares me that it's only on my left side. Is this normal? What could be causing it?

Doctor Answers 17

Don't Get On My Nerves

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Following an Abdominoplasty and/or Liposuction, it is not unusual to go through a period of absent or abnormal sensation for several weeks to months. In the case of a Tummy Tuck, this diminished sensation is due to stretching or cutting of the nerves as well as post-operative swelling, whereas in the case of Liposuction, it is most likely due to partial tearing of the nerves, or inflammation in the suctioned fatty tissues surrounding the nerves.

As the swelling and post-surgical inflammatory response decreases, the sensation in the affected areas gradually returns. During that time, patients may experience abnormal and unusual sensations, such as burning, pulling, itching, stabbing, or hypersensitivity. For the most part, the sensation returns to normal or near normal within 6 months. During the healing phase, I find it helpful to my patients to encourage them to de-sensitize themselves to the abnormal sensation by massaging the surgical area by hand, or with a rolling pin, which also helps with the resolution of swelling.

Don't be nervous, it's just the nerves coming back!

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Pinching is part of the result!

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A pinching sensation may be the senastion you get when an admirer pinches your new found great body!

But on a more serious note, a tummy tuck involves tightening the muscle of the abdomen. The pull necessary to accomplish this tightening is performed with sutures (stitches) that are placed in the muscle. This can give you the senastion of pinching or burning, especially if you turn or twist in an unnatural way.The sensation itself does not cause any harm, but will make you aware that you may be doing too much.

The pinching sensation can also be the result of the sutures that are used to pull the skin together at the end of the procedure.

Either way, pinching is normal.

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Yes that is normal

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There are going to be many new sensations you will experience after tummy tuck/liposuction procedure. Pinching is one of them, itching, numbness, and tingling; you may also experience random sharp “electric shocks” probably also classified as pinching. Thankfully this is temporary and everything will eventually subside. The most important thing is to follow your doctor’s postoperative instructions and be a little patient.

It is normal to get this feeling after Tummy Tuck and Liposuction

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as the feeling over the abdomen starts to return after tummy tuck, all patients start to experience the sensation of pin prickes, or jabbing, or twitches. this is a very normal and expected feeling which will gradually go away over the next six months.

Massaging these areas and keeping them moisterized, helps to make it feel better and less sensitive.


Sean Younai, MD,

Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Post operative pain and discomfort should get better with time!

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Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and liposuction are both invasive procedures. Nerves have been either been cut, bruised, and/or stretched during the procedure. It is not uncommon for one side to be more symptomatic than the other side. It is to be expected that one may feel intermittent twinges, shooting pains, and/or burning sensations. Usually maneuvers to DESENSITIZE the area, starting with intermittent light massage several times per day are helpful.

Post operative pain and discomfort will get better over time. If the pain you described does not improve, then I would recommend you go back to your treating surgeon and be re-evaluated. There are medications that can be prescribed for nerve pain. Patients with constant pain in a localized area may respond to anesthetic dermal patches or a series of injections of numbing medication. Bottom line is to stay in contact with your treating surgeon. He/she knows you the best and the surgery performed.

Thanks for your question.

Stephen A. Goldstein, MD
Englewood Plastic Surgeon

By now it's probably gone

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Strange sensations or parasthesias, as they are known, are not uncommon after tummy tucks and/or liposuction. They also commonly occur more strongly on, or are isolated to one side or the other. These sensations are usually short lived and normalize by about six months or so. Hang in there, be patient and trust in your board certified plastic surgeon.

Recovery from Tummy Tuck and Abdominoplasty

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The postoperative recovery for abdominoplasty procedures occurs immediately after surgery. As the nerves begin to reinnervate their respective areas on the abdominal wall, patients may begin to experience sensations that may be painful at first but may then subside with time. At all times, keep a close dialogue with your surgeon.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Give it some time and it should improve

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I think your surgeon may have meant to say the nerves re-attaching themselves. During abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and liposuction, the tissue planes are dissected and divided.

Often there are small sensory nerves crossing through these areas, which need to be divided as part of the surgery. Over the next few months as the tissue is healing the little nerve endings find there way back in place.

Other, less likely alternatives include a seroma (fluid collection) irritating the nerves or causing pressure or nerve entrapment. You should improve over time, but you should follow-up closely with your surgeon.

I hope this is helpful.

This pain not uncommon--should resolve in 4-6 weeks!

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It’s not unusual for patients to have pain following abdominoplasty surgery.In the majority of patients this pain has resolved within 4 to 6 weeks of the procedure.
Occasionally, patients have atypical pain patterns.In your case you’ve developed an intermittent sharp stabbing pain that has become progressive.These findings are consistent with irritation of the sensory nerves along your left flank.. in most cases this type of problem improves with conservative management and the passage of time.
Under these circumstances, consultation with your plastic surgeon is appropriate.When progress is slow, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents may be helpful.Examples include Motrin, Aleve and Ibuprofen to name a few.
When this type of pain is persistent and doesn’t respond to these maneuvers, consultation with a pain specialist is appropriate.Depending upon the results of this evaluation, a variety of treatment options are available.

Is it normal to feel a pinching sensation after tummy tuck and liposuction?

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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 28 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.