Nerve Damage and Pain 2 Weeks Post- Tummy Tuck, Is This Normal?

I'm 2 weeks post op. I've had nerve damage and my left tigh is numb and it hurts when I move. There's a spot, below the cut and near the femur, which, when pressed, causes that pain. Also there's a spot below my ribs which does the same. Will it go away? Is there any chance I'llhave muscle atrophy? I'll visit a neurosurgeon but the fear is killing me.

Doctor Answers 3

Pain and numbness 2 weeks after tummy tuck is NORMAL!

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You should understand that sensory nerves and motor nerves are entirely different. Tummy tuck incisions and tightening of skin flaps necessitate your surgeon cut and cauterize tiny blood vessels and some nerves that provide skin sensation. These can include sensory nerves to the groin and upper thigh areas. Pressing on any freshly-operated area (or nearby) can stimulate intact nerves, giving painful or even "shooting" pains. STOP poking on your tissues!

Most of these sensory nerves will heal over the next 6-12 months. Your surgeon was not operating in areas that have motor nerves to the muscles (these are much deeper), so only sensory nerves are damaged. You should have no concern about muscle atrophy, and neurosurgical consultation is not needed.

You need to talk to your surgeon--that is what we are here for, both before and after surgery on our patients. I'm pretty sure your surgeon even discussed this with you during your consultation, or you saw information about numbness in a video or written information your surgeon provided (it is mentioned in the ASPS brochure about tummy tuck). Ask your surgeon about this the next time you see him, or give him a phone call. Fear is mostly about the unknown, so get informed! Follow your surgeon's advice during your recovery and ask questions when you have a concern. Best wishes!

Numbness and Swelling post tummy tuck

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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

Pain and nerve injuryy after tummy tuck?

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While performing a tummy tuck some sensory nerves are unavoidably severed.  Thus, there can potentially be some areas of numbness on your tummy.  Most of this resolves over time.  It is highly unlikely that any nerves that are motor in nature have been severed during a tummy tuck.  You should follow up with your plastic surgeon and relate your concerns to him or her.

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.