Is It Normal to Have Sharp Pains in Legs Like Nerves Are Pinched After Tummy Tuck?

I just had a Full Tummy Tuck 1 week ago and my legs have sharp pains in them when I get up from sitting or when walk long distances.

Doctor Answers 5

Leg pains after tummy tuck

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Hi there-

It would be difficult, without knowing more, to say what might be going on. 

On the other hand, leg pains (especially with activity) after tummy tuck should always be taken seriously, as they may be a sign of a potentially life threatening condition- a blood clot in the legs.

You should call your surgeon right away and be evaluated.

Hopefully, your pains simply represent a bit of swelling or other benign problem, but you would not want to miss a blood clot.

Sharp pain in the legs after tummy tuck can happen.

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Although I have never seen this problem, I have read about this.  There is a nerve to the upper thigh which is a sensory nerve that passes from the upper thigh to the front of the hip bone.  This is at risk for injury or suture entrapment during abdominoplasty surgery.  The risk to this nerve is increased with the new style of pants because the incision is made lower to hide the scar in the undies or bathing suit line.  

The sharp pains are a good sign, it means that the nerve is intact and starting to wake up. This can happen within a few weeks of surgery and should resolve over the 1st month or so.  It is a risk of surgery but the risk is low, so probably not one that most surgeons think to discuss in the perioperative discussions.  Don't worry, it should resolve with time as  sensory nerves grown and regenerate over a life time. 

Kimberley Lloyd O'Sullivan, MD
Providence Plastic Surgeon

Leg pain after Tummy Tuck

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The first thought that came to mind when you described leg pain after a tummy tuck is a DVT. A blood clot in your leg veins can extend, and even embolize (move) to your lungs, creating lot of trouble. See you plastic surgeon ASAP, and discuss your risk factors for DVT (recent extensive procedure under anesthesia, immobilization, etc). Accurate diagnosis and swift treatment are of paramount importance.


Sharp Leg Pains after a Tummy Tuck

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A week after a Tummy Tuck is a very short time but it is VERY atypical for patients to complain of leg pains after this surgery.

I would urge you to see you surgeon immediately to make sure your leg pains are not associated with blood clot formation in the legs (DVT). Such clots MAY be fatal if they become dislodged and travel to the lungs as Pulmonary Emboli. These days the diagnosis of DVT is straight forward. Do NOT delay. See your surgeon or go to the ER. It is far better to be wrong than to suffer a PE.

Another remote possibility with low Tummy Tuck incisions that in closing the incision one of the sensory nerves to the anterior thigh was caught in a stitch. That pain will be typical and MAY be relieved if the constriction was removed.

I would first rule out the possibility of blood clots before thinking about anything else

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Leg pain is not very common

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After tummy tuck, you can be sore in many places.  Sometimes the soreness is due to the actual surgery and sometimes the soreness is due to limited activity.  That being said, there are some things that cause leg pain that may be dangerous or correctable.  I blood clot in your legs can develop after tummy tuck and cause leg pain.  If this happens it needs to be addressed so the clot does not go to your lungs.  The best way to evaluate for this is with a test called a duplex exam.

I would advise for you to see your doctor so she can evaluate you and order any appropriate tests.

Kari L. Colen, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

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