Will a Possible Stitched Nerve from a Tummy Tuck Get Better?

I had corrective surgery done on a tummy tuck where all the Dr had to do was tighten more skin and move my scar down lower. He thinks he stitched a nerve because my leg is numb and I have a burning sensation going down my leg and very intense if I walk without a limp and walk upright. He says this should go away as the stitches dissolve. I am a runner, doing 5k's, triathlons, and weight train at a gym. I can't have this be permanent! Will this go away?

Doctor Answers 5

Post tummy tuck nerve pain.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Pain radiating down the front of the thigh can occur from a suture. Although uncommon, this is a known complication from a tummy tuck. To diagnose if this nerve (the LFCN) is the source of the pain, a  local anesthetic block in can be given in the office. If this eliminates the pain, then the diagnosis is established. At that point, your options are two-fold:

  1. Re-exploration to release the entrapment of the nerve
  2. Wait for the suture to absorb and see if the pain subsides

Unfortunately, there are times when scar tissue forms around the nerve (a neuroma) which may impact the function of the nerve causing permanent pain. Even in this situation, with a sensory nerve, you always have the option of cutting the nerve to eliminate the pain. However, this will make a portion of the thigh numb.

Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Numb leg

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
I think a conservative approach would be better.Heat massage and perhaps soem ultrasound therapy from a licensed massage therapist or physical therapist would speed up the resolution.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

It will likely go away

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}


The good news is that the suture should be dissolvable and the nerve and associated tissue will also want to stretch.  Keep massaging and stretching it as it might help.  If it is a significant issue and you cannot wait the area can be released and restitched but it is usually unnecessary.

All the best,

Dr Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Numbness and pain following corrective abdominoplasty

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is possible that your symptoms may go away with time though it could take a year or more. You did not indicate both how long you are after surgery as well as the size of the affected area of numbness. These could be important prognostically. If you are still very early in your postoperative course you stand a better chance of resolution versus if you were 6 or more months postoperative.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Stitched nerve

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Unfortunately, this is a possible complication, particularly with any redo or corrective surgery.  If he in fact used a non-absorbable stitch, chances are that the stitch will dissolve eventually, thus releasing the nerve.  However to some extent, the damage may have some permanent effects.  I would give at least 3-6 months to determine if that will occur.  Trying to find this stitch soon after the surgery is nearly impossible and may not be worth the risk.  However if you get permanent scarring of the nerve causing localized pain (also known as a neuroma), then it may be possible to remove that portion of the scarred nerve and bury it in the muscle to prevent another neuroma.  I certainly think the best thing to do at this point is to observe you over the next several months to determine if any further treatment is necessary.

Tito Vasquez, MD, FACS
Southport Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 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.