Numbness and Swelling post tummy tuck
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.
Pablo Prichard, MD
Sensitivity and burning after a tummy tuck
Tummy tucks are extremely popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. Patients should remember that there is a significant recovery process after the surgery. You should expect to have swelling, bruising and sensitivity or tingling around the edges of your decision. The nerve sensations that are feeling are your nerves repairing and becoming accustomed to their new positions. These should resolve within several months. During this time, your sensation will return as well.
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Dysesthesia Common Post-Op
undergo abdominoplasty often complain of pain, swelling and skin
hypersensitivity. These are normal
findings immediately following surgery, and usually resolve with time.
The hypersensitivity that you
describe is known as a dysesthesia.It’s
very similar to what happens when your leg falls asleep.The phenomena occurs when the nerves are
compressed or stretched.In many cases,
this is made worse by swelling.
Patients typically describe a
tingling burning sensation that can be very uncomfortable.In many cases, clothing rubbing against the
area can elicit a pins and needles sensation.
These symptoms usually resolve in
about 6 to 8 weeks without intervention.In some cases, aggressive massage can desensitize the area and minimize
the pain and discomfort associated with this condition.
What you are feeling is not abnormal but it sounds like it is starting to get to you. These complaints are often heard at this time as the nerves start to grow through the scar and the abdomen starts to have more innervation. Sometimes the numbness is just as unsettling.
You might want to speak to your doctor about adding some additional therapy like Lidocaine patches or TENS units if it really is bothering you. I hope oyu feel better and start to enjoy your results.
Steven Schuster MD FACS
You may have a nerve injury
I'm so sorry to hear about your problems after a tummy tuck. They may be due to nerve injury. It is common for patients to have numbness in the area of the incision and the area under the belly button after a tummy tuck. However, the burning pain and shocking feeling may be due to injury of the ilioinguinal or iliohypogastric nerves or the genitofemoral nerve. This may not go away with time, and you may need to have another surgery to remove those nerves. Medications like Neurontin or Lyrica may help. I hope this helps.
Sensitivity and burning after tummy tuck?
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
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!
Significant pain 7 weeks after a tummy tuck is unusual.
As the nerves repopulate the abdomen, the patient may experience some unusual sensations. Pain is generally not one of them. I would recommend you revisit your surgeon just to make sure that everything is healing properly.
Sensitivity after tummy tuck
I very sorry so hear that you are having sensitivity issues after surgery. You should first be evaluated by your doctor, but you may need to see a pain management doctor if this persists. Sometimes lymphatic massage and desensitization exercises can be helpful.
Hypersensitivity after a tummy tuck
It is uncommon to have the symptoms you are having but it sounds like "hypersensitivity." This is the opposite of numbness on the spectrum of nerve issues and is an indication that nerves are intact or growing back and are irritated. Usually, time and gentle massage fix all of this. Unfortunately, it can take some time. Stay in close touch with your surgeon.
Hypersensitivity following tummy tuck
Sensitivity and pain as you describe is an uncommon long term problem with tummy tucks. However, it is not uncommon to experience these symptoms for brief periods of time during the healing process. The use of desensitization exericises to help decrease the hypersensitivity may help to improve the recovery.