Sensitivity and Burning After Tummy Tuck

I am 7-8 weeks post op from a tummy tuck and am experiencing extreme senstivity, burning, shocking feelings throughout my abdomen, scar and pubic area. Is there anything I can do to ease these feelings?

It is really starting to wear on my nerves. I cannot wear anything that is going to move against my skin. I am working on weaning myself from the support garments. The only thing that helps some is a vinegar bath. I have taken OTC pain relievers but they barely take the edge off.

Please provide me with ANY suggestions or recommendations that will relieve these feelings.

Doctor Answers 10

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

Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Sensitivity and burning after a tummy tuck

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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.
To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:

You may have a nerve injury

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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.

David S. Rosenberg, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Dysesthesia Common Post-Op

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Patients who 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.

Pain after Tummy tuck

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Dear Beaches

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

Sensitivity and burning after tummy tuck?

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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

Hypersensitivity following tummy tuck

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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.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Significant pain 7 weeks after a tummy tuck is unusual.

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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

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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.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Hypersensitivity after a tummy tuck

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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.

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.