Is it normal to feel burning after lipo and tummy tuck?

It’s been more than a month since my procedures and I have a burning sensation around the areas that were worked on. Is that normal or should I be worried. I’m the type of person that worries about even the smallest things, so part of me thinks it’s just mental now. But at the same time I definitely don’t want this to be sign that something is wrong.


F, 48, Connecticut

Hypersensitivity and the sensations you’re describing are extremely common after a tummy tuck and lipo. The only time we worry about nerve pain is if it persists for longer than six months post-op. Such a situation could indicate the patient has developed a neuroma or their nerves have become entrapped. A neuroma occurs when the nerves do not heal normally, resulting in the kinds of sensations you are describing. Entrapment, on the other hand, means that the nerves have become impinged by scar tissue or something else.

For both situations, the solution is a simple surgery to either remove the neuroma or free the trapped nerve. Another solution is taking medication for nerve pain, such as Neurontin.

In your case, however, it sounds like your symptoms are just a part of the normal healing process. Should they continue or you develop any further concerns, you will need to contact your plastic surgeon and likely schedule an examination with him or her to investigate the situation.

Landon Pryor has 1 Liposuction, Tummytuck before & after:

Liposuction, Tummytuck before image performed by Dr. Landon PryorLiposuction, Tummytuck after image performed by Dr. Landon Pryor

» View Landon Pryor's full profile

What you are experiencing is called dysesthesia, which is common after a tummy tuck and liposuction. Dysesthesias occur when nerves become traumatized. In a tummy tuck, your entire abdominal wall from your ribcage to your pubic area is reshaped. If you also have lipo to remove excess fat, nerve injuries become even more likely. In addition, swelling and bruising can make the problem worse because of impingement.

However, the dysesthesias will go away as you heal and your swelling subsides. It can take three months or more for the nerves to recover. Over this period you will likely continue to feel some odd sensations, such as pins and needles and/or burning.

In the meantime, here are some tips to help you manage your symptoms:

  • Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Ibuprofen or acetaminophen as tolerated to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Gently massage the abdominal skin every day. This helps to desensitize the nerves and may reduce their hypersensitivity.
  • Apply ice packs to the region. The cold will temporarily numb the nerves.
  • Wear your compression garment for as long as it’s helpful and comfortable.
  • Taking Neurontin can also be beneficial towards reducing your pain.

Frederic Corbin has 1 Liposuction before & after:

Liposuction before image performed by Dr. Frederic CorbinLiposuction after image performed by Dr. Frederic Corbin

» View Frederic Corbin's full profile

While the tummy tuck with lipo is the answer for many people who wish to have a sleek abdomen -- particularly should they suffer from loose skin and stretch marks following extensive weight loss -- it’s important to recognize that this is no minor plastic surgery. Far from it.

Abdominoplasty and lipo can give you the shape you’ve always wanted, but involves a healing process that takes many months, during which you may experience these dysesthesias as your nerves grow new connections. However, if these sensations are troublesome to you, you should reach out to your plastic surgeon. There are medications (Neurontin, Lyrica) that may provide you some relief during your recovery. You might also find some relief by massaging the upper and lower abdomen with lotion.

So long as your surgery was performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, you should feel confident that your recovery will be perfectly fine with no lasting issues.

Kimberly Henry has 1 Liposuction before & after:

Liposuction before image performed by Dr. Kimberly HenryLiposuction after image performed by Dr. Kimberly Henry

» View Kimberly Henry's full profile

The abdominoplasty procedure (tummy tuck) with liposuction is quite an extensive surgery, involving resecting excess skin and fat deposits lying above the abdominal muscles. The incision around your navel will be quite tender, and you may experience a burning sensation from wound stretching, particularly when you bend over. This could be the cause of the pain you’re describing.

Another factor might be an injury to the superficial nerves in the skin of your abdomen. Disturbing these nerves during a tummy tuck is unavoidable due to the extent of the surgery. The paresthesias you are experiencing (a burning sensation of a pins-and-needles feeling) are therefore not unusual.

Recovery time, including nerve regeneration, can take as long as six to eight months. Remember that abdominoplasty is no small procedure, and you must adjust your expectations for healing accordingly.

Following an extensive cosmetic surgery such as a tummy tuck, it’s common for patients to experience paresthesias resulting from damage to the superficial nerves in the abdomen. There’s no way to avoid this, so patients should be cautioned on what to expect during their recovery.

Given it’s only been one month since your surgery, the type of pain you’re describing is normal and nothing to worry about. However, if you find the symptoms particularly distressing, you should speak with your doctor as there are certain medicines and therapies that could alleviate some of your discomfort.

many of our patients tell me in the weeks and months after that as the nerves heal back they feel tingling or burning or electrical shots in the skin.  Be sure to discuss your goals and concerns with your board certified plastic surgeon.

It is not uncommon to experience sensory changes that certainly may include a but=rning sensation- It is very common to have areas of numbness that evolve over time and as there is some nerve regeneration this may result in occasional twingy pains and burning sensations. As long as all is otherwise progressing well including healthy ongoing healing of the incision and no areas of swelling or progressing pain/discoloration you should be just fine.

For additional information refer to our website

Ludwig Allegra has 1 Nose job, Chin implant, Liposuction before & after:

Nose job, Chin implant, Liposuction before image performed by Dr. Ludwig AllegraNose job, Chin implant, Liposuction after image performed by Dr. Ludwig Allegra

» View Ludwig Allegra's full profile