How long after plastic surgery does skin regain feeling?

You may notice a loss of skin sensation after plastic surgery, but this side-effect is usually temporary.  

If you are considering plastic surgery, there are a lot of factors to think about before you go ahead with your treatment of choice. An important consideration is the recovery period, as well as the potential side effects that may follow your procedure. One of the most common side-effects of plastic surgery is a temporary loss of sensation in the skin. This occurs as part of the healing process as the nerve pathways need to regenerate over time.

So, how long can you expect this to take? And what exactly causes these changes in sensation?

What causes a change in sensation after surgery?

The body is made up of many nerves, all of which play a role in communicating sensations from your body to your brain. When the skin is wounded in any way — such as in the case of a surgical incision, for example — the body’s network of nerves is interrupted. It can then take some time for the nerves’ communication pathways to fully regenerate. While these pathways rebuild, you may notice that your normal level of sensation has changed.

Each person is different and the time that it takes for the skin and nerves to heal varies from case to case. A number of factors can affect the speed of your recovery, including the type of surgery that you have, as well as your overall health.

What do changes in sensation feel like?

Again, each person experiences sensation changes slightly different. Some of the most commonly reported symptoms include a sense of numbness and tingling, while some people notice a complete loss of sensation at the site of treatment.

In some cases, sensation returns to the skin gradually over time, but it is also possible to experience a sudden return of feeling in the skin. Often, surgical patients report a tingling or stinging feeling as the nerves begin to heal.

When will sensation return?  

In most cases, skin regains its feeling after plastic surgery, although permanent sensation loss or changes in skin sensation are possible.

Individuals who go through breast augmentation, breast reduction or breast lift surgery typically regain normal sensation within two to three months of their procedure. Sensation around the nipple often takes longer to return.

It is possible for breast reconstruction patients to experience permanent changes to skin sensation. This is because the surgery is often very extensive, and may even involve multiple procedures.

In the case of tummy tuck surgery, most patients regain feeling within six months of the procedure, with the area between the incision scar and the belly button taking the most time to resolve.

Facelift patients can experience sensation changes around the sites of incision for up to 18 months.

In the case of liposuction, a loss of sensation is very rare. Those who do notice a loss of sensation usually regains feeling within weeks of the procedure.

How can we help?

Dr Sally Ng is an expert in her field, so if you have any questions or concerns about the possible side effects following plastic surgery, we encourage you to raise them with her when you come in for a consultation. If you are considering cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, Dr Sally Ng will take the time to listen to your needs and aesthetic goals before explaining your procedure of choice to you and guiding you through the process.

Dr Sally Ng offers an extensive range of treatments. These include breast, body contouring, skin cancer, hand, paediatric, and trauma surgery. She is also highly experienced in scar reconstruction. If you would like to find out more about the procedures that she provides, please have a look here.

If you would like to arrange a consultation, please get in touch here or give us a call on (03) 9587 2048.