One common side effect of cosmetic procedures is numbness or a loss of feeling in the skin. Some amount of numbness occurs in most procedures and is not an immediate cause for concern. Depending on the cause, feeling should return in time, but it could be hours, days, or weeks.
In rarer cases, numbness may be permanent. But there are different kinds of numbness. They fall into the following categories, arranged in increasing order of severity:
- Ordinary “Pins and Needles”
- Anesthesia Numbness
- Incision Numbness
- Nerve Damage
Ordinary “Pins and Needles”
If you’ve ever sat on in an uncomfortable position on a long flight, you know what this feels like. It’s not pleasant, but it’s not dangerous either. First you get the “pins and needles” sensation, which eventually turns into your whole arm or leg going numb.
When you undergo surgery, it’s a little like being in an airplane for a long flight. Your body stays stuck in a single position for an extended period of time, and can easily develop pins and needles. This feeling can last for a while after surgery, but goes away quickly and is nothing to worry about.
Surgeons use anesthesia to keep patients still, so they don’t have to feel the pain of getting cut open. Anesthetics are so powerful that their effects can linger for up to a whole day after surgery.
This kind of numbness has some benefits. Your body will be in pain after it is cut open, so numbness during the start of recovery can help you get back to normal.
Wherever your surgeon cuts you open, those incisions can damage local nerves and prevent you from feeling the skin. A small amount of this is normal. You may have experienced the same thing yourself if you ever cut yourself with a knife by accident.
Typically, numbness from incisions comes back within a few months. However, this depends on many factors, like age, sex, and diet.
Nerve Damage Numbness
Unfortunately, some surgeries do result in permanent nerve damage. This is obviously something to be avoided. Some operations carry a greater risk of permanent nerve damage than others. You should discuss the potential risks of your surgery with your doctor, and determine for yourself your preferred level of risk.
Numbness immediately after surgery is to be expected and is not a cause of concern. Ordinary numbness will dissipate in a few hours, anesthesia numbness over the course of the next day, and incision numbness over the course of a few months. In rare and unfortunate cases, however, permanent nerve damage does occur. The likelihood of this occurring depends on the kind of operation being done.
Some forms of numbness, are a cause for immediate concern. These include:
- facial drooping
- loss of control over bowels
- loss of control over urine
- inability to walk
In these cases, you should consult with your doctor. They may be a sign of a more serious complication. In that case, additional steps will be necessary.
If you are currently experiencing numbness following surgery, you should know that your lifestyle choices in the future can improve the rate at which your body restores feeling. Eating a healthy diet of whole foods, and avoiding smoking, can help your body heal itself on its own. In any case, full recovery of feeling can take several months.
At the Kass Center, we help you at every step of the process, including post-surgery. We are here if you experience uncomfortable numbness. For more information please contact Kass Center today!