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Why does the skin around the caesarean scar feel numb?

Answered by: Dr. Suneet Sood
Consultant Surgeon,
Metro Multispecialty Hospital,
NOIDA, UP

Q. I delivered a baby boy through caesarean section 17 months ago. My skin above & along the surgical scar feels numb even now. I was given epidural anaesthesia for the surgery. I have no other complications. I haven't visited my doctor in this regard, but would like to know if some numbness is normal. I first noticed this about 5 months after delivery but thought it would go with the passage of time. The numbness itself doesn't cause any discomfort but I feel it when I rub along. When I tried to do some push-up exercise and tuck my stomach in, I felt a pull along the suture & immediately stopped the exercise. Will the numbness be life long?

A.  A surgical wound on healing gets replaced by fibrous (scar) tissue. The tissue contains no nerves. Therefore it is not unusual for a scar to be numb. In time, nerves grow into this tissue, and some sensation returns. During healing itching is very common. What about the skin near the scar? Logically, this should retain sensation. However, the nerves travelling to this skin get cut by the scar, therefore the skin near the scar is numb. This is unlikely in a vertical scar, because the nerves come from either side. However, transverse scars such as a LSCS scar or the scar of an open cholecystectomy (for gall bladder surgery) are associated with much nerve-cutting, and the skin near the scar is frequently numb. Some, but not all sensation, will return.

A.  A surgical wound on healing gets replaced by fibrous (scar) tissue. The tissue contains no nerves. Therefore it is not unusual for a scar to be numb. In time, nerves grow into this tissue, and some sensation returns. During healing itching is very common. What about the skin near the scar? Logically, this should retain sensation. However, the nerves travelling to this skin get cut by the scar, therefore the skin near the scar is numb. This is unlikely in a vertical scar, because the nerves come from either side. However, transverse scars such as a LSCS scar or the scar of an open cholecystectomy (for gall bladder surgery) are associated with much nerve-cutting, and the skin near the scar is frequently numb. Some, but not all sensation, will return.

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