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Hardened Tissue After Tummy Tuck

Hi, I just wanted to ask if there should be tissue or muscle that is extremely hardened under the skin of the abdomen, after a 3 year old tummy tuck. Maybe this is scar tissue build up?

Can I do anything to soften the feel of it? The hardened area is mostly above my belly button and outward about 4 inches on each side of my belly button. Please advise with any suggestions or remedies.

Doctor Answers (14)

Persistently hard areas after tummy tuck

+3

Occasionally hard tissue after a tummy tuck may be a sign of fat necrosis or of plicated tissues. Discuss this with your surgeon. Other than resecting the tissue, I am not sure if much can be done. Early on, fibrotic tissues can be softened with intralesional steroid injections but scar maturation should have occured by 3 years and are not likely to be improved at this point.


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Hard tissue after tummy tuck

+3

Patients who received tummy tucks love their new tight abdomens and the way they look in their clothes. However, patients should anticipate a significant recovery process. For the first several months after their surgery, is expected to have significant swelling and firmness. In our practice, we provide our patients with two postoperative compression garments to help manage this swelling. At this time, you should revisit with your surgeon to determine if these areas you are feeling are from swelling or from a collection of blood or fluid. Your surgeon may recommend compression garments, warm compresses or evacuation of the fluid if it is present.

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:
 

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Hard Feeling Areas after a Tummy Tuck

+3

The scar healing and maturation process goes on for up to a year. By then, everything becomes soft and if need be, other operations can be done and the tissue will feel and behave like NON-operated tissue.

In your case, three years SHOULD have more than allowed all the areas to soften. Persistent hardness is either due to excessive scarring (most Likely) or to an area where the fat died (fat necrosis) and was replaced by scar tissue (less likely in this area above the belly button).

You should see your original surgeon and have him examine you. He would know what he did and what would be needed to fix it.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

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There shouldn't be hard areas after 3 years

+3

After 3 years, all the healing and tissue softening from a tummy tuck has occurred. There shouldn't be any hard areas left over at this point.

Either you have scar tissue in the muscle from tightening it or you have hard lumps in the fat where the blood supply was injured. These areas are called "fat necrosis."

It is probably too late to massage these areas and soften them. Unless they could be removed safely, I suspect these are permanent.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Hard spots 3 years post tummy tuck.

+2

The hardness you are experiencing is normal a few months after surgery but not 3 years. I would recommend you contact your surgeon and be evaluated to be sure that nothing is wrong. Best of luck.

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Hard Tissue Should be Evaluated

+2

Hard spots should be gone three years after Tummy Tuck.

Have your surgeon evaluate these spots to determine if anything need be done.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Hard areas after a tummy tuck

+2

Firmness in the soft tissue is normal up to a year or so after a tummy tuck. Unless there is significant scarring, it is unlikely to remain firm at 3 years. I would recommend a full evaluation with your plastic surgeon. In cases of "abdominal etching" where the goal is to effectively scar the dermis or skin down to the abdominal wall to give the illusion of a six-pack, this firmness is expected. Over-aggressive liposuction of the skin flap can give this same quality of "stuck down" skin. Treatments are few but include fat transfer or dermal fat grafting. Thankfully, this complication is quite uncommon. Review your issues with your plastic surgeon to identify the underlying problem and your treatment options.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Tummy Tuck hardness

+2

These areas of hardness you describe are abnormal to persist after three years.

You need full evaluation and I am surprised your surgeon did not continue to follow up with your progress. These can be scar or Fat Necrosis.

You need to see Board Certified PS and be evaluated and discuss your options.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Hardened tissue after three years should be evaluated

+2

It can be normal to have hardened tissue within the first year after a tummy tuck. This can be scar tissue, or some small areas of fat necrosis (fat that loses blood supply). However, after three years, this is probably not the case and especially not in the location that your describe. It could be a suture reaction where the muscles may have been tightened or it could be areas of fat necrosis or even (but less likely) some small hernias in your muscle. I would have this evaluated by a plastic surgeon.

David Rankin, MD
Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Get examined

+2

This may be scar tissue that you are feeeling below the skin or even an old seroma cavity.  You should see your surgeon to examine you.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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.