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Why Do I Have an Odor with a Yellowish Discharge Draining in my Belly Button 3 Weeks Post Op from a Full Tummy Tuck? (photo)

I had surgery on December 28, 2012. I have an excellent plastic surgeon, but I am concerned with my belly button. It was infected at my 1 week post op appointment and I was again placed on antibiotics for 10 more days. My belly button seemed to be doing great until I finished the medication. Now I have got the same smelly discharge draining in my belly button. Any suggestions? Adding pictures. Also, does everything else look normal?

Doctor Answers (8)

Drainage from Belly Button Three Weeks After a Tummy Tuck

+1

It is not uncommon to have a little bit of drainage from the belly three weeks after your tummy tuck.  Usually this is because part of your belly button is taking longer to heal after the stress of surgery.  The key things to look for are increasing redness, pain, swelling, fevers or chills.  If you have any of those notify your plastic surgeon immediately.  If not, I would let him or her know about the drainage so that they can make sure it is not something more worrisome.  Good luck.


Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Why Do I Have an Odor with a Yellowish Discharge Draining in my Belly Button 3 Weeks Post Op from a Full Tummy Tuck? (photo)

+1

The belly button (umbilicus) can sometimes show delayed healing because of reduced blood supply.

This results in drainage which can be malodorous.

I usually recommend showering with chlorhexidine cleanser (Hibitane and the like) and application of an antibiotic cream such as fucidin.

The other possible factor would be a suture. This can cause drainage until it dissolves or is removed.

See your surgeon for a check.

All the best.

Eric Pugash, MD
Vancouver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Discharge Draining in my Belly Button

+1

From the looks of the photo, I would suspect that there is a suture near the surface of the upper part of the navel right near the scab and site of drainage. However, being seen and examined in person is essential. 

See your surgeon, and if I am correct, removal of the suture should solve the problem. 

Thanks, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

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Why Do I Have an Odor with a Yellowish Discharge Draining in my Belly Button 3 Weeks Post Op from a Full Tummy Tuck?

+1

Either silver nitrate treatment to area, or re operation to remove the "nidus" of the drainage/infection. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
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Discharge from belly button after tummy tuck

+1

Thanks for your pictures and questions.  It sounds like you do need to contact your plastic surgeon again.  Having some smelly discharge from the belly button 3 weeks after surgery is not normal.  However, looking at your pictures that you have submitted, it does not look like you have a really bad infection.  You may just have some drainage from an area where there has been some delayed healing.  You may need some extended dressing changes.  I think you will likely have a very good result long-term.  Good luck!

Naveen Setty, MD, FACS
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Losing Belly Button?

+1

It appears that the belly button has some partial loss due to decreased circulation.  Please revisit with your plastic surgeon and strictly adhere to his/her advice.

Dr. ES

Earl Stephenson, Jr., MD, DDS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Infection Around Belly Button Post FTT - What Do I Do?

+1

Congratulations on having a great looking tummy tuck.  Your plastic surgeon recognized that you had an apparent infection one week after surgery.  He or she appropriately placed you on antibiotics.  Now, approximately 18 days post surgery, your residual infection has now found its way to the surface at the edge of your belly button.  Your plastic surgeon should have no problem draining this area.  This is usually the last stage of these not uncommon post FTT infections. 

By placing a simple wick (drain), your plastic surgeon can give the discharge a route of exit from your body, clean up the last little bit of infection, and hasten the healing process.  See your plastic surgeon ASAP.  This is not an unusual or particularly horrible problem, it just needs to be treated and the sooner the better.

S. Larry Schlesinger, MD, FACS
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
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Odor with a Yellowish Discharge Draining in my Belly Button 3 Weeks Post Op from a Full Tummy Tuck?

+1

This question will best be answered by your surgeon.

It is not "normal" to have smelly drainage from the belly button 3 weeks after Tummy Tuck. The first picture you posted hints there may be a slight separation along the upper rim of the belly button incision which may be associated either with drainage of a fluid collection (seroma) or some infected tissue nearby. Your surgeon could best advise you on this. Usually, by cleaning the area of all non-living crusty tissues and allowing all inside fluid to come out by packing the area with gauze daily, these wounds heal very nicely.

Please, see your surgeon ASAP and let him help you heal this area. If you are a smoker or exposed to second hand smoke, please share this with your surgeon.(You have dark areas of scabbing along the lower incision suggestive of compromised blodd flow as may be seen in smokers, diabetics etc).

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis, TN

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 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.