I had prolonged cough the day of tummy tuck and mascle repair surgery. Pain was unbearable, but my concern was that stitches would be ripped. I had cough few days after surgery as well. Now I am 3 weeks post op, but I still cannot stand up right and muscles look swallen. Could my cough bring some damage to the muscles, that would compromise the whole procedure?
Can Stitches on Muscle Repair Be Torn by Coughing?
Doctor Answers 9
Coughing CAN Tear Muscle Repair Stitches of Tummy Tuck
Coughing after a tummy tuck
Coughing after a tummy tuck more than likely did not do any harm, but the only way to be sure is to get examined by your surgeon.
Coughing after tummy tuck
Coughing, or other repetitive acts such as lifting or straining can cause the sutures in the muscle repair to break or cut through like a wire through cheese, and the repair can be undone. The bulge which was corrected can come back in all or part of the tummy. The sutures are not actually in the muscle, but in the fascia, or gristle, on top of the muscle. Only time will tell if the repair was undone. You will know after the swelling has all diminished, and 3 weeks is a bit early to tell. Recurrence or relapse of the bulge is unlikely but a possibility with muscle repair, and can be due to the reasons cited, as well as weak tissues.
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Possible but unlikely…
For precise diagnosis and advise you will be best served by visiting with your plastic surgeon.
Generally speaking the plication of the abdominal wall is very secure and it would take significant force / trauma to disrupt this repair. Generally speaking, a sneeze, cough and/or straining will not generate enough force to harm the repair.
Again, if you are concerned, I would suggest that you visit with your surgeon for an examination so that he/she can (most likely) put your mind at ease. It will also be important to determine the cause of your persistent cough ( rule out pulmonary complications such as pneumonia).
Can you damage your muscle tightening
It is possible to damage the muscle tightening from severe coughing, vomiting, straining - activities that can increase intraabdominal pressures. That is why plastic surgeons recommend no heavy lifting or strenuous activity after surgery for 4-6 weeks. However, most of the time, multiple sutures are placed. So even if you heard a pop, you likely have back up sutures. Please see your plastic surgeon for an evaluation.
Coughing tearing muscle repair in tummy tuck
Thanks for the question.
It is possible that increased intra-abdominal pressure, either caused by coughing, or possibly vomiting, could cause a muscle tear along the repair line, but this would be highly unlikely, especially in a sound repair. To be certain, follow-up with your surgeon for a thorough examination.
Glenn Vallecillos, MD, FACS
Damage to Tummy Tuck from Coughing
Can coughing effect my tummy tuck repair?
Anything is possible but not everything is likely. When we repair the muscles during a tummy tuck,. the muscles are actually not sutured. Instead, the tissue around the muscles (called "fascia") is brought together and so any disruption of the repair would actually involve this tissue.
And although the sutures could potentially cheese-wire through this tissue, it is very unlikely. However, I would definitely contact your Plastic Surgeon and let them know your concerns. A good physical exam may be able to answer your question and give you peace of mind.
I hope that helps!
Damage or ruining muscle repair with tummy tuck due to severe coughing
Yes, severe coughing could theoretically disrupt an abdominal rectus diastasis muscle repair. For this reason, the use of a binder can be helpful.