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Sore Suture 5 Months Post-abdominoplasty

I had adominoplasty (extensive muscle repair...

I had adominoplasty (extensive muscle repair without any liposuction and with only minimal tightening of very small area of loose skin) in December 2008 to correct a severe diastasis recti that was causing back pain and extreme abdominal weakness. Both my surgeon and I considered my procedure to be "reconstructive" rather than "cosmetic," since I was seeking resolution of pain and functional limitations much more than any improvement in my appearance. (I was a size 2 prior to surgery and, although my abdomen does appear somewhat flatter since the abdominoplasty, I still am unable to wear many of my pre-surgery clothes due to persistent swelling.)

For the past 3 months, I have been working with a physical therapist to rebuild my abdominal strength, which has been severely limited since the diastasis recti occurred during my pregnancy with my now 2-year-old son. So far, I have regained some very limited abdominal “core” strength. My surgeon has told me that, due to my severe diastasis and very limited abdominal strength pre-surgery, it will be a full year or more until I am able to determine whether I have regained significant abdominal strength and functionality from the surgery.

Due to my lack of any significantly perceptible feeling of improved “tightness” of my abdominal region during routine movements, I am highly concerned that the muscle repair was not successful. When standing upright, my abdominal profile is somewhat flatter than it was pre-surgery (yet certainly not entirely flat, as it was prior to my pregnancy). When I lie on my side, however, the internal contents of my abdomen fall to the side and lie in a grotesquely protruding mass beside me. When I roll onto my back and then onto the opposite side, my abdominal contents slosh in a wave-like motion to that side. (Based on the sensations that I am experiencing with these movements and my very slender frame, I am certain that what I am observing is, in fact, movement of my abdominal organs rather than simply abdominal fat or loose skin.) The very uncomfortable sensation of this loose mass of abdominal contents shifting with gravity with my every movement prevents me from resuming the active lifestyle that I had prior to pregnancy and even from performing many normal daily activities. This problem began during my pregnancy and is entirely unchanged since my abdominoplasty.

I have consulted my surgeon about these concerns. She says that the muscle repair was “successful” since my abdomen appears flat when I am standing upright. She says that abdominoplasty cannot address the “looseness” of my abdominal contents, which is an anatomic change due to pregnancy. Based on my observations and conversations with other mothers, however, I am confident that my problem is not a common or “normal” result of pregnancy. The shifting and looseness of my abdominal contents is limiting my ability to engage in both normal daily activities and active recreational activities and is hugely reducing my quality of life. I am desperate for some solution and enormously disappointed that the abdominoplasty appears not to have been successful.

Seven months ago, I had adominoplasty (with extensive muscle repair) to correct a severe diastasis recti. I am very petite and slender (5’4” and 100 lbs.) and did not require any liposuction. I am concerned that my muscle repair was unsuccessful. When standing upright, my abdominal profile is somewhat flatter than it was pre-surgery. When I lie on my side, however, the internal contents of my abdomen fall to the side and lie in a grotesquely protruding mass beside me. When I roll onto my back and onto the opposite side, my abdominal contents slosh in a wave-like motion to that side. The very uncomfortable sensation of this loose mass of abdominal contents shifting with gravity with my every movement prevents me from resuming the active lifestyle that I had prior to pregnancy and even from performing many normal daily activities. Should abdominoplasty have corrected this problem? If so, would you recommend that I consider repeat abdominoplasty and/or other surgery to resolve this problem that is severely limiting my quality of life?
Name not provided

Prior to surgery, my surgeon was very diligent about understanding my unique situation, listening to my concerns, and explaining the procedure and its risks and benefits to me.

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Comments (2)

Just wondering how you are doing? I just passed the three month mark and had a visit with my PS yesterday. I still have soreness also that comes and goes... some of it feels like muscle soreness like when I try to get up out of bed in the morning, (I use my legs as a counter weight to roll upright) and then just general soreness that comes and goes under my skin it feels like (but not as deep as the muscle)! I've never had a fever but did have a small amount of fluid removed (25cc) that was low in my belly and felt like a waterbed slosh. My soreness is usually around or above my belly button. Has yours resolved itself...o dang I just noticed your question was years ago. o well.
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At 4 months out I dont think there is any way you could "undo" your muscle repair. My PS released me to all exercises at 6 weeks. Although I tried i really could not do much with my abdominal muscles until 10 or 11 weeks out. But at that point I began full abs workout. I'd say you've just pulled or stretched one of your stomach muscles. You should work diligently to re-strengthen your abdominal muscles, that's the entire reason for your surgery. And how wonderful it must be to be a size 2 and actually be able to feel the sutures. good luck
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