Lower Abdomen Very Bloated After Stitches Removed from TT, What Can I Do?

I just had a full tummytuck with muscle repair 2 1-2 weeks ago. Today I went to see my doctor and she removed the stitches around the new bellybutton, Then I was standing in a traffic jam on the way home and started feeling uncompftable. And at home I discovered that my lower abdomen is very much swollen. Can this be from sitting on the drivers seat to long ? What can I do now ? Also I read on here you all recommended the sutures stitches to be removed after 10 days or so, my doc says 3-4 weeks.

Doctor Answers 4

Lower abdominal swelling causes

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Lower abdominal swelling can be caused by a few things including:

1) seroma

2) hematoma

3) pseudobursa

4) swelling

5) fat

The swelling that has occured after prolonged sitting with no other symptoms is most likely swelling or seroma.  Wear you abdominal binder low and tight and have your plastic surgeon take a look at you.  If it is just swelling it will go away with compression and time.  A seroma should be aspirate (drained).

All the best,

Dr Repta

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Swelling Post-op

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It is not unusual to have periods of increased swelling (with subsequent regression) after a tummy tuck. This is often due to increased exercise and activity. This is best treated with rest and the compression garment. However, sudden onset of marked persistent swelling needs to be evaluated to make sure that you do not have a seroma or fluid accumulation. This has no relation to superficial suture removal.

Brian Klink, MD
Vacaville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Lower Abdomen Very Bloated After Tummy Tuck Stitches Removed

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Sudden swelling is NOT normal but is very unlikely to be related to removal of the Tummy Tuck outer (skin) stitches. You really need to be seen by your surgeon to make sure you do not have a SEROMA (fluid collection) or a HEMATOMA (blood collection) ; both of which need to be managed as soon as possible by him. Removing of skin stitches should NOT cause either complication.

As regards "I read on here you all recommended the sutures stitches to be removed after 10 days or so, my doc says 3-4 weeks", I could not disagree more. It is bad enough that Tummy Tuck scars are as long as they are to allow us to remove all the loose lower tummy skin (without leaving "Dog Ears"). Skin stitches, if any are used, should be removed BY 7 days after surgery. Removing stitches after 7 days (much less a month) leaves behind the dots one sees next to scars (or as surgeons refer to as "rail roading"). To get better scars, I use three layers of INSIDE stitches only WITHOUT outside skin stitches specifically to avoid the possibility of railroading.

Please see your surgeon.

Peter A Aldea, MD

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for your question.

Yes, it is quite normal to have swelling up to 6 months post op tummy tuck surgery.. sometimes even up to one year (especially after exercising).    Since your swelling seems to have increased rapidly you may have to see your surgeon again relatively soon to rule out “abnormal swelling” such as seroma.  If you find that you feel a fluid wave when you palpate the abdomen you may be dealing with this accumulation of serum.

In regards to stitches,  every surgeon's technique is different and I would suggest raising questions and concerns with your surgeon as opposed to putting too much weight on what you learn online. I personally do not ( generally speaking)  use  sutures that need to be removed  but would not argue with a surgeon who chooses to do so ( as long as the sutures do no harm).

I'm assuming you chose your surgeon based on qualifications, expertise and trust;  I would continue to follow up with him/her and to communicate your concerns.

I hope this helps.

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.