I am 4.5 months post op from a full TT with muscle repair. Could the muscle repair be failing? (photos)

Hello, I had the flu and a sinus infection a few weeks ago that involved some intense coughing. The cough was very painful in my abdomen, and I noticed my abdomen was swollen. The swelling hasn't gone down and feels hard and is tender to touch and is still pretty painful when I cough. I also did the test of laying down and lifting my head and feet up and my upper abdomen comes to a point... doesn't that mean it's failing?? I see my dr in 4 days but I'm curious to know what others think.

Doctor Answers 5

Is my muscle repair failing? (Photos)

Thank you very much for your photograph and message. Obviously it is difficult to say whether your tummy muscle repair is failing at this stage as I didn’t see you before and it would also be useful to see a picture of you from the side.

It does however look as if you do have some fullness in your tummy area and this can be caused by loosening of the tummy muscles.

I think it might be worthwhile asking your surgeon the nature of the stitches used to repair your tummy muscles.

Some surgeons do use absorbable stitches which typically dissolve and lose their strength at approximately 3 to 4 months following surgery.

If absorbable stitches have been used this may be the cause of the slight loosening of your tummy muscles and this is less likely to have occurred if permanent stitches such as Proline were used.

Good luck and I hope the area continues to heal and you get a result you are happy with.

Best wishes.

London Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 148 reviews

Loss of muscle repair after tummy tuck

At 4.5 months after surgery, your healing has 90% or more of its final strength.
You problem after coughing is likely to have 3 possible causes: 
  • swelling, pain even some bleeding around the muscle repair,
  • stretching of the muscle repair, 
  • a true hernia.
  • Have your surgeon examine you and discuss with him/her. Give it some time.
  • I have seen something like this subside completely. Best wishes.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Umbilical Bulge.

Your pictures show significant bulging around your belly button.  It is unclear what caused this - muscle separation or inadequate muscle tightening.  It is important that this issue be raised with your plastic surgeon, chances are a revisionary surgery would be required.
breast implant up- tight muscle, capsule. Chances are a revisionary surgery may be required.
All the best!
Dr. Tony Perkins.
Plastic Surgery of Short Hills

Anthony Perkins, MD
Short Hills Physician
4.9 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Tummy Tuck - healing time

There seems to be some average swelling combined with a little bit of a pouch around the umbilicus (belly button).  You could've popped a stitch or two.  There is nothing to do for at least another month or two but a visit to your physician is critical.  Best Wishes!!

Stefan Mark Szczerba, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

I am 4.5 months post op from a full TT with muscle repair. Could the muscle repair be failing? (photos)

You have a central "bulge" that warrants attention. It is difficult to evaluate you without looking at your preoperative pictures, medical records and examining you in person. Having intense coughing can theoretically "un-zip" your muscle repair.
I recommend you bring this to the attention of your surgeon and work with him to address your concerns.

Maan Kattash, MD, FRCS, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 53 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.