Tummy Tuck Revision to Fix Belly Button and Bulge?

I am 5 months post-op from Tummy Tuck, diastasis recti, and hernia repair. Not only do I look the same as I did pre-surgery, but now my belly button is disfigured, have "dog ears", large scar and pain.

I feel like my intestines push up against mesh inside and when I eat or sit I get a bulge in a 5x5 area around my belly button which hurts and burns. This surgery was done to re-build my stomach wall to help aid in supporting my very bad back. I have no stomach muscle strength.

Doctor Answers 12

Tummy Tuck Revision for belly button and bulge

I fully agree with Drs. Placik and Rand. It SOUNDS like you had a ventral hernia repair with a mesh. From your description "feel like my intestines push up against mesh inside and when I eat or sit I get a bulge in a 5x5 area around my belly button which hurts and burns", you SEEM to have a separation of your muscles AND a recurrent hernia (the 5x5 bulging area).

You may want to try wearing a binder whenever upright but I would recommend you see your surgeons and see what they have to say. I would also collect copies of your medical records, especially operative reports and any radiological studies, to present them to any second opinion doctors you may want to visit. I would focus on surgeons specializing in hernia repair and Plastic surgeons who perform an abdominal wall reconstruction operation called COMPONENT SEPARATION.

Good Luck.

Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Tummy tuck scars- dog ears

It seams that you still have significant skin redundancy and you can pinch much lower abdominal skin. Also, I do agree that your abodminal wall is weak. Not knowing your full medical/surgical history, I recommend to have your surgeon evaluate you for revision abdominoplasty.

Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Yes and no....



Revision is harder than the original operation. It looks like you should be able to get some improvement, but if you mean by "fix" that everything will be entirely corrected, I would say no. You need a good evaluation by a qualified surgeon to assess what has happened and what might be done to improve it. Listen before you jump into more surgery.


Best Regards,


John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Tummy tuck issue

What you have is not normal. There are many issues here and you probably should go to a plastic surgeon (probably at a University) who does a lot of abdominal wall reconstruction. You would potentially need to redo the entire surgery to get the result you want. It is also possible that your tissues just aren't going to stay tight no matter what is done.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Recurrent bulge after a tummy tuck

Have you discussed this with your surgeon(s)? I am sure that this is very upsetting to you. It appears that your muscles have separated but this is an opinion based on very limited information. You may need a more complex operation called a separation of parts but It may be worth attemptinfg the muscle repair one more time.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Tummy Tuck Revision for Belly Button and Bulge

Thank you for your question. It is difficult, if not impossible, to determine the adequacy of your results since you do not supply any preoperative photos to which to compare. From the picture you did sent it does look like you have an unusual appearance to the belly button, and you demonstrate very clearly that you have persistent rolls of fat that you can pinch along the incision. Additionally, from the verbal description of your surgery, it seems that you did not have a routine cosmetic abdominoplasty, but a more complicated abdominal wall reconstruction. The hernia and diastasis recti repairs can be done with sutures only, or with additional mesh - I am not clear on whether mesh was or was not used. Regardless of technique used for this repair, persistent pain is not an uncommon complaint. My suggestion is to obtain a copy of the medical record, specifically the operative report or dictation, as well as the preoperative photos. You should then address the issue with your surgeon, and if you are unhappy with his/her assessment then go ahead and visit with a Board-certified plastic surgeon to get a formal and bonafide medical opinion. Hope that this helps. Good luck and fare well. 

Daniel Kaufman, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Tummy Tuck: revision surgery for bulge

#TummyTuckRevision surgery

It is difficult to tell from your photos and story exactly what was done but revision would probably help you

Revision surgery is unusual but may be desired for several reasons. Most revisions should be done after 9-12 months. One cause for revision surgery are “dog ears” at the ends of the incisions. These are small folds of excess skin that do not flatten over time. They can be excised, suctioned or both.

Excess fat or loose skin may require liposuction and skin excision to obtain the best result.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Seek Your Original Surgeon and Get an Evaluation Regarding This Swelling

Its normal to have some swelling following abdominoplasty, but swelling of this magnitude five months following surgery suggest a structural abnormality of the abdominal wall.  In this situation a comprehensive evaluation should be undertaken to determine the cause of the problem.

It’s important that you return to your original surgeon for an evaluation.  This evaluation might require a CT scan to evaluate the integrity of the abdominal wall.  In light of the fact that mesh was utilized there’s a good chance that this has become detached from the abdominal tissue.  Under these circumstances, surgical revision might necessary to correct this problem.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

A revision should bring you closer to the results you want.

I agree with what others here have said: your improvements should be more apparent by five months after surgery. Your first step should be to contact your surgeon about your concerns. However, don’t feel like you need to stick with him or her for your revision, especially if you’re not confident that your surgeon will be able to deliver positive results the second time around either. Instead, take the time to find a board-certified plastic surgeon with plenty of experience in tummy tuck revisions, as the second surgery is often more technically challenging than the first. In many cases, insurance may pay for your revision surgery as well.

Frank Campanile, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Tummy Tuck Revision to Fix Belly Button and Bulge?

From your description, I am concerned that you have had a hernia repair and a recurrent hernia.  I am in agreement that you should work with a Plastic Surgeon that does a lot of abdominal wall reconstruction.

For more information, please go to my website at:

Garrett A. Wirth, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 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.