Afraid my Belly Button is Not Healing Properly After Tummy Tuck.

I am cleaning it daily with soap and water and then peroxide after the shower. I still have to cover it with gauze. It's like a scab over it, but now it is turning the gauze a brownish-red color, like it is bleeding slightly. Should I worry about this or just keep doing what I am doing? I go back for my 2nd follow-up in a week, should I go back sooner?

Doctor Answers 4

Smelly Belly (Poor wound healing after tummy tuck): Belly button is a dead umbilical cord

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The belly button is your one natural scar. Remenber it formed from a dead umbilical cord. So it does not have a healthy blood supply and will often heal slowly. Rarely this is a true infection but can be colonized (meaning bacteria are present but not causing disease). Occasionally this will require a scar revision. However, it typically heals with wound care.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Surgeon should assess

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It's best to follow the instructions provided to you by your surgeon. They should assess your belly button at the time of your followup. 

Ronald Levine, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Postop Care after Tummy Tuck

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Soap and water is good.  I usually dont have my patients clean with pure peroxide.  It is diluted 1/2 strength with saline or water.  I feel that full strength peroxide does not allow the tissue to heal.

Hope that helps.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

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Belly button healing

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The best person to inform you of whether your healing is progressing normally, or course, is the board certified plastic surgeon who performed your procedure.  That being said, in general, it is quite common for edges of the belly button to ooze, change color, and heal in a delayed fashion.  The belly button is essentially, at its base, a scar from childbirth, and these healing issues after tummy tuck often do not detract at all from the final result, even though they can be a nuisance during the early post surgical period.

Do what your surgeon tells you to do.  In general, good hygiene, perhaps a topical antibiotic ointment, a protective bandage, and patience are all that is required.  If the situation is worsening, you are anxious or especially concerned, see your surgeon more frequently. 

Hope this helps, Steve Laverson, MD

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 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.