Painful Lump After Tummy Tuck Doctor Think's It's Fibrous Tissue? What Does This Mean? (photo)

i had tummy tuck surgery on the 5th of nov and everything went well, week's went by i noticed a lump on my upper abdomen. i thought it was swelling so i waited for it go down but it just got bigger in size. I went to the doctor(not my surgeon as the surgery was abroad) and was told it was fibrous tissue? and that it can't be a seroma/hematoma because of the way it feels. i've never heard of this associated with tummy tucks before and how can she diagnose me without doing a scan? will it go away?

Doctor Answers 8

Tummy tuck

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Although this is not common, it does happen.

This can be a hematoma, progressing to a clot, which will not be able to be aspirated until it liquifies. If it is a seroma, then it can be aspirated. The other possibility is that your muscle fascia has stretched, or stitches have popped, which will not improve without surgery. A trial aspiration in the office may be worthwhile.

Painful Lump After Tummy Tuck

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Thanks for the questions. I find most answers to the dot. I however would like to know the size of this swelling and does it feel hard. Months after surgery the most likely thing is that its a ball of fibrous tissue which may resolve with injection of Kenalog right in the center of this ball if this is not more than 2 cm in size. If its rather large and hard perhaps see a PS in your locality rather than any doctor whose opinion may be more valid then these suggestions. Wishing you good luck.

Seroma's can be hard

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Thank you for your question and photograph. It is possible that the lump is a seroma and they can get hard over time. If it becomes encapsulated, it may not go away unless it is aspirated or drained. An experienced plastic surgeon may be able to aspirate it if he or she believes that it is a fluid collection. An ultrasound would be the best test for diagnosing a fluid collection.

Diagnosing a Seroma or Lump after Tummy Tuck?

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   You could ultrasound the area to determine if there is a fluid collection or cavity.  You could also just aspirate the area to determine this information.  It is possible that this area is just scar tissue.  If the area represents seroma, drainage, sclerosants, and excision could all be options.


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 You most likely are correct. This mass or hardness probably is a seroma. Consider asking your physician to perform a simple ultrasound. If this turns out to be a seroma the radiologist can aspirate/ drain it. Unfortunately, you may require serial aspirations, placement of a drainage catheter/ tube, etc at this point if this is a seroma. If the mass is not a seroma a simple CT scan or MRI will delineate the etiology for you. Then, address your concerns with your surgeon when they are available. Best,


Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS

Gary R. Culbertson, MD
Columbia Plastic Surgeon

Painful Lump in Upper Abdomen following Tummy Tuck

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Based upon the location of the mass I would venture it's the result of your internal organs putting pressure on the upper abdomen. During most tummy tucks the muscle layer is tightened from the pubic area all the way up to the breast bone. If the sutures stretch, weaken or loosen up above the belly button this area can bulge forward. Alternatively, if the surgeon doesn't suture above the belly button, the pressure from tightening the lower abdomen can push the abdominal contents upward, causing this appearance as well - although this is not as likely to be the case. The only treatment for this is to re-open the abdomen and re-tighten the muscles.  Best of Luck  Dr Harrell

One of the pitfalls of cosmetic surgery abroad.

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I find this is one of the most unsatisfactory things about having cosmetic surgery abroad.  It is the reassurance that you may need from your surgeon when things like this occur.  I agree with Dr Sexton and it may be a localised haematoma or seroma.  It is common to perform dissection up to the ribcage centrally and there may have been a little bit of bleeding here.  It is also possible that the sutures from the muscle repair (if there was one) may have stretched or given way.

A scan would help delineate the problem, but I find that these problems can usually be dealt with by clinical assessment and appropriate management.  Does the surgeon visit your country at all, because it would be ideal to see the person who did the operation.  Alternatively, you could email your photos to him/her as he will be in the best place to give the most accurate advice.  Good luck.

Sedona or Hematoma after a tummy tuck

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One of the big problems after a tummy tuck performed abroad is exactly what you describe, your surgeon is not available for follow up and only he or she would know what the most likely cause of your concerns are.  That being said, I would recommend a ct scan if you are concerned with what you are hearing from your new surgeon.  Good luck.

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.