I had a full tummy tuck 14 years ago. Is possible to determine if the sutures were poorly done?

Upper abdominal area is larger than bottom. My weight is mostly the same as 14 yrs ago. I have gsained and lost app 10 to 13 pounds in the last 12 yrs. No excess skin except a little on upper ab area. Couldnt do ab exercises because of pain to upper abs . Now no pain when exercising but mis shapen and larger than lower ab. What type of TT can I do? I was told my sutures were permanent as long as i didnt get pregnant or gain alot of weight? Pics if necessary

Doctor Answers 5

Tummy tuck results after 14 years

You may just have upper abdominal fat or muscle looseness that has developed or worsened over time.  Our bodies change as we age, of course.  You may benefit from liposuction to the upper abdomen.  Or you may beneft from retightening the muscles in the upper abdomen.  Or the fullness may be intra-abdominal, meaning the only way it will improve is with diet and exercise.  You'll need to have a personal consultation to determine which issue is the cause of your upper abdominal fullness.Best wishes,
Dr. Kavali

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Tummy tuck?

It is near impossible to address your concerns without an "in person" evaluation, and totally impossible to do so without photos. Please contact a board certified plastic surgeon in your area and schedule a consultation. I am sure they will be able to address your concerns and provide you with options based on their findings.Good luck

Asaf Yalif, MD
Roswell Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

I had a full tummy tuck 14 years ago. Is possible to determine if the sutures were poorly done

Thank you for sharing your question.  Without a full series of photographs it is difficult to offer you definite advice, but if you are having prominence of your upper abdomen since your tummy tuck the muscle repair may not have been high enough to tighten the muscles and flatten the full extent of your stomach.  Though your surgeon used permanent sutures this does not mean that your results are permanent only that the sutures will not dissolve.  As a result given time and weight fluctuations your repair may loosen a small amount.  I hope this helps. I would advise seeing a plastic surgeon for an in-person evaluation to discuss your current appearance and to offer possible treatment options.  best wishes.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

I had a full tummy tuck 14 years ago. Is possible to determine if the sutures were poorly done?

I doubt that there was anything done wrong with your surgery if you looked flat early after your surgery. You have to realize that bodies change over 14 years and your upper abdomen may have weaker muscle tension now than it did 14 years ago.I would recommend that you see a plastic surgeon so that you can be examined and then formulate a  new plan to tighten your abdomen if the surgeon believes that it will improve your shape.

At 15 years post-op sutures used in a tummy tuck may not be effective any longer

The first thing that is worth noting right up front is that nothing a plastic surgeon does to the body should be considered "permanent."  While the suture materials that we may use can be permanent, meaning that they aren't absorbed by the body and can possibly be found years later if one were to go back in and look, the effects that those sutures were supposed to have on the tissues may not last permanently.  The human body is not static, and it is changing all the time, year after year.  Tissues naturally thin and weaken with age, weight fluctuates, and tensions change on tissues.  All of these things can contribute to the overall effects that we notice as the "result" of a procedure like a tummy tuck.  This is also true for facelift surgery, breast surgery, and other similar types of procedures that we do as plastic surgeons.  With regard to your issue with the upper abdomen, it is not unusual for the repair in the upper abdomen to weaken over time, while the lower abdomen remains firm.  Thus, pressures redistribute in the abdomen, and much the same as squeezing a tube of toothpaste in the middle, the abdominal contents can be "squeezed," or displaced, upward to the looser upper abdomen if the lower abdominal muscle wall is still tight.  The fact that you had some pain and inability to use your upper abdominal muscles for awhile is suggestive of a progressive stretching or weakening of the muscle repair in that location.  Sometimes weight gain is the culprit, as increases in internal "belly" fat around the organs cause increase in the abdominal pressure, and thus stretching of the muscle repair.  In such cases, the only reliable option is to re-do the tummy tuck and re-repair the weakened upper muscle wall.  We don't necessarily have to take any more skin off during a tummy tuck if there is none to take; rather at this point the procedure becomes more of a repair of diastasis recti, the term used for weakening and separation of the rectus abdominis muscles of the abdomen.  At this point, the best thing for you to do is schedule some consultations with experienced board certified plastic surgeons who can personally examine you and determine exactly what would be required to meet your personal goals.  In addition to being certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, your surgeon should also voluntarily participate in the Maintenance of Certification program administered by that board. This is the best way to know that your surgeon not only has the best training and experience for the procedure, but that he or she has maintained currency in the certification requirements as opposed to practicing on a "lifetime" certificate which has only been reviewed once at the beginning of his or her career. For more information on this you can visit ABplsurg.org or ABMS.org. 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.