Bloody and Draining Navel 5 Years After Tummy Tuck

I have been having numerous infections in my navel since my tummy tuck 5 years ago. Today the navel had the strongest odor and when I checked, there was a green colored rope/suture protruding out. I gave it a tug and out it came! Was this a permanent suture or one left behind? Should I be concerned or will my navel infections now cease to occur? Thank you!

Doctor Answers 10

Infection seondary to a permanent suture 5 years after a tummy tuck

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This indeed was a permanent suture that was the nidus of the infection. It is possible that its removal will resolve your recurrent infections. However, since there are other like sutures, it is possible that future infections could occur. It would be prudent to contact your plastic surgeon and have him/her assess your situation. However, if this is not possible, I would seek a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who can examine you and the area and then discuss the relevant issues.

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Drainage from navel after tummy tuck

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One of the more important parts of any tummy tuck is the plication of the rectus fascia or what is sometimes referred to as the "tightening of the muscles."  Plastic surgeons frequently use a braided, permanent suture for the plication called ethibond which happens to be green.  It sounds like one of your plication sutures has been infected for some time. It apparently finally made its way out.  This is called a stitch abscess.  Depending on the severity, the treatment is usually removal of the suture and oral antibiotics.  it is possible that no other treatment will be provided, but just to be sure, you should see your plastic surgeon. 

Kelly Gallego, MD, FACS
Yuba City Plastic Surgeon

Smelly drainage fron the umbilical area after tummy tuck

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Even though the offending suture which created the drainage has been removed, a pocket of abcess may be communicating to other sutures.  If you are not healed in short order, a sinus tract xray study may be helpful to determine the extent of the pocket,  and thus be of some help to determine if additional surgery is necessary.

H. Michael Roark, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Problems with Sutures after Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question.

Unfortunately, you have experienced a problem with a stitch ( used for plication of the abdominal wall  muscles) coming to the surface. Often when this does occur the open wound area heals quickly.

Sometimes, however patients experience repeated episodes of wound problems. In these cases it may be necessary to remove all of the offending sutures. Hopefully, you are not one of these patients.

I would suggest continued follow-up with your plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Drainage after tummy tuck

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You most likely have an infected permanent suture.  Many surgeons have stopped using permanent stitches for this very reason.  It will most likely require removal.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Please see your plastic surgeon for further evaluation

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You will be fine. The infection was caused by the permanent suture that were used to close the abdominal muscle separation. Please see your plastic surgeon to make sure that you heal properly. 

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Answer to question regarding tummy tuck and umbilical drainage hernias

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During a tummy tuck the abdominal muscles are often tightened or "plicated" with many sutures.  The sutures used for this procedure are often non-resorbable or permanent.  These sutures can sometimes become colonized with bacteria and then become infected.  Several sutures are usually placed so you cannot be sure further infections will not occur.  I would recommend that you go in for an evaluation with your surgeon to be sure that everything is ok.  While it is possible that you removed all of the foreign body (the suture), you should be evaluated nonetheless.  Good luck.

Eric T. Emerson, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Drainage from naval

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This was a non-absorbable suture that simply festered until it came out. I would guess that the drainage will stop and everything will heal over the next 1-2 weeks. If drainage continues, or if the area begins to look more red than you should return to your surgeon because there could be more sutures that might have gotten infected.

Tummy tuck complications

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It is a little concerning that you have had an ongoing problem for the last five years. As others have pointed out, the green suture was probably a permanent suture used to help sew the muscles back together. In a best case scenario, this will cause your infections to cease. However, since this has been an ongoing problem, the other permanent sutures may be colonized with bacteria. This may be difficult to correct without removing all of the infected/colonized suture material. You should see your plastic surgeon to discuss these issues. You may also want to speak to another local board certified plastic surgeon just to get another opinion.

David Yan, MD, FACS
Venice Plastic Surgeon

Suture extrusion should fix the problem

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Congratulations on fixing your problem. Unfortunately you surgeon may have used more than one segment of suture. If this indeed was all of the suture then you problem will be done. If you fester back up again, then this area will need to be explored.Sorry you had to deal with 5 years of this problem. I hope its behind you.

Charles Virden, MD
Reno Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 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.