Possible to Check Tummy Tuck Stitches Without Further Surgery?

It had been 7 1/2 months after Tummy Tuck, Breast Augmentation with inner/outer thigh Liposuction (May 09) and I still have a prego belly.

I'm 132 lbs, 5'2" before (heaviest after two kids c-section). The Breast Augmentation was fine, there was no change in thighs.

At my check up today, Dr says I have underlying fat around organs, which is pushing my stomach out. My options are: Surgery again check stitches or go to the gym more.

I am already going 4-5 days/wk. I interviewed 12 Dr's, all said I could expect a flat stomach, since I had good elasticity and I was not over weight.

Is it possible to confirm stitches without surgery? (Pic: 7 1/2mths)

Doctor Answers 3

Post tummy tuck questions

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First of all, I realize that all patients should visit a few doctors and find the one whom they trust to do the best for them.. But the most I have ever seen has been 5-6 docotrs, never even close to 12. So presumably you trust this plastic surgeon (please tell me you chose a real plastic surgeon Board Certified by the ABPS, not some "cosmetic surgeon" !!)

Did your tummy look flat earlier postop? If so, your muscle repair was done properly but may have loosened.

If it never looked flatter, either this is as good as it gets for you, or you do have fullness inside the abdominal cavity pushing out on the repair, or your tissues are thin and can't hold back the abdominal contents, or the repair wasn't done tight enough, or the repair broke down.

An MRI or 3DCT scan can help determine the status of the muscles.

Muscle or stitch separation after tummy tuck

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A simple physical examination with a supine head lifted positioning should tell you if the muscle repair is intact. However, a CT scan can also diagnose a muscle separation as can be seen in the video below.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Can Tummy Tuck Repair be Checked without Surgery?

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Without seeing your before pictures, it is tempting to say that your muscles were were either not tightened enough or the repair failed. However, a major muscle repair failure would would most likely NOT have been silent and be due to either severe coughing, vomiting or trauma to the belly.

If you really wanted to find out, you would probably require a MRI and have to pay out of pocket for it.

As regards "I interviewed 12 Dr's.." that is definitely the world's record of doctor reviews. If you picked this surgeon out of 12, you must trust his judgment. Ask him again if this can be made better.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

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.