Coughing at 5 Weeks?

I had a stomach virus on Monday and then caught a bad cold Tues and have been coughing ever since. I am doing everything I can to limit the coughing and today it's been significantly better. However, I'm really stressed out bc I feel like the coughing caused my insides to become so swollen. Around and above my belly button is very swollen and it feels like every time I cough someone is using my insides as a punching bag. Would I know if my muscle repair was damaged? Or is it just swollen?

Doctor Answers 5

Coughing at 5 Weeks?

Early out of tummy tuck surgery, the concern with your description would be, the potential for disruption of sutures that are holding the abdominal wall muscles together in the midline.  
In general, it would take a significant amount of pressure to “tear" the muscle repair after tummy tuck surgery. This event would likely be associated with significant discomfort. A change in your physical examination, such as increased swelling, bleeding, a new onset "bulge" would also be likely.
Generally speaking, abdominal wall muscle plication performed during tummy tuck surgery is quite secure; disruption is very unusual. You will be best off following up with your plastic surgeon who will be your best resource when it comes to accurate assessment, advice, and/or meaningful reassurance.
Best wishes.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Coughing at 5 Weeks

  I have not had a diastasis recurrence after hundreds and hundreds of tummy tucks, but logically this could happen.  If you can press on your abdomen and it still feels tight, the repair is intact.  You can always confirm this with your plastic surgeon.  At 5 weeks, a fairly strong scar should have developed as well.  A binder or pillow over the stomach can help when coughing.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Coughing after a tummy tuck will not undo the repair.

It's unfortunate to contract the virus after an operation like a tummy tuck. The coughing can be quite uncomfortable but is not dangerous to the integrity of the abdominal repair. Holding pressure against the abdomen while coughing will make it somewhat more bearable..

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Coughing after tummy tuck

You will not know if you damaged your muscle repair unless you are examined by your doc.  I would recommend that you let them know your situation as soon as possible because they may want to prescribe you some strong anti-cough medicines to help keep you comfortable and protect your repair.  Good luck.

Sacha Obaid, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 134 reviews

Coughing at 5 Weeks?

Only an exam by your surgeon is likely to determine that the muscle repair was intact. In the meantime, you might check with your primary physician about the use of a cough suppressant. Then see your surgeon when you are feeling better. For the most part the muscle repair will tolerate coughing. 

Be well, best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 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.