Does Debridement Hurt?

I had a tummy tuck along with lipo of the flanks and a transumbilical breast agumentation. I'm extremely happy with the breasts and the lipo, but have a patch of necrosis along my tummy tuck incision. It's about the size of a penny. I have read that most need to be debrided and packed. Does the debridement process hurt? I don't have much of a scab, just black smooth skin. I go in for a post-op tomorrow and I am so scared that it's going to hurt. I don't smoke and am healthy overall.

Doctor Answers 12

You should experience no pain!

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First of all, unless debridement is already scheduled, your surgeon may elect to wait and let the truly dead tissues demarcate rather than excise marginal but still-alive tissues that will recover and heal.

And, if there is no infection, he may choose to use local anesthesia and excise and re-close the wound once healthy tissue to healthy tissue can be verified (by capillary bleeding). This means no pain other than the tiny needle pokes to numb up the area. Not to mention no open wound packing, which would be used if there is sign of infection or deeper nonviable tissue. But even if this is necessary, the wound will contract and heal much better than the initial open wound would seem to indicate. And a scar revision can be done under local later!

Fortunately for you, this sounds small and should ultimately have no adverse effect on your overall cosmetic result! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Pain with debridement

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Congratulations on your surgery!  In general, debridement of non-viable tissue is not very painful because that tissue does not have any sensation.  However, it is possible that you may not need any debridement.  Good luck with your recovery!

Naveen Setty, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Wound healing problems after a tummy tuck

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Occasionally after a tummy tuck patients will have an area that is slow to heal.  This area can often times be "debrieded" or cleaned up under local anesthesia in the office.  The local anesthesia stings a little bit going in but after that the process is pretty painless.  

Debridement Hurting?

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   If there is a small area of scab and no area of infection, debridement may not be worth it.  If debridement is necessary there should be no pain involved because the tissue is dead.

Pain from debridement?

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Sorry to hear that you have a small area of necrosis.  Fortunately, debridement is usually not painful because the abdomen is usually numb after surgery, and truly dead or necrotic tissue is also usually numb.  Your surgeon may also use local anesthetic to numb the area if you have any residual sensation.  Good luck!

Anureet K. Bajaj, MD
Oklahoma City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Worried about pain.

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Generally speaking, debridement is not painful. Usually that part of the abdomen is numb for about 6 months after tummy tuck surgery and the scab is insensate in most patients, as well. It sounds like the area is pretty small being a penny in size and that is also very good. Keep your PS updated about your concerns and best of luck! Dr. Aldo.

Aldo Guerra, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 215 reviews

Is debridement of necrotic tissue painful?

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The necrotic or dead tissue that will be removed has no feeling. Normally debridement of this tissue is painless

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 133 reviews

Discuss pain management prior to debridement to relieve anxiety.

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Based on your history, you appear to have minimal eschar formation along your wound edges. In many cases, eschar can be used as a biologic dressing. Under these circumstances, the eschar is allowed to lift off on its own as the wound beneath heals.
When larger areas of skin necrosis are present, wound debridement is usually necessary.Since the tissue is non-viable, it doesn’t have sensation.When debridement is performed, the procedure is well tolerated with minimal pain and discomfort.
If you’re anxious about this procedure, it should be thoroughly discussed with your surgeon.In rare cases, topical anesthetic can be used around the wound margins.

Debridement of dead skin after tummy tuck does not hurt.

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Debridement means removal of dead tissue.  Dead tissue can experience no pain since the nerves are dead.  The procedure does not hurt.

Does Debridement Hurt?

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Thank you for the question. It is unfortunate that you are experiencing a complication after your abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). Having said that you will most likely find your debridement fairly painless as the anterior abdominal skin has been denervated fom the original procedure and therefore insensate.

Best of luck with your revision.

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.