Drainage Through Tummy Tuck Incision, Normal? (photo)

Hi I had a tummy tuck and pubic contouring done on Feb. 24th 2012 and my incision ended up getting infected. My Dr. put me on a stronger antibiotic which seems to be working. He also took my drains out 8 days after surgery. Now my incision is draining at the pubic line. I noticed it leaks more after laying down like when i wake up in the morning or take a nap. The leaking will subside after i get up and start being more active. Should i be worried? is this normal? what should i do?

Doctor Answers 4

Incision Drainage

Your problem is not uncommon. I would recommend local wound care, anti-biotics if there is and evidence of local infection, compression garments and possibly a fluid reduction pill if you are otherwise healthy. If you are currently smoking that will certainly delay your healing!! 

If your doctors instructions are followed you will undoubtably heal and have an excellent result. Do not worry about your scar, if it is not perfect I am sure that your surgeon would be able to correct any issues

Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Drainage of from tummy tuck incision

Hello LinM83,

Your description is classic for an accumulation of fluid under your abdominal skin known as a seroma.  It is not uncommon, especially if you have had an infection in that region, but it can be a nuisance. You need to tell your doctor your symptoms, and he should be able to confirm the diagnosis by gently pushing on your belly skin and looking for a 'wave'.  It will require a needle and syringe to drain the fluid completely, but don't worry, your sensation is diminished in that area.

Best of luck, I am sure you will be fine.

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Tummy Tuck Incision and Drainage Normal?

Thank you for the question and picture.

Your incision line does appear to be healing well; the major concern is the potential for ongoing infection and/or underlying seroma. I'm glad that you are following up closely with your plastic surgeon who is in the best position to diagnose and/or treat any complication.

Again, overall the appearance of incision line is not too concerning at this point in your recovery; do however continue to follow-up with your plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Drainage through tummy incision

Based on your picture, it appears your incision is a bit inflammed.  But I don't see any obvious signs of infection.  So this inflammation should resolve soon.  So I am glad your are following your plastic surgeon's instructions with antibiotic therapy.  I am however a bit concerned with the drainage.  This could be signs of a fluid collection aka seroma.  Please keep your compression garments on and continue following up closely with your plastic surgeon.

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 210 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.