3.5 weeks post op Tummy Tuck, does this look normal? (photos)

My wife had a tummy tuck performed roughly 3.5 weeks ago along with breast lift. Tummy tuck incision from post op had severe bruising right below her newly position belly button. this area then turned black and felt like leather. Now issues are getting worse with discharge and a hole is getting bigger. This does have a small odor and she is changing the dressings 3x daily.

Doctor Answers 15

Necrosis after your Tummy Tuck

Your wife has suffered a serious complication after her tummy tuck. The skin has died and this needs to be dealt with expeditiously. The areas of necrosis need to be surgically debrided and then she will require extensive wound care. She will also likely need revision surgeries to deal with the scarring that will result.  I am not sure why this has progressed so far without your surgeon dealing with it. I assume that there are 3 possibilities - she had the surgery in another country and has not had any in person follow-up OR she had the surgery here and never followed up with her surgeon OR had the surgery here and her surgeon failed to recognize the severity of what is going on.  Neither of these scenerios is good. 

Skin necrosis

Thank you for your pictures. Unfortunately, this is total loss of skin in that area. The area needs to be completely cleaned down to healthy tissue and have a local wound care to allow for healing.

Abnormal skin

Based on the photos it appears the skin which is black has died. Skin necrosis after a tummy tuck is a risk. Smoking is one of the most common things that increase this complication. This skin will need to be removed and the area allowed to heal.This will involve dressing changes and possibly a wound vac. I would highly recommend your wife see her operative surgeon.

Skin necrosis after a tummy tuck - now wound care is needed

Skin necrosis after a tummy tuck - now wound care is needed.  Unfortunately this is one of the possible complications.  Now that this happened, your surgeon will go on to debride/clean the area and arrange for wound care.  Once it is all well healed, you'll likely need a revision to improve the appearance of this area.

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 427 reviews

Tummy tuck question



From the images it appears that there is some skin loss on the right lower abdomen.  This can occur as a known complication after tummy tuck.  I suggest that you take your wife back to the surgeon for wound care.  If there are any systemic signs of infection (fever, nausea and vomiting) then the problem should be treated aggressively.  The area of concern appears to be limited and conservative care may solve the problem.  One treatment for this problem after cleaning the wound is the VAC (vacuum assisted closure, negative pressure wound therapy) device, which can be done on an outpatient basis.  Hope this helps.

Disclaimer: The most accurate medical advice requires a complete history and physical with a personal consultation. This is rendered only as general information and is not medical advice. Medical advice can only be obtained by personal contact with a qualified professional. This response does not establish a physician patient relationship.

Stephen M. Herring, MD, DDS
Fayetteville Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Black skin after tummy tuck

Thanks for writing,

I agree with my peers, these areas will need to be surgically removed. Afterwards it will require dressing changes and over time this will heal from the inside out. This is one of the known complication after tummy tuck and is commonly associated with cigarette smoking, if by chance you do smoke it would be in your best interest to stop now. That also goes for second hand smoke. Stick with your surgeon, he /she will be happy to help you.

I hope this helped

Stephen M. Davis, MD, FACS
Green Hills Plastic Surgery

Necrotic skin post tummy tuck

The black skin is not normal after an abdominoplasty, but it is one of the potential complications.  It is more commonly found in smoker.  The necrotic skin (black areas) as well as any fat that is non viable needs to be removed.  There will be a long period of dressing changes as the wound heals from bottom up.  Many months later, she may require a revision surgery to improve the scar.  Has her surgeon evaluated the wound recently???  You should have the Plastic Surgeon re-evaluate and start appropriate treatment.

Best of luck.

Dr. T

Douglas Taranow, DO, FACOS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Tummy Tuck Complication

See your surgeon as soon as possible. The necrotic (black) tissue needs to be debrided and excised. The subcutaneous tissue may also need to be debrided and cleaned. The wound will need to heal from inside out with dressing changes and close follow up.

George C. Peck, Jr, MD
West Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Wound post TT

It is not normal healing but does occur, more frequently in smokers. The black is dead skin, and some of the fat under it, may die as well and need to be cleaned up by the surgeon. She may need wound care with other than saline, and may need antibiotics, but with close follow up by your surgeon and good care by you both at home, and it will heal. A scar revision may be necessary in the future. This will take time unfortunately. 

Rick Rosen, MD
Norwalk Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

3.5 weeks post op Tummy Tuck, does this look normal

Thanks for your question. You have skin and fat necrosis.  You need to see your Plastic Surgeon today for his recommendation of your wounds. If she is a smoker, she must discontinue all nicotine products. Best wishes on her healing and recovery.  This will take time and a possibly additional surgery to improve the appearance. Best Wishes.

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.