I Think I Have a Hernia in my Upper Stomach After Tummy Tuck, How Can I Tell? Also Have An Infection.(photo)

Hello, I had a tummy tuck 8 months ago. 2 weeks later I got a large infection in the middle of my skin (Not where an incision was) it was about 1 inch around below my belly button, it scabbed over many times with puss etc. I was put on antibiotics, now have a scar and large lump under I'm assuming is scar tissue. That is bad enough, but my upper stomach is still sticking out very strangely and hurts, it has been out since the surgery, I think a hernia. Did my surgeon mess up or am I a lemon? :)

Doctor Answers 4

Bad surgery or am I a lemon?

Every situation is so different.  It is improper to comment without complete information, including thorough history and personal physical examination.  We do so many of these procedures, and the vast majority go well with satisfactory, good, or excellent results.  Sometimes however, for whatever reason, somebody doesn't do well, and suffers unpredicted difficult complications, with a poor outcome, and possibly need for more surgery to repair, revise, restore, and/or reconstruct.  See your surgeon frequently and implore he or she to develop with you a plan to achieve a result you are happy with, if this is possible. 

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Infection and possible hernia after tummy tuck?

I'm glad to hear you have healed from your early post-op infection, which unfortunately can occur even with the most skilled surgeon and most careful or compliant patient. If your surgery was performed by an experienced ABPS-certified plastic surgeon, it is truly doubtful that a procedural error was made, but any surgeon and patient can have an infection mar otherwise good work. I hope you did not smoke after surgery (causing circulation problems that can increase the risk of dead skin, fat, and thereby infection) or suffer contamination of your not-yet-healed tummy tuck from exposure to bad bacteria (such as from a pet cat).

But now you are 8 months down the road, the infection has healed, and you have a painful bulge in your upper abdomen. This could be a hernia, and pain may indicate a potentially serious concern. Go see your plastic surgeon, another ABPS-certified plastic surgeon, or an American Board of Surgery-certified General surgeon for proper evaluation and treatment of this concern. You are not a lemon, but you could have something that needs attention here. Good luck and best wishes!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Complications Associated with Tummy Tuck

Sorry to hear about your complications, but glad everything has healed. Yes, scar tissue can build up where an infection was, but also it can weaken the underlying tissues and possibly result in a hernia.  I would recommend you seeing your plastic surgeon for an evaluation and possibly a general surgeon if a hernia is suspected. This is something that would require specialized treatment to address if found. Sometimes a CT scan is needed to determine what is happening beneath the skin and scar tissue. 

Best of luck,

Vincent Marin, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Vincent P. Marin, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Complications after Tummy Tuck?

I'm sorry to hear about the complications you have experienced after tummy tuck surgery.

Unfortunately, it is hard to know exactly what is going on based on the pictures and/or your description. Assuming you are working with a board-certified plastic surgeon,  I would suggest continued follow-up with your plastic surgeon for management. If you are still concerned a second opinion might be warranted.

Best wishes.

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