I Had a Tummy Tuck 12 Weeks Ago and Breast Reconstruction, and My Body is Spitting Stitches?

My body is severely spitting the stitches, finally staring to heal in my breast but my belly button is still leaking fluid bad... How long will this last ?

Doctor Answers 4

Tummy Tuck Spitting Stitches And Leaking Fluid - Is This Common?

Subcuticular sutures are placed just below the top layer of skin in the dermis, and they are placed in an upside down fashion so that the two ends of the suture point downward instead of normal skin stitches which point upward.  These sutures are supposed to dissolve, but unfortunately not all dissolve and when the ends turn over and point upward, this is technically known as spitting.

Spitting subcuticular sutures are a nuisance, and in my practice, the patients come in and either my nurse or I will remove these sutures.  Unfortunately suture spitting is more common than most surgeons would like to believe, therefore, this situation is not unusual. 

With reference to the leakage of fluid from around your belly button, this usually indicates some level of seroma which has found a weak point around the umbilicus.  In my practice, I would sterilely place a seromacath through the small opening, and this could drain the seroma and cure the problem relatively rapidly.

Spitting Stitches Post-Operatively

Thank you for the question. It is unusual to have it manifest this far out and this extensive. In any case it may persist for months to come. The only solution is to continue to manage the sutures that spit by removing them. As for the sutures that have not spit, you must wait.

The drainage from your umbilicus (belly button) is somewhat concerning. Follow up with your plastic surgeon so that they can evaluate you as it very difficult to give accurate advise in such matters without the benefit of an in-person examination.

Sorry to hear about your troubles. I hope this helps. Good luck.

Pedro M. Soler, Jr., MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Mommy makeover - stitches

Yikes!  12 weeks -that's a long time for those issues.  See your surgeon or see another board certified plastic surgeon for a second opinion.  In my practice I do not perform tummy tucks without drains and unfortunately have seen more than a few chronic seromas from surgeons who perform their tummy tucks without drains.  Since your tummy tuck sounds like a TRAM, I would recommend an imaging study such as an ultrasound or CT scan in conjunction to a followup visit.  If it is merely a stitch issue and not an underlying problem, my recommendation would be to redo those areas and use sutures that either absorb quickly (within a month) or permanent sutures that require removal and therefore will not spit.  Best wishes!!

Stefan Mark Szczerba, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Spitting Stitches

Unfortunately when this happens as extensively as it seems to be for you, it can continue until the sutures are removed or dissolved. Depending on the suture type it can be as little as 12 weeks, but does vary patient to patient. It would be uncommon for the sutures to still be present at 6 months. 

See your surgeon about the navel area.

Thanks for your question. Sorry for the unexpected troubles. 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.