Drainless Tummy Tuck ripping/swelling, did I pop stitches or scar tissue? How long does it take to see swelling relief?(photos)

3 months post op, a week ago at yoga, I felt a ripping sensation during a small backbending motion (Cobra). The next day I began to swell. I saw my doc on Friday and he wasn't concerned. He said I possibly popped quilting stitches, but the midline plication was intact. I trust him, but I'm worried that I've permanently damaged something. My swelling was all but gone. If I did pop stitches or scar tissue, how long does it take to see swelling relief? Also, what is the likelihood that I'd need another operation?

Doctor Answers 4

Too much too soon

You should treat this like your healing is starting over.  If you push too hard too early it will make things worse.  You should be wearing compression as well.

Post-Op Healing From Tummy Tuck

Swelling can persist for several months and will gradually improve and will look better at three months, six months, and even one year. It may take several months for a tummy tuck patient’s scars to soften, for sensation to return, and for relaxing of the tight sensation in the abdomen. In the case of extensive surgery, abdominoplasty recovery can be uncomfortable and may take longer. Scars may stay red, become thick or widen. It can take 12-18 months for the scars to settle. These can be improved with topical treatments such as BioCorneum, Scar Guard, Scar Fade and Mederma. Redness can be improved with laser treatments and the scars can be kept narrow with products such as Embrace.  On occasion, keloids or hypertrophic scars can develop and will need treatment including Kenalog, 5FU and laser.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Swelling late after surgery

Thanks for your inquiry, you have a good relationship with your plastic surgeon and you should let him comment on a recovery timetable.  Also ascertain what activities restrictions he recommends. Good Luck.

Popping

You may have popped some sutures.  Your surgeon would know based on their physical exam if the plication is still intact.  If you did pop some sutures, it could stir up some new swelling that may takes weeks to resolve.  Overall, at 3 months out, you still may have swelling from your original surgery.  If you are happy with the result, you dont need more surgery.

Tyler C. Street, MD
Napa Plastic Surgeon

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.