Hyperemia 1 Week After Tummy Tuck- Could I Reoccur?

I had a tummy tuck 2 weeks ago. I'm 5' 9" and 138 lbs, non-smoker, mom of two kids. I am also very fit as I am a runner. About 5 days after my surgery the skin on my abdomen above the incision turned red and warm to touch. Of course I saw my surgeon and he felt that somehow the blood flow had become temporarily compromised but then recovered and became hyperemic.It is much better but still slightly red in color. Could this happen again 2 weeks out?

Doctor Answers 3

Hyperemia vs Cellulitis

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Hyperemia is the physiologic increase in blood flow to the skin by the relaxation (vasodilation) of the small vessels in the skin. 

Cellulitis is the increased blood flow to an area as a response to an infection.

As you can see the two can be very hard to differentiate sometime since both processes involve increased blood flow.  Cellulitis, however, is usually much warmer, red-er, and it is usually tender (unless the area is temporarily numb such as a tummy tuck area can be).  Personally, I would treat with antibiotics just to make sure it is not an infection as a blood flow issue at 2 weeks is a bit rare. 

All the best,

Dr Repta

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 170 reviews

Concerns about hyperemia of skin following a tummy tuck

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There are a few issues that can cause the "hyperemia". Generally if there has been improvement as you indicated, you don't smoke and are not exposed to it, you follow the instructions of your plastic surgeon, etc. you will probably be at an ever decreasing risk over time of this becoming a significant clinical issue. The real concern is for loss or death of the tissue which can result in delayed healing issues and large/wide scars. Given the information that you provided (and without a photo), it appears that your risk for this occurring is diminishing.

Hyperemia after Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question.

Yes “hyperemia"  may recur several times in a few months after tummy tuck surgery. You should be evaluated frequently for signs of infection;  once this is ruled out that observation is all that is required. During the course of the tummy tuck procedure elevation of the abdominal wall flat does compromise arterial inflow and venous outflow;  it will take several months (or longer) for the  abdominal wall flap to regain a normal vascularity. During this time the color changes your experience may be related to this phenomenon of decreased venous drainage or arterial inflow.

Again, it is important to see your plastic surgeon frequently to rule out signs of infection.

I hope this helps. 

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.