I Had a Tummy Tuck 3 Weeks Ago and Part of my Incision Looks Really Red and Its Open at Least a 1/2in Open? (photo)

I had a tummy tuck 3 weeks ago tomorrow and I'm a little freaked out because part of my incision is open, burning, red and inflamed. I called my doctors office and the doctor said to call back in the morning for an appointment. But again I'm freaking out because it definitely doesn't look like the rest of my incision. Should I go to the hospital or is it okay to wait until the morning? Also is my SeaCat going to be awful now? I included pictures. Please help!

Doctor Answers 9

I Had a Tummy Tuck 3 Weeks Ago and Part of my Incision Looks Really Red and Its Open at Least a 1/2in Open?

It is very important that you follow up with your board-certified plastic surgeon in the morning. It does not look like a medical emergency. If you are not having fevers over 101.5 or severe nausea and vomiting, I do not think you need to go to the emergency room. What I believe you have is mild to moderate wound breakdown. This can be caused by a variety of reasons. Your board-certified plastic surgeon should examine you. Typically this can be treated with ointment and several dressing changes. When it heals the resulting scar should not be that bad. If after six months the scar still troubles you, I would suggest scar revision under local anesthesia in the office. However, I doubt you will need scar revision. Good luck. Sincerely, Dr. Katzen

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 206 reviews

Stitch Problems can be common post Tummy-tuck - especially with vicryl stitches

Thank you for your question.  You do need to see your surgeon and tomorrow will be fine.  It is likely a stitch issue but your surgeon will make sure it is not a deep infection.  A swab might be performed for culture.  Most likely, the vicryl (deep dissolving sutures) and occasionally the PDS-type of sutures can create an excessive inflammation and a small wound opening (dehiscence).  Topical treatment will likely be initiated.  Often, the 'dissolving' stitches (they take 8-12 weeks on average to dissolve) can be seen and could be removed by the surgeon/nurse.  That often settles the inflammation.  Then one has to wait for the full healing to occur.  A scar revision, under local anesthesia, might be required as the opened areas tend to heal wider.  Good luck! Dr. Marc DuPere, Toronto Plastic Surgeon.

Marc DuPéré, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Tummy tuck wound separation

You should be seen by your plastic surgeon to either rule out or begin to treat an infection. You may need antibiotics and topical medication. It is unlikely that this happened overnight so I hope you have been following up with your doctor. See him ASAP!

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

No Need to Freak Out

It appears that you do have some wound separation.  This can be managed in the office by your PS.  It may require some topical medications or special medicated gauze.  Time will heal this wound.

Dr. ES

Wound Problems at 3 Weeks after Tummy Tuck

     Redness around an incision can represent infection.  If the area is red and spreading and warm to the touch, antibiotics may be prudent.  If it is just inflammation and a little wound separation, this will likely heal without adverse cosmetic consequences.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

Where is your surgeon after tummy tuck?


It looks like you may have a problem, but cannot give specific advice from picture. See your plastic surgeon right away.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

To ER or not to ER

Hello and thanks for the questions and photos.  One way to determine if the ER is necessary is the time it took to see this develop.  If it happened overnight, or within hours, I would be prudent to seek medical attention quicker than later, as it could be an agressive infection.  If this has been smoldering for a few days, it can more than likely wait.  But this is your body, and being safer than sorry should always be the determinig factor.  Hope this helps and best of luck.  Robert Kratschmer, MD

Robert Kratschmer, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Incision Looks Really Red and It's Open

This does not require an ER visit. The ER doc will undoubtedly put on a dressing and tell you to see your surgeon in the morning. Although the wound healing in this part of the incision may be delayed compared to the rest, the final outcome will probably not be compromised.

Best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

I Had a Tummy Tuck 3 Weeks Ago and Part of my Incision Looks Really Red and Its Open at Least a 1/2in Open?

Your incision is beginning to open up but I do not think you need to go to the emergency department.  The best thing to do now would be to clean the area with some hibiclens and water and then apply a dry gauze dressing.  Make an appointment to see your surgeon in the morning. You will probably undergo some delayed healing using either a wet-to-dry dressing or a VAC system prior to reclosure of your wound.

Thomas Guillot, MD
Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 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.