Been on 3 different antibiotics, nothing is working. It smells, what is going on with my incision? (photo)

What should I say or do to get this some help it stinks and drains on my clothes need help going crazy legs hurt had ultrasound on them said no clots and infection was causing the problems been on cipro and doxycline and now keflex. My PS just said it will get better keep clean been e.r four times and they want to keep me but after talking to PS send me home to see him following day and he does nothing. I hate my PS he does not listen. 

Doctor Answers 7

Smelly incision after tummy tuck

Thank you for asking about your tummy tuck.

  • I am sorry your recovery is so stressful.
  • You appear to have separation of the incision with a little dead tissue that is causing the smell.
  • Unfortunately most insurance won't keep patients in hospital for this kind of problem any more.
  • See if you can work with your surgeon with a weekly visit to trim any dead tissue and make sure things are improving.
  • If not, ask for a referral to a wound clinic instead.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Delayed Healing/Wound Care


I'm sorry to hear about your problem. The photos are not very clear but necrotic/dead tissue seems to be present and will have to be removed for healing to take place. This, rather than infection, could be why it smells bad. You need expert, consistent wound care and possibly revision surgery to re-close. I recommend that you insist on specialised wound care to address this or see another board certified Plastic Surgeon for a second opinion. Wounds must be assessed in person for accurate feedback,

All the best

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Wound healing issues

Thank you for your question. look like wound separated. You need good local wound care, by removing necrotic tissue and dressing changes and antibiotics. Please follow closely with your PS

Ven Erella, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Wound healing issues

This looks like an abdominoplasty incision but I can't tell for sure. It loks like the wound has separated and there is some delayed healing. There is a difference between an open wound and an infected wound. Most times antibiotics are not necessary. Good local wound care which can include cutting away dead fat, soap and water, and dressing changes will help the wound close. Many times I use Dakins solution as this removes the smell and decreases the bacteria count. Other factors that can delay healing are smoking(any nicotine is bad) and diabetes. You need to make sure you body is in top form to heal. This should heal over time.

Eric Weiss MD

Eric Weiss, MD, FACS
Orange Park Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Been on 3 different antibiotics, nothing is working. It smells, what is going on with my incision?

Thank you for sharing your question and photographs and I am sorry that you are having these recovery issues.  Whether due to tension or swelling your incision site has separated and shows some tissue loss from the lower abdomen.  Unfortunately this will take weeks to months to fully heal as your body will fill in the missing tissue from the inside-out.  I would see your surgeon and discuss exact wound care recommendations - usually wet to dry dressing changes - as well as the need for removal of any devitalized tissue.  

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Been on 3 different antibiotics, nothing is working. It smells, what is going on with my incision?

Without more information and better pictures, it is hard to say what is going on, but it looks like the wounds are slow to heal. Best to be seen in person. Antibiotics are not needed if there is no infection. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

What should I Do?

Sorry to hear your having these problems. You have necrosis and soft tissue loss which is a complication which is unfortunately associated with tummy tuck surgery. This is far more common in people who smoke and/or are obese. You need professional help! You should call your surgeon and be re-evaluated for your complaints. You may even need to have your wound surgically treated. If you feel that your plastic surgeon is not listening then  get a second opinion from a board certified plastic surgeon or go to a wound care center and/or a local hospital and see another physician. Best wishes, 


Aldo Guerra, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 202 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.