Leaking from Bellybutton After Abdominoplasty, Should I be Worried?

Abdominoplasty 5 1/2 weeks ago in Mexico. Coming out of anesthesia I ripped the drain out. Replaced 4 hours later. 10 days after surgery the drain fell out and the wound healed quickly. The fluid started leaking from my bellybutton. If I leaned over the sink and massaged my stomach it would squirt out. I have been tested for infection and that is negative. It has now stopped but because my bellybutton has healed. Should I be worried that the fluid is still being produced with no place to go?

Update: Thank you very much for your replies and concerns. I'm in Las Vegas and the PS is in Tijuana so it's not too far away. I have made an appointment to see him this Friday and will post the results of that appointment.

Thanks again for the advice!

Doctor Answers 4

Leaking tummy tuck after surgery in Mexico.

I'm sorry to hear that you're in this situation and do not have easy access to your plastic surgeon.

Your issue could be as simple as a fluid collection, or more complex such as a localized infection or a suture that is draining.

If you can't see or communicate with the surgeon that did your surgery you really need to see someone where you are as soon as possible to make sure that a small problem does not become a big one.

Please go see your plastic surgeon or a another board certified surgeon in your area as soon as possible.

I hope for you that this turned out to be nothing but it is safer to be evaluated.

Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

Tummy Tuck - Leaking from Bellybutton After Abdominoplasty

All procedures are associated with the risk of certain complications, many of which are relatively minor, but you do need to be able to see your surgeon or another surgeon during the first few weeks post-op.  The situation you're in - relatively far away from your surgeon - is one that has to be considered when you're having surgery:  what will you do in the event that you have a question after you have left the area?  When I do surgery on out-of-town patients I try to anticipate that issue and, whenever possible, make arrangements ahead of time (or contingency plans). 

In your case I would advise you to contact your PS and see if he or she can recommend anyone near you.  Absent that, you should try to find someone on your own.  You may have a relatively minor issue now - some fluid still trapped inside - but it can become more significant if left untreated.  I suggest that you see your, or another, PS as soon as possible.

I hope that this helps and good luck,

Dr. E

Alan M. Engler, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Leaking from belly button after tummy tuck

If the leaking persists or if you develop an infection, you should see a local plastic surgeon in case you need antibiotics or drainage.

Draining fluid after tummy tuck

All surgical procedures carry certain risks and the possibility of certain complications.  In the ideal situation they would not occur, but unfortunately they do.  In the usual situation, when you have surgery you are usually able to return to your plastic surgeon to have a similar issue attended to and treated.  When surgery at a distance from where you live is contemplated this is one aspect of the decision making process that seems to incompletely considered.  This is especially true I find when patients consider having surgery outside of the United States which is done usually to save money, the problem being you do not have access to your physician when you leave.  I would say that most plastic surgeons in your area or any area for that matter are not anxious to see a patient with a problem from another surgeon.  Nevertheless, you should try to see a local plastic surgeon to diagnose the problem and treat it.

The problem you described may be a seroma, a fluid collection under the skin that the drain usually treats. It may represent a localized infection or reaction to a buried stitch in the region of the umbilicus.  Judging by your description of the amount of fluid I suspect it represents a seroma or fluid collection which may recur.

Thank you for your question and good luck.

Ralph R. Garramone, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 59 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.