1 month post full Tummy Tuck - open incision hole and pus? (Photos)

I had a full tummy tuck a month ago. This weekend i noticed a smell and saw the gauze on my belly button had pus & an opening on my left hip w pus & my shirt had a yellow stain. sent these pictures to my Dr and he said they seemed okay and to put ointment and light gauze over them. Should I be keeping these 2 areas covered while I'm in the shower? Or is it okay for them to get wet as long as I fully dry before putting more ointment/gauze over it? Should I be concerned about the pus?

Doctor Answers 12

1 month post full Tummy Tuck - open incision hole and pus?

Thank you for your question. It looks to me as if you have two small areas of delayed wound healing following your tummy tuck. This should heal just fine over time. With that being said, I do believe that close follow-up with your plastic surgeon is critical to make sure that there is no bacteria associated with these wounds. If this is the case, some small antibiotic force may be warranted. However, with meticulous wound care + close follow-up with your surgeon, I would expect a full recovery and likely a great result from your operation. Best of luck!

Abdominoplasty issue

What you describe and how your incisions look suggests that this is due to stitch issues. If so, local wound care would be helpful. Best to follow your surgeons advice.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Healing after TT

Do not be concerned. This is the process of the sutures dissolving. Do as your surgeon suggests. Wash the areas in the shower with soap and water. Apply ointment and gauze for any drainage. These should heal very quickly. Best wishes. 

Incision/Scar 1 Month Post-Op

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.

If you find yourself concerned with your incisions and scars healing it would be best to visit your surgeon for an evaluation to make sure that there are no infections or other problems. Good luck.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Small area of pus

I believe you would get the best information asking these questions from your surgeon's office since every office has slightly different recommendations.  That being said, it is fine to keep it open during showering, and place some antibiotic ointment after you dry off.  This is most likely a small suture abscess as a result of your absorbable sutures dissolving or creating a small cyst that generally resolves spontaneously.  You should be concerned if the surrounding skin start developing progressive redness and warmth, which is a sign of cellulitis, a skin infection.  Or similarly, if the area starts growing into a large "pimple", from the hole closing prematurely.  This is a sign of an abscess.

Tito Vasquez, MD, FACS
Southport Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Tummy tuck -- spitting a stitch.

Thanks for your questions and the Photos.  Most surgeons use sutures under the skin that will dissolve as the body heals. In an operation like tummy tuck where so many sutures are used the body will sometimes spit a stitch, or develop a small localized infection that drains around a stich until it is fully dissolved.

The problem is common, and usually will resolve on its own. In my experience showering with them open is no issue and sometimes helpful, but you should really ask your own PS.

Best wishes.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Open incision after Tummy Tuck

This is one of the most common situations after a Tummy Tuck.  There can be several reasons.  If Surgery was combined with a Liposuction it is very frequent to have an open wound bigger than what you have now and it is absolutely normal. If this is the case it can take as much as 2 or 3 weeks to close. In this cases the PS might take the patient to surgery and remove necrotic tissue before and then in another procedure try to close the wound. Even If no Liposuction was done, there is always a possibility of delayed wound healing in some patients. If they were smokers, or they are big patients who have always delayed healing this open wound will be just part of the post op.  - Despite the open wound there is never need to use antibiotics and rarely there is an infection.  The third cause of a small whole are stiches spitting out, Contact your PS and do not be worried it is also completely normal. He or an assistant can remove the stich from inside and the wound will heal in two or three days-

Luis Pavajeau, MD
Colombia Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Dr Derby

Thank you for your question and the photo. I would check this directly with your surgeon and talk to him about wound healing. Best of luck

Derby Sang Caputo, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

1 month post full Tummy Tuck - open incision hole and pus?

It is doubtful that you have an infection.  You described a wound healing reaction to the sutures that were used, most likely.  Follow up with your plastic surgeon so that he can monitor your progress.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Open area with drainage after tummy tuck?

These areas do not look to be overly worrisome. They appear to be "spitting" dissolvable sutures. However I do recommend you contact your surgeons office and have the doctor or nurse examine these areas.

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.