Tummy tuck 4 months ago. Fat pad remains. Any suggestions? (photos)

Fat necrosis occurred under the tummy button and became the source of a final drain. The necrosis was stitched in order to heal. Now left with a fat pad appx 1/2 inch thick by 5 1/2 inch dia which I electric massage morning and night in the hope this will help soften and dissolve it. 1 How long will this fat lump take to be resolved by body absorption. 2 Should the answer to 1 be maybe never what is the plan B

Doctor Answers 7

Full tummy tuck revision likely necessary

Thank you for your question and photographs. I'm sorry that you have not had a good experience or outcome from your surgery.  I think that it is possible to get a good result in the future with a full revision of the procedure.  If you have hardness from fat necrosis, it can take up to a year and sometimes longer for the area to soften to the point where a revision is possible.  I know of no good evidence that lymphatic massage does anything to improve the result of a tummy tuck.  Unfortunately, you need to be patient and let everything heal. Then I suggest that you get a second opinion from an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon.  In preparation for a future surgery, try to lose the extra weight to provide your next surgeon with more extra skin to work with.


Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Tummy tuck 4 months ago. Fat pad remains. Any suggestions?

Thank you for your question and photographs and I am sorry to hear of your necrosis issues.  Without a series of photographs before surgery it is difficult to offer definite advice but it appears that you will most likely require a full revision of your incision site and perhaps of your tummy tuck.  You still appear to have significant stomach muscle laxity and extra skin that would benefit from tightening.  Voice your concerns to your surgeon, they are in the best position to help you.  

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Consider revisionary surgery

It is always disappointing when tummy tuck incisions come apart.  I would get on with your life and be patient.  It will take 6-12 months, no matter what you do... before you would be a candidate for surgical revision of this scar.  Things need to get soft and supple - to be settled before any further surgery can be done to help improve your contour.  Hopefully you have a good working relationship with your surgeon to help you reach your final goal.

Wound Healing Issues

Thank you for your question and photo.  Based on your photos, it appears that you may have had a panniculectomy and not a full tummy tuck. This is a functional operation that is used to remove the hanging excess skin and fat below the belly button to improve hygiene and function.   It is not a cosmetic procedure and is usually done in higher risk patients such as those with a high BMI or at risk for wound issues.  Unfortunately, this appears to have been the situation in your case.  It is good news that you have healed up with what sounds like appropriate management.  At some point in the future, If you would like to improve the appearance, you will need some revisionary surgery.  Best wishes on your recovery.

Tummy tuck 4 months ago. Fat pad remains. Any suggestions?

This looks very unusual and does not appear to be a tummy tuck result. Without knowing more information and seeing the "before" pictures, it is hard to comment on this. However, it may be possible to fix this with a revision tummy tuck. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

London guy

Dear London guy-

I believe you would be best served by following up with your plastic surgeon...
For a defect as substantial as this you would most likely benefit from excising and revising the entire lower abdominal scar.  I am not sure how much benefit massage will have here.

Best with your healing-

Warm regards,
Dr Quinton Chivers

4 months post op. some advices:

Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us.
At this point (4months post-po) the swelling have to be minimal.
To reduce it, I recommend you perform daily lymphatic drainage massage therapy over the abdomen and wear a postoperative girdle from thigh to the breasts.
If after six months post-op, I recommend you send us your photos again, to give you more information about how we can solve this problem.
Kind regards,
Dr. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.-

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 178 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.