Belly Button, is it healing after Tummy Tuck? (photos)

So i had a tummy tuck 2 week and 4 days ago.. My belly button went from looking decent considering surgery.. To this.. Spoke to my physician 10 days after surgery and he told me to clean it with peroxide and neosporin 2 x Q daily. Now ive been doing that.. And it seem to be getting worse.. My sister freaking out saying the white tissue is dead.. And i should get a second opinion. So here i am.. Fyi.. I also scheduled an appointment with my primary care physician..

Doctor Answers 9

Belly Button healing after Tummy Tuck

Thank you for your question and the photo.  Although I would need to see you personally to be certain, it looks to me as if the belly button is alive, but that there is some separation between the belly button itself and the surrounding skin.

While I am not your doctor, and you certainly should speak with your plastic surgeon to get advice for managing this, I would say:

1) Unless your sister is at least a surgeon, if not a plastic surgeon, just because she is freaking out doesn't mean you should.  

2) From the photograph, it looks to me as if the white material you see between the skin edges is protein and exudate, not tissue (dead or otherwise).  The belly button itself is pink, and so is not dead.

3) I doubt this is primarily a blood supply issue, and most likely reflects the tension from the tightening you had (in other words, a good thing).

4) I believe that this is a common occurrence, and most likely will resolve, over time, regardless of how you treat it.

5) Hydrogen peroxide may help you clean out some of the exudate.  It bubbles due to exposure to an enzyme in your blood, which always makes people feel good about using it but doesn't actually indicate "bacteria being killed" or any other therapeutic effect.

6) Neosporin may be helpful on the open areas, but I would avoid putting it on the skin, as it often causes local reactions and pinkness.

7) While it never hurts to see your primary care doctor, I would say that my experience is that, unless they routinely do this type of surgery, they likely have not seen this problem, and how it responds to management.  In order to be careful and not miss anything, they often seriously overtreat post-surgical problems.  I have also seen them freak out unnecessarily.  See #1 above.

8) It never hurts to get a second opinion, but it should be from someone who has a lot of experience doing this type of surgery.  See #1 above.  If you are still worried after speaking with your surgeon, they will probably be happy to help you arrange a second opinion with a qualified plastic surgeon.

9) None of the above is to say that other problems may not occur, now or in the future.  I cannot provide advice for your specific situation.  You should contact your surgeon for specific advice.

Now, if your plastic surgeon freaks out, you probably do have a reason to worry.

Good luck!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Belly Button, is it healing after Tummy Tuck?

Though it does look kind of bad, it actually is not. You will have a delayed healing. The best thing that you can do is to remain in-constant touch with your PS
Best of luck.

Karthik Ram, MRCS, DNB
India Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Belly button healing?

Stay with your surgeon.  Another doctor will only complicate things for you.  Your belly button closure has separated from the outer skin opening that was created and there is now a gap of the "white tissue" you mention.  There is no dead tissue here.  I would follow your instructions, allow this to heal, and then a revision may be indicated and should be considered if needed.  BTW I have been in practice 19 years and this is not as uncommon as you might think.  Stay connected with your surgeon and follow their guidelines.  Hope this helps.
Dr. Ali Mosharrafa

Ali Mosharrafa, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Typical complication

Firstly, don't go to your primary care physician, who is he to take any role about a surgical case in plastic surgery? you patients sometimes lose the plot.

Second, freaking out and panic helps nothing.

Thirdly, yes, you are experiencing a well know and not uncommon complication after tummy tucks, it is a partial umbilical necrosis, nothing to make drama.

Finally, the treatment applied by your surgeon is correct; probably he will make close follow up and you MUST apply and obey any of his prescriptions, he is the ONE to rule over your postop: either if it is smooth and uneventful or more/less complicated.

Alejandro Nogueira, MD
Spain Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Tummy Tuck Post Op Care

First, stop using Neosporin, in many patients it can cause an allergic reaction making the wound red and inflamed. Second, you do look like some of the tissue has not healed well and may either need to be cleaned up by your surgeon or followed closely.

Richard J. Brown, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Belly Button, is it healing after Tummy Tuck? (photos)

    Due to the tension at the time of the closure some amount of the skin edges may become necrotic. This minimal loss of skin is being replaced with protein deposits. This is unlikely to be an infection. Treat it with peroxide and neosporin and follow up with your surgeon. 

Ron Hazani, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills General Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 289 reviews

Is it healing after Tummy Tuck?

Dear myaususie

I'm glad you are following this closely with your surgeon.
Although you are having slightly delayed wound healing issues around your belly button, you can be comforted that this is not uncommon and essentially always resolves on its own with basic wound care. The umbilical blood supply is often a little compromised in every abdominoplasty and when combined with the tension of closure, small areas of delayed healing are common. 
Be patient and follow your surgeons instructions. You bellybutton will heal well !!!

Afshin Parhiscar, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Pink belly button after tummy tuck

You appear to have an area of slough (wound separation or partial skin death) at the lower part of the wound and to a lesser extent at the 12 to 2 o'clock part of your belly button. This is unfortunately one of the more common problems after tummy tuck surgery and is usually related to poor blood supply to the skin and/or infection. Your skin does not look very red, so unless you have a lot of foul smelling fluid coming out of the wound, then I would assume the problem is related to poor blood supply. Your body will heal the area eventually, and you should go back to your surgeon to get advice on how to best dress the wound. 

Amira Sanki, MBBS Hons, FRACS, PhD
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Belly button after tummy tuck

Your belly button is pink but you're only two weeks post op and that's not unusual.  Some people can have reactions to neosporin, so you may just want to keep it clean and dry.  Dead or necrotic tissue is black, not white.  For reassurance , make an appointment with your Plastic Surgeon for peace of mind.  

Chad Robbins, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 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.