Belly button does not look normal and gets a red crust on it 2 weeks after Tummy Tuck? (Photo)

My bellybutton looks abnormal-there's a long white scar, which becomes surrounded by crusty red discharge for lack of better word. It's not excessive, but it's there. I'm also concerned about the whiteness below the belly button. Is this normal? I'm two weeks post surgery. Thank you!

Doctor Answers 5

Belly Button Healing After Tummy Tuck

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Hello and thank you for your question. When performing a tummy tuck under moderately high tension in order to keep the incision low, there can be stretch tension on the lower edge of the belly button.  This stretch is planned as the skin is closed but sometimes there can be some swelling at 6 0'clock that causes a superficial microscopic thinning of the skin elements that can lead to pallor or whitening.  Clean and manage your scars and belly button with close contact through your surgeon.  Let he or she know what you are thinking.  It does take months for belly button shape to mature in many cases, as the skin relaxes around the edges. If you have very loose elastic skin as occurs in patients losing a lot of weight prior to surgery or if you have that skin of type in general, it is hard to get the belly button perfectly round or oval shaped in the standing resting position. It is designed round, and inset round, but the behavior of the edges is influenced by the healing process. Be patient, do not be alarmed, but simply have the surgeon check it next time you are in. It does not appear to be something of urgent nature.  Ask about ointments and local skin care and enjoy the remainder of your recovery and slimmer abdomen. Best wishes.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Belly Button Does Not Look the Same

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Swelling can persist for several months and will gradually improve and will look better at three months, six months, and even one year. Frequently the pubic area and the scrotal and penis area for men can become very swollen and discolored during the first two weeks due to gravity as this is the lowest area for swelling to accumulate.

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.

Any questions of post-op healing would be best discussed in an appointment with your surgeon in order to have the area examined to help make sure that everything is healing well. Good luck.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Belly button healing

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Thank you for the question and photo.  There may be an incision or suture healing issue associated with your belly button.  Exactly what can be occurring is hard to know from the photo alone and must be examined in person, preferably by your plastic surgeon who knows what transpired during surgery.

Good luck with the remainder of your tummy tuck recovery.

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Belly button

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Creating a n aesthetically pleasing belly button is an art and science; it looks like you may have not been given the optimum belly button shape; please see link below for more discussion.

Arian Mowlavi, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Belly button?

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Thanks for sharing. It looks like you're having some wound delay issues around your belly button which may explain the drainage. The white may also be related to the area remaining wet from the drainage or a sign of tightness around your belly button. An examination by your plastic surgeon should be able to give you the appropriate diagnosis and, importantly, the treatment to get you to heal. Best wishes, Dr. ALDO :)

Aldo Guerra, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 215 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.