I have developed a deep hole along my incision. Is this normal? (Photo)

My doctor says its normal. He had been giving me advice via email. My concern is that there's no way he can properly diagnose from a picture. His office is in ATL and I'm located in KY. I have been having drainage, no odor and it itches like crazy.

Doctor Answers 8

Is this normal

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Nope!  You have an area of necrosis or skin loss.  This happens from time to time but isn't "normal", it is a complication that needs to be treated promptly.  The final result will likely be fine but needs care to obtain clear resolution.  The most common cause in my practice is cigarette smoking.  If you smoke, STOP!

See your surgeon asap.

Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Is this normal?

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The skin along the edges of your incision is suffering from a lack of blood supply and the area of your problem is where this is most likely to occur. It will heal on its own but you need to follow your surgeon's recommendations for wound care closely. If you are a smoker you must quit immediately.

Follow up with your surgeon

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Thank you for the question.  Although these can occur from time to time, it would be best to follow up with your board-certified plastic surgeon on how to treat this open wound since we have different protocols in handling post operation treatment.  If you need to see a doctor right away, best to ask your surgeon for referrals within your area.  Best of luck, Dr. Michael Omidi.

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 122 reviews


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It is not uncommon to develop some skin loss after tummy tuck. The main treatment is cleaning up the dead skin and keep it clean. It will eventually heal in and you may need a revision of the scar in rhe future.

Deborah Sillins, MD
Cincinnati Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews


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Thank you very much for your question.

I wouldn't consider any open wound following abdominoplasty "normal".  Can it happen?  Yes, certainly.  But it's not "normal".  Your surgeon probably meant it's not uncommon.  If properly managed, the wound should heal up, and will likely just leave a scar that is a bit widened, and maybe slightly indented. The key is to have it managed properly.

I would be concerned that you have dead fat in the area that should be debrided in order to allow healthy tissue to start growing into the area.  If ATL is too far for care, ask your surgeon who you can see closer to home to manage your wound.

Best of luck!

Daniel Krochmal, MD
Chicago General Surgeon

I have developed a deep hole along my incision. Is this normal?

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Thank you for your question and photographs and I am sorry for your wound separation.  It is unclear as to the cause of the separation - broken stitching, too much tension, infection, poor blood flow - but treatment at this point will remain the same.  You need to reach out to your surgeon and ask for their recommended wound care instructions as your body will need assistance in healing from the inside-out.  They may also be able to refer you to a local plastic surgeon that can help ensure you have no further healing issues.  Hope that this helps. 

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Hole in incision

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From the photography you have included, this wound separation, probably from lack of complete blood flow, is not unheard of. The combination of historical fact  of having an abdominoplasty and the look of this photo would confirm the diagnosis. It's important now that you allow this to heal in the best possible way. As plastic surgeons we think it important to keep the  wound moist so that it will heal uneventfully. Discuss the different ways of wound care with your chosen plastic surgeon and this could certainly be done in an email or on the phone. Good luck and I hope for uneventful healing.

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

I have developed a deep hole along my incision. Is this normal?

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Wounds like this typically heal but need some care. Ask your surgeon for specific advice or see a local plastic surgeon. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 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.