Is Macerated Tissue in Belly Button Area Normal for Healing?

I and almost three weeks postop from full TT. I started having clear drainage about 4 days ago, I went to my PS on day 3 and he removed the sutures from my belly button and told me to pack it with gauze twice a day. Today the drainage was foul smelling and worse I went back to my PS and asked was it infected he said no but put me on 2 antibotics because he said it was macerated and to change the dressing 4 times a day. Should I seek and second opinion?

Doctor Answers 6

Drainage from the the belly bottom after tommy tuck.

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After abdominoplasty, part of the belly bottom could be lost because of lack of blood supply. If this happens it will heal in a few weeks with good wound care. You can also have a form of skin infection due to bacteria or fungus or simple irritation. When you trust your surgeon to operate on you, you have to also trust him to take care of any complication. Surgery is a journey that you take with your surgeon which starts in the operating room and ends when you are totally healed. This period could be a week or months. 

Belly Button problems after Tummy Tuck

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The blood supply around the belly button can be compromised during a tummy tuck especially if one has had prior surgery with incisions near it.  Sometimes during the early postoperative healing, it can be difficult to tell if the belly button will make it or not.  If you have confidence in your plastic surgeon, give him/her the time to get this taken care of.  Usually local wound care and antibiotics clear this up.

Albert Dabbah, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon

Belly Button Skin Breakdown after Tummy Tuck

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The skin of the belly button can slough off, much like a sunburn after a tummy tuck.  If the belly button is pink, does not have black areas. or open edges that drain cloudy fluid, it usually heals up fine. If it smells, you may need to change the dressing and wash it more frequently.  If odor persist with frequent dressing changes, or a ring of redness develops around the belly button this may indicate a possible abscess. Abscesses should be opened and drained.

Management of wounds is what Plastic Surgeons are trained to do. This is one reason why you should seek out a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon when having this type of operation.

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Second opinion....

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Hopefully you chose well when you originally chose your surgeon. It is not easy to get a second opinion when you are a few days from surgery with another surgeon. When things are not going perfectly post-op, you need continued care with a good surgeon to get you back into line.


If your surgeon is good, you should stay with him. Hopefully you figured that out before you permitted him to operate.



Best Regards,


John Di Saia

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

Delayed belly button wound healing can be relatively common after tummy tuck

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It sounds as though you are experiencing some superficial sloughing of the belly button skin. This can happen as the blood supply to the belly button is compromised during a tummy tuck. Your plastic surgeon is handling this problem appropriately by administering aggressive local wound care and antibiotics as a precaution. There's no harm in seeing another plastic surgeon, but rest assured, your plastic surgeon seems to be handling the situation appropriately.

All the best - Sam Jejurikar

Is Macerated Tissue in Belly Button Area Normal for Healing?

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Sounds as if your chosen surgeon is providing excellent care. But it is a trust factor that you must deal with. If you are so very concerned I see no issue obtaining a paid second opinion. To give you peace of mind. 

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.