Can Vomiting Tear Abdominal Muscle Sutures?

I had a mini tummy tuck and liposuction, and 2-3 wks post-op, I became ill, where I was vomiting for a few days. I am 4 weeks post-op, and I remain swollen and tender in the abdominal area. Is it possible that I tore a stitch? How can I tell if I did and how would the doctor be able to see?

Doctor Answers 6

Tummy Tuck and Breaking "Muscle Repair”?

Thank you for the question.

Based on your description, I do not believe that any harm has been done. However, your plastic surgeon will be able to reassure you more after direct examination. During this examination a localized “bulge"  of the abdominal wall ( with you in the flexed/bent  position or straining/coughing)  may indicate that muscle separation has occurred.

Generally however the muscle plication performed is quite secure  and typically does not come apart with vomiting episodes.

I hope this helps.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Vomiting and muscle tear

If you were having violent bouts of vomiting after a mini tummy tuck, it was possible but rare to have torn your muscle repair.  Ask your surgeon to examine you.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Vomiting causing rupture of mini tummy tuck muscle repair

Yes, in  rare instances violent contractions or force on the rectus muscle repair can result in a disruption of the surgery which may be difficult to diagnose intially.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Torn abdomina sutures after vomiting possible, but unlikely


This question is asked not uncommonly. I have seen patients who may have stretched their repairs a bit, but I have not seen one who actually ripped it apart. Then again it would be hard to tell without going back in there (in another operation). A CT scan or MRI would be unlikely to see a rip unless it was quite large. These things are usually managed based upon the doctor's examination.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews


there are usually not many internal sutures used with mini-abdominoplasties -- only your surgeon would know how many were used and where they were placed. If you did tear a suture, it may not need repaired if the contour is nice after all of the swelling has resolved. If it needs fixed, it would be a similar operation to the one you just had. Swelling is certainly still expected 4 weeks out and I wouldn't make any plans to revise anything for at least 2 more months. Good luck!

Robert S. Houser, DO
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Post liposuction and mini tummy tuck

Vomiting after those procedures can affect the repair. Usually, in a mini-tuck, I would tighten the muscles in the middle to achieve better contouring. Depending on how the tightening is done, prolonged or severe vomitting could affect the sutures. This is best addressed with the plastic surgeon who did your procedure.

J. Vicente P. Poblete, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 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.