Will my Cough Compromise my Results?

I had a tummy tuck nearly 3 weeks ago and have developed a bad cough and cold. I'm trying my hardest not to cough but I'm worried I may have compromised my muscle repair. I have been more sore around the abs but haven't experienced any unusual pain. I'm more swollen than before but not excessively and I have been more active. How can I tell if I caused damage? Would I be able to feel it? There is no notice bulge. It just looks swollen in both the upper and lower abdomen so hard to tell.

Doctor Answers 11

Will my Cough Compromise my Results?

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Early out of tummy tuck surgery, the concern with your description would be, the potential for disruption of sutures that are holding the abdominal wall muscles together in the midline. If enough disruption occurs, the result could be separation of the abdominal wall muscles and localized or complete, abdominal wall laxity ( similar to preoperative situation).
In general, it would take a significant amount of pressure to “tear" the muscle repair after tummy tuck surgery. This event would likely be associated with significant discomfort. A change in your physical examination, such as increased swelling, bleeding, a new onset "bulge" would also be likely.
Generally speaking, abdominal wall muscle plication performed during tummy tuck surgery is quite secure; disruption is very unusual. You will be best off following up with your plastic surgeon who will be your best resource when it comes to accurate assessment, advice, and/or meaningful reassurance.
Best wishes.

Cough Compromising Tummy Tuck Results at 3 Weeks

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     Although a cough could potentially compromise the muscle plication, cough is sometimes unavoidable.  If there are no bulges you are likely fine.  Followup with your plastic surgeon.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Coughing after Tummy Tuck

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Not only to protect your muscle repair, but also to keep yourself comfortable, I would recommend calling your surgeon and asking for a cough suppressant prescription.  A quick exam by your surgeon will tell whether or not you have damaged any of the repair.  

Coughing and tummy tuck

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Coughing vigorously can be a problem. Wearing an abdominal binder and sometimes holding a pillow across the abdominal area and pushing inward a bit while coughing can help minimize the risks.  You should probably have the cough checked out.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Will my Cough Compromise my Results?

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Although forceful coughing is not helpful when recovering from a tummy tuck it usually does not rip the sutures apart.  It is a good idea to wear your garment and as mentioned hold your abdomen when coughing or sneezing.

Thomas Guillot, MD
Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon

Coughing after a tummy tuck

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Strong persistent coughing after a tummy tuck can potentially pull apart the muscle repair.  I instruct my patients to wear the abdominal binder we provide them, and to push on their stomach/hold it when coughing, sneezing, or straining.

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 521 reviews

Will my Cough Compromise my Results

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It is possible but not likely. Your surgeon may be able to tell on examination, but your probably would not in most circumstances. you might want to ask your physician about cough suppressants. Thanks, all the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Muscle Repair Likely Intact

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Sorry to hear  that you are not feeling well.  Fortunately your muscle repair is most likely safe from your coughing. Most surgeons perform the repair in two layers just to be on the safe side.   It would be very difficult for you to disrupt the repair.  Try to concentrate on getting better.

Bulge after tummy tuck with coughing

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It may be difficult to tell if you did any damage to the repair at this point in time.  Coughing can certainly disrupt the repair and this is concerning.  Contact your doctor.  Get a cough suppressant.  He can call in an Rx cough suppressant, use your binder.

Good luck.


Coughing after a Tummy Tuck

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Based on the information provided, you should follow up with your plastic surgeon for an examination. Chances are you are ok but it better to be safe than sorry.

Leo Lapuerta, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 48 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.