Nausea, Hardening of Stomach and Burning Pain After Tummy Tuck?

Hi, I am 2 weeks post op and I notice that after my drains were removed my stomach started growing a little in size and is now rock hard. The more I move around the harder it gets. I went to my doctor and he said that he don't feel fluid but my stomach shouldnt be hard. So he said it may be infection but he's not sure, so he put me on bacterim for 5 days. Also with the selling I had pain on the right side of my stomach but that pasty started a week after the hardness. Now I'm regretting my tt.

Doctor Answers 3

You need to follow your surgeon

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If you are having unusual hardness in your stomach after a tummy tuck, you need to have your surgeon follow you closely with frequent office visits.  Two weeks postop is still relatively short time after surgery.  It is possible that the hardness you are experiencing is just due to the tightening of the muscles and the skin from the procedure.  It would be impossible to tell without a physical examination which is best done by your surgeon.

Swelling may be due to collection of fluid, or a seroma underneath the skin and fat layer of your stomach.  If there is a significant amount causing you discomfort, you may need to have it drained.

Issues after a tummy tuck

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Drains are frequently placed during a tummy tuck.  Most drains are left in for 1-2 weeks.  Plastic surgeons typically like to wait until the total output is less than 30ml per day per drain before removing them.  Fluid collections, called seromas, can sometimes form after the drains are removed.  Most seromas are diagnosed by physical exam.  However, ultrasound is a much more sensitive way to find a fluid collection.  Signs and symptoms of an infection after a tummy tuck include the following:  fever, chills, wound drainage, increased pain, redness, an elevated white blood cell count, and an elevated C-reactive protein.  One issue that can cause firmness is fat necrosis.  This is a situation where the blood supply to fat is not adequate.  Sometimes this problem resolves on its own with time, but often it requires debridement of the hardened tissue.

Kelly Gallego, MD, FACS
Yuba City Plastic Surgeon

Hardening after a tummy tuck

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Although swelling take a few weeks to resolve, this is usually relatively minor swelling and should be rather soft.  If your swelling started after the drains were removed, it could be a seroma, which if large enough can be firm, but should not necessarily be hard, and usually shows a fluid wave (like a waterbed).  A hematoma is another possiblity, and it is usually hard and tight and may show more bruising.  You doctor should consider obtaining an ultrasound to check on whether there is a fluid collection that will need drainage.

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.