Had to Be Opened Up Day 13 Post Op from Tummy Tuck Said I Had a Bleed Due To Too Much Activity?

I am 15 days post op from a tt (no muscle work, only skin) today. On day 8, I developed a fever & on day 9, my drains were removed due to infection. Day 13, I go to the doctor for swelling on my left side. Doctor can't remove any fluid and decides that he has to open me up again to see what is going on. Now I have an open wound 2 1/2" long and about 2" deep. They are telling me I had a 'bleed' due to too much activity? Is this common? And how long will an open wound of this size take to heal?

Doctor Answers 3

Bleed and infection after tummy tuck.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It sounds as if your surgeon is giving you good care, since re-operation for swelling after infected drain removal is smart, aggressive care. Bleeding or seroma can occur with any tummy tuck patient, as can infection. Infection is much more rare than bleeding, which is much more rare than seroma, so you pretty much have had the bad-luck least-likely outcomes.

Since your drains were removed due to fever and infection, there may have not been sufficient healing to prevent re-accumulation of serum or blood, particularly with increased activity. Then this swelling (which is the fluid or blood that collected under the skin flaps) has the potential for infection from bacteria that may have already been present. Re-operation rather than simply drainage is a good and reasonable choice. Leaving the wound open is another good and reasonable choice that surgeons have to make in this situation.

As long as you follow good wound care recommendations from your surgeon, this will heal remarkably rapidly from the "inside out." Any scar irregularity or depression can be revised later when everything is soft and healed. For now you should keep the wound clean, do dressing  changes as prescribed, and it will close off in a couple of weeks. Then let the scar tissue soften and settle for a few months. Revision of this small area can then be performed to give you the result you were shooting for in the beginning. Sure, it's become more work and hassle, but this CAN occur to any of us. Good luck and best wishes!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Tummy Tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Fluid collections after a tummy tuck can come from different causes and unfortunately they are often a troubling complication.  Whatever the reason the prompt treatment you seem to have received can minimize the eventual effect on your result.  Stay in close follow up with your surgeon and when healed the larger appearing wounds often contract to a significantly smaller size.  I wish you a speedy recovery.  I hope this information is helpful.

Ronald H. Stefani Jr, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Open Wound after Tummy Tuck?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

 I'm sorry to hear about the complication you have experienced after tummy tuck surgery. I'm glad to hear however that you are being followed closely by your plastic surgeon. You may be surprised at how well the open wound heals;  this may take several weeks to do so however. I would suggest that you continue to follow-up with your plastic surgeon, follow instructions regarding dressing changes, and understand that in the long run it is likely that you will have a very nice result.  Sometimes, when incision lines heal  by “secondary intention” scar revision surgery may be necessary to improve the final results.

I hope this helps.

You might also like...

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.