How to Tell if Popped Stitches After Tummy Tuck?

I popped three stitches at the top of me abdomen?! What is this doing to my abdominoplasty outcome. I had surgery on18th and two days later I coughed and felt a stitch pop twice. Then 10 days later I sneezed and couldn't stop it and heard another one pop It doesn't feel very tight near my breast line. Is it possible that it was just something tearing and not a popped stitch? What else should I know?

Doctor Answers 5

How to Tell if Popped Stitches After Tummy Tuck?

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.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Popping Tummy Tuck Muscle Repair Stitches

Regarding:"had surgery on18th and two days later I coughed and felt a stitch pop twice. Then 10 days later I sneezed and couldn't stop it and heard another one pop It doesn't feel very tight near my breast line".

The repair of the muscle separation (Diastasis) is THE most important part of a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty). Without doing it or by doing it poorly, the tummy would not be flattened sufficiently and the waist would not be nicely narrowed. 

The EXTENT of muscle repair and the TECHNIQUE of muscle repair (type of stitches, number of stitches and layers of stitches) vary from surgeon to surgeon. The less stitches, the higher the tension - the higher the risk of either stitches breaking ("popping") or cutting ("cheese wiring") through the muscle lining (fascia). I prefer 2 layers of stitches with the deep one being individual stitches and the top layer a running layer which distributes tension along a wider area rather than one or two areas. I have a very busy Tummy Tuck practice and have not had any ruptured stitches.

In your case, there is really not much that can be done short of surgery. Everything would depend on the extent of the muscle repair disruption. Discuss this with your surgeon. If when leaning forward the extent of tightening and flattening is lost you may need to consider this option. If going back and re-operating is delayed, the operation would be much more extensive once the skin has re-attached back to the muscle lining.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Popped stitches after tummy tuck

This can be very disturbing but the best way to diagnose this issue of "pooping" sutures is to see your surgeon ASAP! Options to repair are another surgery.

Best of luck from MIAMI DR. B

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Suture popping after tt

It sounds like you did indeed pop at least 3 sutures.  What the ultimate cosmetic result will be can not be ascertained without an exam.  Discuss this with your surgeon to see if it is worth going in and repairing.

Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Popping muscle repair stitches after a tummy tuck

IT sounds very much like you popped the diastasis repair. There is little that can be done or should be done at this point in time in my opinion. However, it is most important to discuss this with your surgeon who may advise a different course of action. IT is likely you will experience long term fullness in the area.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 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.