Terrible Smell from Openings in Insicion and Barely Open Belly Button, is this Normal?

Many of you have been answering my questions lately and I'm so greatful! As you know, I currently have MRSA & Staph. I'm on bactrum, but I still hqave a fever and terrible drainage from openings in my insicion. Now my belly button which is almost completly closed is draining green fluid to. All the drainage I have has started to smell HORRIBLE! The belly button fluid smells like rotten fish & the insicion fluid smells like rotten flesh. Is this normal for infection or should it be checked out?

Doctor Answers 6


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it sounds like you may need further treatment.  it does not sound like you are improving as things are going now.  see your surgeon. you may need an exploration or different antibiotics.

Newark Plastic Surgeon

MRSA & Staph infection after tummy tuck

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What you are describing is serious, particularly because you have a persistent fever and prurulent drainage. In such instances, debridement of the wound and drainage of what sounds like an abscess may be required. Additionally, many patients with MRSA require intravenous antibiotics. I know that this is the holiday season and no one wants to be hospitalized, but your condition may warrant it. You should make sure that your plastic surgeon will not be away over the holidays or, if so, that he has a covering physician. WIshing you a speedy recovery! Dr K

Odor from infected incisions is NOT normal, even if on antibiotics.

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By your description, your infection is not yet under control, and if your drainage or open incisions have not been cultured recently (to obtain sensitivities to multiple antibiotic choices), this needs to be done. Culture and sensitivities are critical to making sure your surgeon has you on the correct antibiotic coverage. This is particularly important with MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staph Aureus), since many "regular antibiotics" don't work for this.

In addition to proper antibiotic coverage, it may be necessary to have a surgical debridement (removal of dead tissue). Antibiotics cannot "get to" tissues that have died--there is no more blood flow. So dead tissue is not only warm and wet, but a "fertilizer bed" for bacteria! No surgeon likes to undo his or her work, but sometimes we have to eradicate the dead tissue to cure the infection to heal the patient to come back and restore the cosmetic result another day!

See your surgeon ASAP, not tomorrow. Insist on an urgent recheck appointment. You may also wish to stay NPO (eat nothing by mouth after midnight) the night before you see your surgeon (should be tomorrow) in case surgery is recommended. Hang in there; this can indeed get better if the proper steps are taken. Best wishes!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Infection after Tummy Tuck

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Based on what you describe, you should be having regular follow-up by your plastic surgeon. If things are getting worse and you have a fever, notify the surgeon's office.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Infection and Odor after Abdominoplasty

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At this point, it sounds like you have persistent undrained infection that continues to be a problem.  Even if you are on the appropriate antibiotic, further surgery may be necessary to drain the abdomen and debride any necrotic tissue present.  I would definitely followup with your surgeon again.

Infection after Tummy Tuck?

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I do remember your previous questions;  I'm very sorry to hear about the complications you are experiencing.

Yes, the odiferous drainage is most likely part of the same infectious process.  the only other reason to be having this type of drainage is if you have unhealthy tissue (for example fat necrosis)  that is gradually liquefying and draining.

The most important thing in your situation is that you are being followed by a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon. If necessary further exploration and drainage procedures may be necessary ( this will be based on his/her examination).

Best wishes.


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.