Does the Feeling of the Internal Stitches to the Muscle Repair Completely Subside?

I am asking this because I have read that women on real self had had tummy tucks and subsequently had trouble breathing deeply and they are blaming the stitches?

Doctor Answers 7

Deep breathing difficulty after a tummy tuck is from muscle overtightening

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Typically you do not feel the internal stitches at all after a tummy tuck.  If however the muscles are tightened to a severe or extreme level then your abdominal organs will push up on your diaphragm making it more difficult to breath.  

The diaphragm is the muscle that separates your abdominal cavity from your lungs and also is the main component in the mechanism of breathing.  Your organs will push up on it and constrict your lungs from being able to expand as easily as they did before.  Generally, most people get used to this feeling and it subsides but in certain cases it can be quite distressful. 

It is rare and not likely to happen to you in the hands of an experienced board certified plastic surgeon.

Freehold Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Tightness after tummy tuck

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There should definitely be a feeling of firmness, bordering on tightness following tummy tuck, especially if the rectus muscles were repaired.  This feeling gradually goes away during the first weeks to a  month.  This is normal.

Michael Leff, MD (retired)
Bellevue Plastic Surgeon

Muscle tightness

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When properly performed, the sensation of tightness after tummy tuck will resolve as healing progresses. Some patients have reactions to the internal sutures used which is a different issue from extreme muscle tightening. It is advisable to have your abdominoplasty performed by a board certified plastic surgeon who has expertise in this procedure.

Difficulty Deep Breathing After Tummy Tuck

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In my experience, breathing difficulties after a tummy tuck are incredibly rare.  Patients that have a lot of inter abdominal fat and have a tight repair of the muscles will, on rare occasions, find it somewhat difficult deep breathing because the compromise of the abdominal wall expansion can lead to pushing up on the diaphragm of abdominal contents (fat plus abdominal organs).  This constriction of the abdominal wall movement (known as excursion) should subside relatively rapidly.  Although the abdominal muscle repair is done with permanent sutures, the sutures are placed in muscle fascia which will stretch relatively quickly.  This uncomfortable sensation should be gone within around 2 weeks or less. 

Internal Sutures for Muscle Plication

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Thank you for your question.

Normally, patients don't feel the sutures of the muscle plication but they do have "tightness" after tummy tuck surgery (which is very normal).  With time and recovery, things get better and the "tight" feeling gradually goes away.

Best wishes.

Tummy tuck sutures are permanent

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When abdominoplasties are performed the fascia is tightened with sutures which are permanent.  These sutures are below the level of the fat and usually cannot be felt, unless the patient is very thin or the sutures erode.  In the immediate post-operative period, patients my have trouble taking deep breathes because of the compression and elevation on the diaphragm.  This resolves usually in about 1 month.


Best of Luck,


Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 230 reviews

Internal abdominal stitches bother a little bit only at the begining

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yes the bother  a littlle  bit  the internal stitches but after a few weeks  disapear of  course you should  utilize an elastic abdominal compressive garment even during  excersices, avoiding abdominal  tension excersises  at least during  the first post op month

Ramon Navarro, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon

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.