Can the Tightened Muscles of a Tummy Tuck Come Loose?

I was wondering if the muscles that are tightened in the abdomen can come loose? And if so what would it feel like? I had my tummy tuck 10 days ago and up until a few hours ago I was feeling tight still but getting more upright and then earlier I had a coughing fit (breathed in water when drinking) and although it wasn't all that painful it felt like the muscles loosened and a warm rush spread across my tummy followed by a cooling rush that lingered then it felt like I could move easier.

Doctor Answers 4

Potential Disruption of Tummy Tuck Muscle Repairs

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The muscle repair of a Tummy Tuck can definitely be disrupted. The amount of force required to separate the 6 pack (Rectus Abdominis) muscles would vary with WHEN the force was applied to the muscle repair, the AMOUNT of force applied and the WAY the muscles were stitched together.

A sudden coughing, vomiting, bucking, straining or blow to the tummy in the early healing phase (end of surgery up to 3 weeks or so after the surgery can either break the stitches or cause them to cut ("cheese wire") through the muscle causing bleeding and recreating the original muscle separation before the surgery.

If the only stitches used in the muscle repair were a running continuous suture instead of multiple, interrupted stitches, a single break in the stitch could cause the unraveling of the entire repair. For this reason, many surgeons hedge their bets by using the more time consuming interrupted stitches - if one of them breaks the repair is kept together by the integrity of the other, non-broken stitches.

As more scarring welds the muscles to the overlying skin, any forces to the midline are distributed over greater surface areas and much greater tension would be require to break the muscle repair stitches.

You should see your surgeon as soon as possible to see if your muscle repair was compromised.

Good Luck.

Memphis Plastic Surgeon

The muscle repair is done by sutures and they can become loose

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You need to see your doctor for further evaluation. The muscle repair is varied from surgeon to surgeon and your plastic surgeon should examine you and answer your questions.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Can the Tightened Muscles of a Tummy Tuck Come Loose?

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Congratulations on having undergone the tummy tuck procedure.
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.

Best wishes.

Yes muscles of tummy tuck can become loose or undone: Stitches are essential early on

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Yes, it is possible during the early post-operative period following a tummty tuck, to rupture the repair. I often give the analogy of grafting a tree limb. During the early phases, duct tape is required to maintain the graft. Later on the tape can be removed but the fusion can break if subjected to excessive force. The stitches of a muscle repair act in much the same way. The stitches are essential early on but less important as the tissues heal in place. Discuss your symptoms with your surgeon and have him/her conduct an examination.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 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.