Bloated Lower Belly and Sutures Popping After Tummy Tuck

I had a tummy tuck with muscle repair 9 weeks ago. During the surgery my abdominal hernia was also fixed. My lower abdomen feels tight and looks round and bloated. Also, I have several sutures that are poking out of the muscle under the skin. You can see and feel them.

My general surgeon said she used sutures that will dissolve in time. Why are they popping through? She suggested that the bloating feeling is due to the weakness in the muscles and that my insides were pushing against the muscle and skin giving me the tight, bloated feeling. She also said that exercise would help this. I would like another opinion about these two issues. Thank you.

Doctor Answers 5

Visible sutures and bulging belly after tummy tuck

I am not sure what you mean by "poking out". In a patient with thin skin, the sutures can be visible; particularly the sutures for the muscle repair are thicker and may be more palpable than the remaining sutures used in an abdominopasty. Your surgeon may be correct in saying that your insides are pushing outwards; in some people with poor muscle tone, muscle strengthening is necessary to optimize the result.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Lower belly bulging and sutures popping after tummy tuck

Tummy tucks are a very popular and effective technique to contour the abdomen. Patients who undergo this procedure should understand that there is a significant recovery process. Immediately after the tummy tuck, care must be taken to not put undue stress or tension onto the abdominal wall, especially if a muscle repair has been performed. We ask our patients not to lift more than 5 pounds for the first month at half and we provide two separate garments to every patient to help them manage the swelling and provide additional support for their comfort.

In your case, it sounds as if some of the sutures for the most repair have popped. Discuss your concerns with your surgeon. Depending on the technique he used there may be several layers of suture to ensure a stable result. However, if you have a significant and noticeable bulge, you may benefit from a small revision surgery to retighten your muscles once you're done healing.

To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Tummy Tuck Post-op

Its unclear if you had both a general surgeon do the hernia repair and a plastic surgeon do the tummy tuck or did one surgeon do both. Its time to have a frank discussion with your surgeons and expresss your concerns. The internet helps for information, but it is not a substitute for direct consultation and examination. Best of luck.

Jack Gelman, MD
Frankfort Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Postoperative issues after a tummy tuck

There is certainly no substitute than a honest discussion of the issues you have with your plastic surgeon. Your questions and concerns should be addressed so that you can understand what to expect regarding the postoperative healing process. In general terms: sutures that pop or spit through the skin can occur after any type of surgery whether or not they are of the dissolvable variety. This is an issue is typically self limited and the sutures that are coming through can be easily removed.

Healing after a tummy tuck, which usually involves some liposuction as well, can take weeks to months, so patience is certainly important as well as the understanding that it may be 4-6 months before you see the true result of the surgery. As far as the bloated / tight feeling, a postoperative seroma (fluid collection) under the skin can potentially cause this and would typically be evaluated by the plastic surgeon in one of the follow up examinations. If present, it may require drainage in the office, again something to be discussed with the operating surgeon. Good luck.

Sean A. Simon, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Abdominal bulge and popping

It is difficult to say what the popping and suture palpability is all about without examining you.  I would follow closely with your surgeon.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 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.