Tummy Tuck Constipation Can I Pull Internal Sutures

I know this sounds silly. I am super constipated from my pain killers. I am 5 days out and just stopped taking them. I am taking colace twice a day and drinking a ton of water. I have not had a bowel movement since the day before surgery (6 days ago) I feel horrible and cant go. I was pushing today trying to go when the hubby stated saying I was going to pull out my internal sutures. Is this true? Now Im freaking out. My muscles are more sore but they seemed to be getting more so each day.

Doctor Answers 14

Constipation after Surgery and potential risks in Tummy Tuck Surgery

ALL pain pills constipate, lower blood pressure and lead to impaired thinking. People who are prone to constipation before surgery are at a higher risk for it after surgery.

The colon acts both as a reservoir for stool as well as a device to remove excess water from it preserving it. When the colon moves stool rapidly by forceful contractions, people lose large amount of water and have diarrhea. All opiate pain pills reduce the frequency and power of the colon contractions (Peristalsis). When colon contractions are very slow and of low strength, the stool stays longer in the colon and more water is removed resulting in hard stools and constipation.

In cases such as yours, in my opinion, there is no point in taking anything by mouth. It will generate more cramps and pain. It would be better to cause colonic contractions from below with the use of Fleets enemas and Dulcolax suppositories.

Straining hard CAN strain the muscle repair of the tummy tuck. I ask my patients not to engage in heavy lifting or straining for at least 4 weeks after a Tummy Tuck.

Speak with your surgeon.

Peter A Aldea, MD

Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Constipation after tummy tuck.

The likely-hood of doing harm to internal sutures after a tummy tuck from being constipated alone is very low, even though it is possible. Talk to your plastic surgeon and she or he can help you. This is probably the most common complaint after a tummy tuck, and is often caused by the pain killers you were on. Get off all of them, hydrate, take a fiber based stool softener, and walk. You will be fine in no time.

Ayman Hakki, MD
Waldorf Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Tummy Tuck Constipation Can I Pull Internal Sutures

On my patients I use a staged protocol, but you are not my patient so check with your surgeon of record. My protocol is first Colase, MOM, ant light PO laxative. Next is Fleets enemas x 2 at most. If still constipated I see the patient to do a digital rectal examination depending upon my findings dictates the next step. Internal muscle repair could be effected but slim possibility. Please call your surgeon

Constipation post tummy tuck

Constiplation post body contouring is unfortunately very common. It is unlikely that the constipation will damage the internal sutures. However, consult your surgeon regarding the constipation as he or she should be able to identify ways for you to have relief, and understands the scope of the surgery and the specifics about you the best.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Constipation after tummy tuck

It is very normal not to have a bowel movement for a few days after surgery.  Colase and hydration are key.  I would try not to strain.  I would call your Plastic Surgeon and see what he/she likes to do in your particular case.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews


Constipation can be common in this situation.  I would recommend against "pushing" on your newly tightened tummy.  It could influence the final result.  You are taking Colace which is a stool softener.  What you need is a stimulant for bowel movement such as Ducolax or good old prune juice.  With a stimulant and a softener the event of your bowel movement should be uneventful.


Do Not Fource it.

At  this early stage you can pop sutures.  The pain pills cause this.  My patient have a colon cleaning before and strart on colace the day after surgery.  I would take something mild and take twice a day until it corrects.  If you strain to hard you could pop sutures or tear tissue.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Pull through utures with straining

absolutely possible. get a fleets enema. do not take a stimulant by mouth as it will give you cramps and worsen the problem.  Dr. Rafael Cabrera

Rafael C. Cabrera, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Constipation after Tummy Tuck

  It is very unlikely that you did anything to disrupt your internal sutures.  However, you definately want to minimize the need for straining due to constipation.  If already using Colace twice daily as you are, then I would recommend adding a tablespoon of Magnesium Citrate twice a day and a Dulcolax suppository in the morning.  This should get you going, but be careful not to give yourself excessive diarrhea.  Finally, if possible taper off of your narcotic pain medications and continue your Colace for 2 weeks after you get going again.

Erez Sternberg, MD
Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Constipation after Tummy Tuck

Pain medication can definitely make you constipated.  I advise my  tummy tuck patients to take Colase starting right after surgery to try to avoid the problem altogether.  I think it is unlikely that you will damage your muscle repair.  At this point, if you were my patient, I would recommend trying Dulcolax suppositories.  However, I think you should speak to your surgeon to see what he/she recommends that you try.  

Laurence Weider, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 89 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.