Hard Bulge After Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair

I am 8 months post tummy tuck with muscle repair. I have a hard bulge around my belly button area, and pulling "stuck" sensations with certain movements. I feel very tight much of the time, and sometimes achey in my ab muscles. Does this sound like scar tissue that needs to be loosened to alleviate the discomfort? My recovery was without complication.

Doctor Answers 4

Tightness in periumbilical area after tummy tuck

Tighteness around the umbilical region after a tummy tuck is not uncommon. The firmness usually softens over time. This may take up to a year.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Bulging and firm area in the abdomen after a tummy tuck

Tummy tucks are a very popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. In our practice, we include liposuction with every tummy tuck. We strongly feel that liposuction is important technique that allows us to contour your body and reach areas of the abdomen that we otherwise would not be able to get to with a tummy tuck alone. Patients who undergo this procedure must understand that there is a significant recovery process. Patients will experience swelling and bruising that can persist for up to 6 to 8 months. In our practice, we provide our patients with the two separate compression garments that specifically apply pressure evenly to the areas that have been treated and also provide support for the patient's comfort.
It is possible that the area you are feeling can be a small area of swelling, a small amount of bulging in the muscles, or your body's reaction to sutures or other materials that were used during surgery. Your best bet at this point is to be evaluated by a board-certified plastic surgeon who can examine you and determine what the cause of this mass may be. They will then be able to recommend a surgical procedure that can help eliminate this lump.

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

Not unusual to have firmness around belly button after abdominioplasty

This is likely a combination of scar tissue and compromised fat around the belly button which is poorly vascularized.

Generally over time, this will resolve.

The tight feeling also tends to resolve unless you have gained weight since undergoing the surgery.

As mentioned, discuss your concerns with your surgeon to ensure that all is healing well and there is no other cause for your findings.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews


Hi there-

It is, of course impossible for me to know for sure without examining you and having a better understanding of how your surgery was done (there are many ways to tuck a tummy), but is sounds like you are experiencing some contraction of the scar tissue that formed under your skin.

Just as scar forms in the skin, it also does so underneath at the site of your muscular repair. All scar tissue is very inflexible, and also tends to shrink (or contract) over the first year or so. With certain movements, this will cause most patients to feel exactly what you are experiencing.

It is important to visit your surgeon to be sure you don't have a more significant problem (doubtful from the sound of things). It is also important for you to understand that at this point your wounds are about as strong as they're going to get- in other words, it's unlikely that these feelings mean you're causing yourself harm. Once my patients reach complete healing, I actually encourage them to do stretching exercises and yoga, to stretch the scar slowly over time and prevent these uncomfortable feelings.

Visit your surgeon- as long as things are good on exam, try stretching gently once a day.

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 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.