Pain from Muscle Repair Stitch After Tummy Tuck

I have a sore spot on the left side of my belly button that has been sore for a few days. I am six weeks post Tummy Tuck. It burns sometimes, and stays sore a lot. The nurse said it was a stitch from my muscle repair and will stop hurting in time. How long will it take before the pain resolves? It is the only real pain I have from any of this, with the exception of minor swelling. I was just wondering how long I might expect to feel it.

Doctor Answers 8

Tummy Tuck Pain

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Thanks for your question.

There can be several things that contribute to abdominoplasty pain.

In the immediate post-op period the incision itself can cause some pain. This can be controlled by injection of local numbing medication, pain pumps and post-op pain medication.

The typical more lasting pain (usually for about 1 - 3 months) can be the muscle plication. Part of an abdominoplasty includes tightening of the muscle. This involves large permanent sutures into the muscle and the fascia (the strong tissue attached to the muscle).

There are several nerves near the inferior portion of the abdomen that can be caught with suture or cut when performing an abdominoplasty that can cause chronic pain. It is unlikely from your description that these nerves were injured.

You can try massage to improve the pain. If the pain is focal and reproducible you may discuss steroid injection into the area to try to calm irritated nerves.

I hope this helps.

Tummy Tuck pain is individually variable

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Hi there,

The pain you are describing is difficult to diagnose without knowing the technique used and performing an exam, and so we should go with your doctor's assessment.

It is not uncommon with Tummy Tuck surgery to have pain with certain movements, or tenderness over certain areas of the muscle repair for several months after surgery. Over time, as the internal scar tissue matures, this will resolve.

Congratulations on your new form!

Pain after tummy tuck

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It is true that residual aches and pains may linger after a tummy tuck for up to three months, particularly if the muscle was plicated and tightened. However, some patients develop reactions to Prolene or other suture material. I saw a patient this week who has had recurrent abscesses for three years after abdominoplasty with drainage and Prolene may be the culprit. (And never mind that the general surgeon who performed the tummy tuck now wants nothing to do with the patient and told him to find a plastic surgeon!) So, it is important to monitor the pain and, if it persists, you should definitely followup with the plastic surgeon who operated on you as opposed to his nurse! Good luck! Dr K

Will resolve with time--

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The pain that you describe is most likely secondary to a deep stitch in the muscle repair. This type of stitch can occasionally cause a burning sensation that’s made worse by movement. This type of pain usually resolves with the passage of time. In the short term, Ibuprofen helps alleviate pain and also decreases inflammation in the area.

New pain after tummy tuck

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New pain in an area of the central abdomen is quite common as the nerves recover and your actiivity increases. Keep in close contact with your surgeon to ensure that this is not a sign of a more serious condition but in all likelihood, it will resolve with time (approximately 3-6 weeks).

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

Pain in the abdomen after muscle repair

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Tummy tucks are a very popular and effective technique to contour the abdomen. During the surgery, patients will receive a repair of their muscle layer with different suture techniques. If you have placed too much stress on your abdomen, it is possible to pop one of these muscle sutures. Rest assured that this layer has multiple sutures and the loosening of one suture should not affect the entire result. If you continue to have discomfort at this point, your best bet is to return to your plastic surgeon and be evaluated to see if you benefit from a repair at the site.

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:

Muscle stitch pain after tummy tuck

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At 6 weeks you are still early post-op.  You will feel many different sensations over the next several months as the nerves "awaken."  It sounds most likely that the discomfort you have is from the muscle repair.  Keep a close follow-up with your doctor to make sure that is all it is.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Pain from muscle repair stitch not uncommon

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The pain you describe is often associated with stitches within the layer of tissue that tightens your abdomen. These stitches can pull with ordinary movements. The pain you describe is the result. Of course, when you see your doctor, let him/her examine it fully. But at this time, I would not worry, it will go away.

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 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.