Two days ago, I drove (with permission) on two short trips. I needed to pull my seat closer to the wheel of the car. I inadvertently "crunched" my abdomen while reaching down. Now, I am in discomfort where the incisional hernia was. Could I have popped a Tummy Tuck stitch? How can the surgeon tell? Is it irreparable?
Did I Pop my Tummy Tuck Stitch?
Doctor Answers 9
Let your physician know
When I perform abdominoplasties, I routinely place individual sutures to tighten up the tissue over the abdominal muscles. These are separate from sutures that I place to repair a hernia. Occasionally, I will have a patient tell me that a few days postoperatively, they felt a pop like you described. Because of the swelling postoperatively, it's difficult to tell if anything seriously happened. Most often an individual "pop" won't have any significance, but a series of pops at once ,or over a few days, would make me concerned. Fortunately, I've never had to re-operate on a patient who has disrupted the muscle or hernia repair: however ,if after the swelling goes down, you or your surgeon notice a recurrence of your original symptoms or protrusion of the abdomen in a particular area, then one would consider exploring this area in the operating room or perhaps getting a CAT scan preoperatively
How to tell popped Tummy Tuck stitch
Lay on your back and relax.
Feel around gently along a vertical line from the breast bone to the pubic bone (going in a path that covers the belly button).
Then raise both legs at the same time, so feet and ankles are in the air. Continue feeling along the same path as you were. If there is a gap, you will feel it .
Having said that, chances are very small you will have anything that needs correction.
If you felt and perhaps heard a "pop" then it is possible. However, there are a lot of stitches, so even if you poped one, chances are good that you you will be fine. However, it may take a while to see if you did any serious damage. If you get a "bulge" from a popped stitch, it can be repaired.
How far out from surgery are you? You might have just broken up some scar tissue, so let's hope for the best.
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Have your surgeon take a look
While I would have your surgeon take a look, you are probably alright. I have not yet had a patient break open one of my repairs, but it could of course happen. If your surgeon did a good layered repair it will be redundant, meaning a "pop" in one place may not doom you to the need for more surgery.
Does it need repair
Just because you have pain does not mean you popped a stitch. You could just feel pulling from the muscle. In any case, it might be difficult to tell if you popped a stitch, especially initially right after surgery. Hopefully, the surgeon put many interrupted stitches. This is like a back up system. If one or two stitches break, there are still plenty there to hold everything together. Your surgeon may be able to tell clinically if the hernia recurred. Alternatively, you may require imaging such as ultrasound, CT Scan or MRI to look more closely. If there is a problem, of course it can be fixed. It all just depends if it needs repair or not. Good luck.
You may have...
Different surgeons stitch up the inner abdominal wall differently. My personal preferance is to place many individual sutures to tighten up your inner abdomen. Some will instead run one long stitch like a baseball stitch. The advantage to having multiple individual sutures is that if one or two pops, there are still plenty there for support.
Bottom line is to talk to your doctor about this and on't be embarrassed about it. You did not mention how far out from surgery you are, and this may make a difference.
Abdominoplasty and Pain
It is certainly possible, but I would say unlikely. You can have pain on not hurt anything as far as your surgery goes. It will be difficult to tell initially given the swelling and the fact that you are early out from surgery.
The definitive may to tell would be to have a CT scan but at this point I think that is going a bit over kill.
Over time, in the next 3-4 months you or your surgeon will be able to tell if any damage was caused.
Popping a stitch after abdomnoplasty
Nearly any problem is reparable.
However, you must first determine if you have a problem that needs correction. This may be an easy diagnosis or one that requires time to become more apparent and may involve use of diagnostic imaging (MRI or Ultrasound).
It seems that you have two different issues at hand. Tummy tuck +/- incisional hernia? or diastasis repair? It is difficult to tell from your description. The former often invovles the use of a mesh like material whereas the second does not. The first is less dependent upon stitches than the latter.
Depending on which you had, the answer can be different.
Discuss your concerns with your surgeon, so that they may conduct an proper examination and order any tests if necessary and/or perform any required procedures.