Tummy Tuck Stitches Still Present After 5 Months

I had a full Tummy Tuck on Oct 17, 2008. Five months later, I still have stitches on my hips. My plastic surgeon says maybe next month they'll come out, but they hurt very much when I wear pants. Is this normal? Also, when my drains were being removed, they got stuck somehow and my surgeon had to undo stitches to remove the drain, and then he restitched after he pulled out the drain. It was so painful! What should I do? He doesn't even want to see me for another month! Can they become infected? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 7

Tummy Tuck Stitches Still Present After 5 Months

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is highly unusual to have external stitches 5 months post surgery. Dissolving sutures may take up nine months; however, the norm is much shorter. Speak with your surgeon's medical staff for clarification on what postoperative care you should be doing at this point. They may want to bring you in to review.


West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

When will absorbable stitches absorb following tummy tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

A variety of different sutures are used in the course of abdominoplasty with different resorption times. Also different individual absorb the same sutures at different rates. If your surgeon states that they will be absorbed, I would believe him/her and give it time. It is rare for them to get truly infected. IF they should suddenly become red, swollen, tender or warm, you should notify your surgeon.

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

Sutures and tummy tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

After 5 months, the sutures that you have should probably have dissolved if they are absorbable. If they are not check with your doctor.

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

Persistent stitches after a tummy tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Tummy tucks are a terrific way to re-contour the abdomen. During this surgery, we typically use resorbable sutures in the deep layers of your tissue and in the superficial layer of your skin. These sutures can take anywhere from 3 to 9 months to dissolve on their own. Your best bet is to continue with deep massage to these areas to help the body breakup this suture material.

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:

Stitches Present Several Months after Tummy Tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I presume that you are describing dissolving sutures which have been placed beneath the skin.  It is not uncommon for these to require 5 months or even longer to dissolve.  If they are bothering you that much, however, you should contact your surgeon to see if he/she can see you a bit sooner.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Are these external stitches?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It would not be normal to leave external stitches in a tummy tuck, or any other surgery for that matter, for almost 6 months after surgery.  Go back to your doctor for an explanation and removal.

Does not sound routine

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The routine for any external suture removal is about 2weeks after surgery at most. Five months for having stitches does not sound routine. Discuss with your surgeon the reasoning - are you having healing issues? If the stiches hurt, they can cause localized infection and should be checked out by your surgeon. The best thing to do is to make an appointment and go over your concerns. The explanation will usually relieve any stress you are having.

Bahram Ghaderi, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

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.