Bronchitis 3 Weeks Post-Op TT, Will this Interfere with Internal Sutures?

Had tummy tuck almost a month ago, at almost three weeks I developed bronchitis, will this possibly interfere with the internal sutures?

Doctor Answers 10

Tummy Tuck - Bronchitis 3 Weeks Post-Op TT, Will this Interfere with Internal Sutures?

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Excessive coughing at this early stage can, in fact, cause a problem.

It's not clear exactly how long it takes for things to heal after a tummy tuck, but the range of a minimum of 6 weeks has been described, and quite possibly longer.  Violent, severe and/or repeated coughing risks disrupting or stretching the sutures that were placed to repair your muscles.

I would advise you to have this treated as quickly as possible and to contact your PS to let him or her know what is going on.  From a practical standpoint, holding a pillow over your abdomen when you cough decreases the tension otherwise produced as the pillow will help restrain the abdomen from its full excursion.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E


Bronchitis 3 Weeks Post-Op TT, Will this Interfere with Internal Sutures?

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This certainly can be a concern during your healing process.  Heavy coughing can lead to problems with your muscle plication.   Work closely with your Primary Doctor to make sure your recovering from your Bronchitis.  Make sure you are also wearing your abdominal binder religiously. 

Bronchitis 3 Weeks Post-Op TT, Will this Interfere with Internal Sutures?

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Yes it is possible but based upon the limited information posted I would see my surgeon of record ASAP. 

Bronchitis within 6 - 8 weeks following tummy tuck can precipitate breakage of the muscle repair

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It is the powerful coughing that can be precipitated by the bronchitis that is the issue. The explosive forces created by the coughing do test the repair of the abdominal wall muscles and can break or cause the sutures to tear. This will undo the muscle pication which can be observed as a bulge of the abdominal wall when standing - where there had not been one since the surgery.

Generally, it can take 6 - 8 weeks for enough healing to occur so that intense coughing won't disrupt the muscle repair.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Cough three weeks after tummy tuck

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Your bronchitis or cough may make you uncomfortable after your tummy tuck, but is unlikely that you will rupture sutures or do any damage. Support your abdomen with a binder, a cold air humidifier may reduce irritation, and use a cough suppressant if you can.

Best of luck,

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Bronchitis post tummy tuck

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it is still early enough that deep coughing could disrupt the inside repair. keep a binder or garment on, hold your tummy with deep coughs. get treatment for your cough to keep it in check but still allow you to treat the bronchitis.

Rick Rosen, MD
Norwalk Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

It could....

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Bronchitis could be associated with coughing which may disrupt early healing especially where the muscle was repaired. If you smoke, that also may delay would healing. Try to get the bronchitis under control ASAP and limit smoking as much as possible.


Get your doctor involved to give you his or her prophylactic regimen.


Best Regards,


John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

Coughing after Tummy Tuck

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After a tummy tuck it usually takes about six weeks for enough healing to occur to allow for significant pressure to be applied to the abdominal wall.  Significant coughing can apply enough pressure to disrupt the sutures during this early phase, especially when done repeatedly.   This can result in a reseperation of the abdominal musculature in the center or in worst case scenario, it can stir up bleeding and lead to a hematoma.   You can try to control the pressure by holding a pillow to your abdomen when coughing and continue wearing an abdominal binder for an extended time after the surgery.

Adam Hamawy, MD
Princeton Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Bronchitis after Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question.

It is unlikely that any harm has been done to your tummy tuck surgery results  secondary to the bronchitis episodes. If you had a coughing fit severe enough to increase intra-abdominal pressure to the point of breaking sutures you would likely know it (heard or felt a muscle plication stitch break).  You may have also noticed a change in contour (abdominal wall bulge) if a stitch had broken. Bleeding may also result from increased intra-abdominal pressure-  again, it is likely that you would be aware of this complication if it had arisen.

I hope this helps.

Effect of bronchitis on internal sutures after abdominoplasty

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If your bronchitis is accompanied by a lot of deep, repetitive coughing, it could have an effect on the internal closure.  This complication lessens as time elapses and more healing has taken place.  If you have any reason to believe that the closure could have been compromised, then definitely see your plastic surgeon for post-operative evaluation. 

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.