I Had a Tummy Tuck 2 Years Ago and my Belly Button Area Never Has Healed! Always Oozes, What is the Problem? (photo)

I had the tummy tuck 2 years ago. Area by belly button still raw. Been to many doctors, including dermatoligist. The last time I saw the plastic surgeon he said go to dermatologist. I have been many times and nothing helps! Last time I saw plastic surgeon he mentioned that a last resort is cutting the area out? Has anyone heard of that before? I am so tired of it not healing. I am not diabetic.

Doctor Answers 9

Belly button not healing for two years should be investigated


Its very rare to have wound healing problems this long.  I agree with getting a biosy for starters but after the results come back I would surgically evaluate for either a foreing body reaction to permanent suture or for the presence of an infected pseudobursa.

All the best,

Dr Repta

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 162 reviews

Healing problems after a tummy tuck / abdominoplasty

this is most likely do to the sutures used under the skin on the muscle.

i wouldn't cut it our but would surgically explore the area to see what is causing the inflamation around the belly button

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Chronic Umbilical Wound

Two years!  I don't blame you for being frustrated.  I would say that there is a high probability that you have a permanent suture that is causing the problem.  It's probably one used to plicate your muscles.  An exploration of the area with local anesthesia should uncover the source.  If it is a suture it can be removed.  Your wound will heal up and that should be the end of it.  Cultures would be helpful in case there is a chronic infection that needs to be treated.  If your original surgeon won't do it, see another, more experienced one.  A dermatologist is not the person to take care of this.  A plastic surgeon will know what and where to look for the suture.  Good Luck!

Lori H. Saltz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Chronic Belly Button Drainage Needs Surgery

A chronic non-healing belly button after a  tummy tuck is a sign of an underlying problem. This may be due to chronic irritation of a knot from a fascial plication suture, a retained knot from a dermal suture used to close the belly button or a portion of the umbilical stalk that is trapped under the skin creating a chronic draining cyst due to epithelial turnover. The cyst problem is the most likely explanation and I have seen several patients who have developed the same problem. At two yeats after your tummy tuck this is a surgical problem. There is an underlying problem and the entire belly button needs to be excised and reclosed for a final solution.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Non-healing belly button after tummy tuck

Based on your clinical history and the photo, the reason this is not healing is likely due to a non-absorbable suture which is preventing the skin from healing. The photo has the characteristic look of a foreign body reaction with the foreign body likely being a suture. You should have your surgeon evaluate this and possibly explore this under local anesthesia. Once the suture is removed, the wound should heal.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 377 reviews

Maybe a retained suture

It looks as if you have a chronic low grade infection which could have resulted from a retained suture, like one of the sutures used to bring your muscles together. See a plastic surgeon, and get your old op report.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Nonhealing belly button after tummy tuck

If it has been that long and you continue to have a problem with your belly button not healing, you need to have a thorough examination. The most likely reasons would be an infection that has never been adequately treated or a permanent suture that has gotten infected or at least contaminated.  Your surgeon can tell you if any permanent sutures were put in. You can request a copy of your operative report and ask another question on this site if the sutures listed in the report are dissolving or permanent.

James McMahan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Umbilicus problem two years after tummy tuck

My first question is whether any physician has taken a culture of the care to make a diagnosis.  Could this be a bacterial infection or MRSA?  You need a differential diagnosis before a treatment plan can be made.  I'd encourage you to see another plastic surgeon for a second opinion and to ask your dermatologist or surgeon to take a biopsy of the area to rule out anything unusual.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Non-healing umblical wound

I assume that you have be followed by your initial plastic surgeon and he sent you to a dermatologist?  Ask your surgeon for a referral to a more experienced plastic surgeon for another opinion.  Without an examine and a working knowledge of your case,  I can only speculate as to how to proceed.  A retained foreign body or suture could cause a none healing wound.  I imagine the dermatologist would have done a biopsy if they were so inclined.  Sorry for your vexing problem. Keep exploring your options!

Craig Harrison, MD, PA
Tyler Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

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