Graphic/gross. Is this infected or fat necrosis? (Photos)

16 days post op saw the Dr on 12 she changed my antibiotic told me that I need to shower everyday let the water run down the incision keep antibiotic ointment on it. Day 15 saw the nursse who called this fat necrosis and my body is pushing old fat out. I still have drains (3) that are draining slowly more coagaulated looking 2 are yellowish and 1 is dark red. what does fat necrosis mean, how long will it take to heal, will I need another surgery, is this suppose to hurt, why is it really swollen

Doctor Answers 8


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Thank you for your question. It is important to consult with your surgeon as soon as possible. He /She will be able to give you the best details regarding the post op process. Best of luck

Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

Fluids Being Drained 15 Days Post-Op

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I do not use drains any more with this procedure and have switched from pain pumps to Exparel which is a long acting injectable pain medicine like Lidocaine or Marcaine but lasts for three days. This is termed the Pain-less, Drainless Tummy Tuck. If you go to a doctor who uses #drains, they usually stay in 3-5 days but may be required to remain in longer. 

Now that your drains have been in over two weeks and the fluid you described is being pushed out it is likely that there could be an infection and it should be examined closely by your surgeon directly. Although scars may stay red, become thick or widen for 12-18 months while they settle, it sounds like your yellow and red drainage indicate other issues. See your surgeon to make sure there are no problems. Good luck!

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Graphic/gross. Is this infected or fat necrosis? (Photos)

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Thank you for the question and photo. From reviewing your photos it appears that you have some swelling. An exam certainly help and without that it is difficult to guide you. I would recommend a close follow up with your board certified plastic surgeon. If there is infection antibiotics can help. The wound may require debridement. Good luck.


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Thank you for the question and photos and from the photos without an examination, you appear to have some vascular compromise to your incision with cellulitis and needs to be medically managed ASAP to avoid wound opening

Dr Corbin

Frederic H. Corbin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Tissue necrosis

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It is best to follow your surgeon closely. Your tummy tuck looks like it is going through some healing issues that requires close monitoring and may eventually require debridement.

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

Tummy tuck recovery

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Thanks for your inquiry and sorry for your struggles. The most important thing is to continue close monitoring of the wound by your surgeon. If you experience significant change in the drainage, redness, or fever makes sure your surgeon knows, good luck.  

Graphic/gross. Is this infected or fat necrosis?

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Thank you for sharing your question and photographs.  Unfortunately it appears that you are having some wound healing difficulty along the lower, middle portion of your tummy tuck incision.  This may be due to tension, decreased blood flow or a myriad of other factors.  You will need to follow the wound care instructions given to your by your surgeon to help your body heal from the inside-out over the next several weeks to month.  As far as swelling, it is not uncommon to have a substantial amount at 16 days but you may want to have your surgeon recommend a compression garment to minimize the amount as well as to ensure that you do not have a seroma.  Hope this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Mixed bag

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mixture of fat necrosis and wound breakdown, which isn't uncommon from TT procedures. Continue to see your PS or his/her nurse routinely to follow their preferred wound care regimen. While it looks scary, this problem will continue to work itself out with time, too early to tell if you will need another procedure or just some wound care. 

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.