Is it muscle inflammation or did I bust a stitch internally? (Photo)

I had a FTT on 7/7/2016. My postop is unremarkable n completely pleased. 4 wks after surgery I had a coughing spell. My abs wave like a water bed n was very painful. I didn't hear a pop, just pain. 3m later, I have swelling R side. It's not apparent everyday n painful when I cough. My PS thought inflammation but after I told him about the coughing spell, he thinks it could be a busted stitch. 1 of my options is to go back in to repair. From the pictures and experience, what do you think?

Doctor Answers 3

Did I bust a stitch internally after tummy tuck surgery?

I am sorry to hear about the problem you are experiencing. Early out of tummy tuck surgery, the concern with your description would be, the potential for disruption of sutures that are holding the abdominal wall muscles together in the midline.  If enough disruption occurs, the result could be separation of the abdominal wall muscles and localized or complete, abdominal wall laxity ( similar to preoperative situation).

In general, it would take a significant amount of pressure to “tear" the muscle repair after tummy tuck surgery. This event would likely be associated with significant discomfort. A change in your physical examination, such as increased swelling, bleeding, a new onset "bulge" would also be likely.

Generally speaking, abdominal wall muscle plication performed during tummy tuck surgery is quite secure; disruption is very unusual.  You will be best off following up with your plastic surgeon who will be your best resource when it comes to accurate assessment, advice, and/or meaningful reassurance.

Best wishes.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Reason for weird post op swelling

There are any number of things that could be causing your asymmetric swelling. Without assessing you in person, it is literally impossible to say. For now, I would probably advise you to wait until you are 6 months post op and then reassess. So sorry that you are experiencing this.


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Tummy tuck "swelling" options

Thank you for the question and photos.  Sometimes these issues are hard to define in terms of what exactly is occurring.  There are several potential sources of "swelling" including:


-loose muscles


-excess fat

I would definitely give it plenty of time before you make any decisions.  Perhaps a little liposuction revision would be all that is needed to camouflage that area.

Thank you,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 162 reviews

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.