Major Belly Button Problems After Tummy Tuck. Any suggestions? (photos)

I got a TT 12 weeks ago. My bb has been slow to heal. My PS said that's normal. I got a second opinion and that PS said it wasn't sewn correctly and that caused the belly button to collapse in. Per the 2nd PS, I started using aquacel to stuff inside of it to aid in healing and it healed too fast and started to close up. I then stopped using aquacel and just stuffed it with gauze and it has now closed. Please help with some type of explanation as to why and how in the world this could happen.

Doctor Answers 8

Better things to come

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Hi Raify

Thank you for sharing. It has obviously been a long healing process so your concerns are valid. 

It is likely that there has been a problem with the suturing with the BB, which has caused the wound to open up which results in what you describe and ends up as secondary healing and poorer scaring. If the problem is persistent and there is a persistent discharge then this is often due to a deeper suture that needs to be removed to allow this to heal.

If this has healed fully it tends to close up in its entirety due to the haphazard scaring which has not been controlled. BB correction can be performed to recreate a neat more cosmetically acceptable bb by removing all the scar tissue and refashioning a new BB. This needs to occur once the scar has matured and settled, which will be in about 6-12 months after surgery. And a specialist PS who deals with these should be able to put this right for you.

All the best with the outcome.

Tummy Tuck belly button healing problems

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Thank you for your question. The majority of belly button healing problems stem from poor blood flow. This could have occurred during your tummy tuck surgery or from a prior procedure such as a ventral hernia repair. Healing problems also commonly occur in smokers. At this point, allow it to fully heal and then you may consider the need for revision surgery. Keep in contact with your plastic surgeon. Hope this helps and good luck.


Belly button

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Belly button issues are one of the main complications of tummy tuck surgery. Assuming that your original surgeon is board certified with a lot of tummy tuck experience, I would advise you to trust his or her recommendation and not confuse yourself with second opinions. Your belly button may heal fine. Or it may need a revision. Only time will tell. 
My best,
Dr. Sheila Nazarian
@drsheilanazarian on Instagram

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Belly button problems

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Belly buttons give everyone trouble. It's way too early for you to panick. If your plastic surgeon was board certified, did a ton of tummy tucks and operated on you at a certified are in good hands. Talk to her, or him, and don't confuse yourself with second opinions by others, ...after the fact. For example ask the one who said it "wasn't sewed up correctly" ; have you had simillar outcomes? I'll bet you that the odds are he, or she, has. I suspect your belly button will eventually heal and you will be happy. But you must wait weeks and months even before the dust settles. Don't lose heart and good lck.

Ayman Hakki, MD
Waldorf Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Belly button problems

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 It is not uncommon, especially in smokers, patients with large ventral hernia's, or previous incisions around the belly button to suffer from a lack of blood flow after a tummy tuck. From the photographs, it's my opinion, that's is what has happened to you. The bellybutton did not have enough blood supply and has undergone necrosis. This has nothing to do with improperly placed sutures and unless you are there watching the surgeon place them I'm not sure how that comment could be made at all. It's not the end of the world. If you wait several months for everything to soften up a new belly button can be made for you. Follow up with your plastic surgeon.

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Major Belly Button Problems After Tummy Tuck. Any suggestions?

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My over the internet opinion is complete umbilical necrosis or loss. Reconstruction after a few more months of scar maturation is indicated.....

Bellybutton issues

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The bottom line is that no other surgeon, second opinion or not, can definitively say whether or not the bellybutton was sewn correctly. Unless on examining you there was some definitive abnormality of the suture placement, which would be uncommon.
There are many variables which can come into play. The placement of the suture, the tension on the wound, your body's innate healing capacity, medical issues such as diabetes, smoking, aggressiveness of the surgical dissection, prior bellybutton surgeries, etc.
It sounds like it has been a real drag getting the wound healed, but luckily it is closed over now. From the looks of it, you may want some kind of bellybutton revision down the line. Luckily, many such procedures can be performed under straight local in the office. I hope your recovery from here on out is smooth sailing! Best of luck!
Dr. Subbio
Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon
Newtown Square/Philadelphia, PA

Christian Subbio, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

May need belly button revision

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Sorry to hear about your tummy tuck recovery.  I suspect that you may need a belly button revision down the road.  Its hard to know as there is a chance that after all healing is done your belly button appearance may be acceptable.  There may not be anything for you to do now as the healing process is still underway.  There are a variety of belly button revisions that may be available to you once you're healed up.  Your plastic surgeon will be able to discuss the pros and cons of each option when the time comes.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 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.