Scar opening up under my belly button after tummy tuck 18 days post op. (photos)

I have a scare that is opening up under my belly button it's about 2 to 3 inches long. It's started like a small blister and now it's this ugly scare wit a lil clear drainage. There is no oder. It doesn't hurt but I'm very concerned. My ps said my skin was irritated from wearing the towel and compression garment. I'm ready to go to the ER for a second opinion. Is this commen?

Doctor Answers 6

Scab under belly button

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from your photos it appears you have some skin compromise. It is not unusual after a tummy. The belly button

is sutured down to the muscle to help create that nice sculptured appearance. The tightness can cause a decrease in the blood supply to the area. It will form a scab and will heal underneath. It will take several weeks. 

Cincinnati Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Scar Opening 18 Days Post-Op

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Basically about the healing of scars: It may take several months for a tummy tuck patient’s scars to soften, for sensation to return, and for relaxing of the tight sensation in the abdomen. In the case of extensive surgery, abdominoplasty recovery can be uncomfortable and may take longer. Scars may stay red, become thick or widen. It can take 12-18 months for the scars to settle.

These can be improved with topical treatments such as BioCorneum, Scar Guard, Scar Fade and Mederma. Redness can be improved with laser treatments and the scars can be kept narrow with products such as Embrace.  On occasion, keloids or hypertrophic scars can develop and will need treatment including Kenalog, 5FU and laser.

However, if the sutures keep opening and leaking fluids then it would likely be best to visit your surgeon as soon as possible to determine whether new stitches are needed. Good luck!

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

Wound under belly button

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What you are experiencing is not uncommon. Thankfully, given your description, there does not seem to be any infection. I don't think that a visit to the ER would be helpful. Continue to follow up with your surgeon and his or her wound care advice. I know it looks bad, but this should clear up with time. 


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Minor Abdominal Wound

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This appears to be superficial. Follow your Plastic Surgeon's advice and conservative wound care should be enough to heal this up well.

All the best

Tummy Tuck Concern

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Thank you for your question and photos  This scar is caused by compromised blood supply to the skin from the tightness of the tummy tuck as well as the belly button plication sutures.  This is not always avoidable as the skin and tissues of the abdomen can be very compromised as with stretch marks, scarring, or thinning associated with weight loss.  If you are a smoker or exposed to second hand smoke, you should stop immediately. While compression and irritation from garments can contribute to this problem it is not the primary cause.  The good news is that it does not appear to be infected and with time should heal well with minimal scarring.  An ER visit would be of very little value and only add to your expenses without signficantly changing your course.  You should discuss your concerns with your surgeon, follow up closely and ask for recommendations for how to care for the skin while it is healing.  Best wishes on your recovery.

No ER necessary

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Thank you for your question and photographs.  If there is no pain, fevers or foul odor, there is no need to waste money going to an ER.  When the tummy tuck is done, the skin and fat is elevated off of the abdominal muscles and, in the process, numerous blood vessels from the muscle to the skin are removed.  The lower abdominal skin has about 20% of it's normal blood supply by the end of the surgery which why it is taking a long time for this to heal.  The wound that you have sometimes happens with tummy tucks because the umbilicus is sutured down to the muscle and the skin is pulled tight below creating so much tension that a vertical segment of skin just below umbilicus dies due to inadequate blood supply.  Wearing the binder too tight can also contribute to this.  This will eventually dry up and a scab will come off as the skin gradually grows underneath it.  You will have a scar in that area that will improve over time. 

James McMahan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 40 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.