American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals
one year ago

Had tummy tuck 6 years ago and now experiencing discharge from my belly button

I have read information on your website regarding my issue, so I contacted the plastic surgeon who did the surgery right away. I was told to see my PCP. No explanation, no sense of concern from them. As if they didn't want to be bothered. I have no issue with seeing my PCP, but just wish the plastic surgeon's office had handled with more compassion.

Procedure: Tummy Tuck
Location: Washington, NC

Replies 4

Debra Johnson
ASPS Surgeon
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I would make sure your belly button is thoroughly clean. Sometimes debris can get lodged deep in the crevices and can cause drainage. If you have cleaned it well and there is still a discharge, I would see your primary care and ask for a culture to be taken. Also ask for a referral back to your plastic surgeon. Occasionally one of the deep sutures can fester and cause a small opening in the skin with drainage. It might require exploration to remove a suture which is not a huge deal, but should be taken care of. Don't take no for an answer, even if you have to pay a fee to return to your surgeon.

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Lawrence Glassman
ASPS Surgeon

The most likely cause for persistent drainage around the belly button is a chronically infected stitch. If a hernia repair and mesh were done at the same time as the abdominoplasty, the mesh can also be infected. If a person has had multiple previous abdominal surgeries or underlying medical problems, further evaluation may be needed. The bottom line: discharge from around the belly button is treatable and a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon knowledgeable in tummy tuck surgery and its possible complications should be consulted. I hope you find this information helpful.

Samir Shureih
ASPS Surgeon

The best person to know what was done is the original plastic surgeon.

Otherwise obtain a copy of your medical records and the operative note. then either to see your primary care or a second opinion with a Board certified Plastic Surgeon.

May require surgery to explore and remove the foreign body, a suture or another material used in the original surgery.Meanwhile as advised clean the belly button with Q-tips and Betadine .

Nelson Castillo

Thank you for sharing your question. I am sorry that you were passed off so quickly by your surgeons office. I would seek out the assistance of a medical professional to at least ensure you are safe and there's no active infection taking place. If felt to be due to a retained suture or other surgical issue, best to see your surgeon or another ASPS surgeon to have it managed.


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