I had a tummy tuck in 2016. Now, I am having a discharge from my navel that isn't healing. This happened 3 years after the procedure and again 6 years after the procedure. My surgeon doesn't know what's causing the discharge. Should I see a wound care doctor? Taken several rounds of antibiotics. CT scan doesn't show anything. Colonoscopy is good.
Take a look at your operative report. A common cause of this type of event could be a non-dissolvable braded suture (mersaline, ethibond, etc.). A post operative patient can get a chronic draining stitch abscess from these types of sutures. That is why many plastic surgeons today use sutures that are monfilament and dissolve away with time on their cosmetic (adbdominoplasty) patients (PDS, etc.). PDS (polydioxanone) sutures are much more expensive sutures and can even have antibotics embedded into the suture material. Best,
Gary R Culbertosn, MD, FACS
When there are recurrent draining infections in the periumbilical area (belly button) following tummy tuck surgery, surgical exploration should be considered. There may a retained infected suture. A normal CT scan can rule out other more serious problems; however, it will usually miss an infected suture.
I hope this information is helpful to you.
Dr. Lawrence S. Glassman, MD
Very good question. Unfortunately this can happen several years after a tummy tuck. It can be what others here have described, a suture abscess.
Also where did you have your tummy tuck done ? I have had patients who had procedures done abroad who had developed atypical mycobacterial infections.
The first step would be to visit a board certified plastic surgeon for an examination. If your surgeon is someone local, it is always preferable to address these issues with your operating surgeon.
Discharge from a wound is usually from a suture down in it. It can happen with any kind of surgery and and can happen many years after. Every surgeon should be and is familiar with this no matter what specialty. A so called wound care doctor is not going to help you. You need to see a plastic surgeon or general surgeon close to where you live. You need a wound culture and perhaps some other testing that the surgeon will decide what is needed.
It sounds like you've had a complex, expensive workup for a likely simple problem. When a nonabsorbable stitch material is used to tighten the muscles in a tummy tuck, it can get a chronic, or low level infection. This will usually manifest as drainage from the navel, which may come and go, especially if antibiotics are given. The solution is removal of the suture. The fact that your surgeon has not suggested this is a bit worrisome. He/she should offer to remove it at minimal if any cost. A new surgeon would likely charge more since they would be inheriting someone else's complication. Good luck!