American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals
 
AJAManc
one year ago
Answered

Incision not healing

So I'm 4 weeks post op for my tummy tuck. Everything seems to have settled well and my incision has healed up nicely...apart from 1 small section on my right hand side. A small hole has not closed up. I've been told numerous times it will close but hasn't. It's not infected as I've taken a course of antibiotics. Neither it is leaking puss. What should I do?

Procedure: Tummy Tuck
Type: Question

Replies 5

Nelson Castillo

Thank you for sharing your question and I am sorry to hear of your delayed healing. Separations often take several weeks to months to fully heal so if the area is improving, hold the course, but if it has stalled or worsened then you need to revisit your surgeon for further recommendations.

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Debra Johnson
ASPS Surgeon
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Delayed healing is the most common risk from a tummy tuck. Keeping the area clean is important. Then cover with some antibiotic ointment and a dry gauze. It can take several weeks to heal completely so don’t lose faith. The resulting scar will be a bit purplish for awhile but in the long run will likely look fine. If it doesn’t, a small scar revision might improve things.

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Gregory Dowbak
ASPS Surgeon

Things to think of if all of above fails: 1) auto-immune cause. Typically there is delay in diagnosis of up to 2-3 years because surgeons do not think of this. Typically a small opening gets gradually worse and nothing works, not antibiotics, not time, not hyperbaric oxygen, nothing...except for anti-immune medications. Healing then occurs rapidly. An example is called pyoderma granulosum. Failure to diagnose results in tragedy. 2) unusual infection such as mycobacterium. This organism has very thick wall and therefore very difficult to treat. Also difficult to diagnose as it is necessary to use special techniques to grow out in labs. Hopefully none of this is happening to you. If you decide to get second opinion, never, ever tell second opinion surgeon the name of previous surgeon, their opinion and course of action. Nothing stops thinking faster than this information.

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Michael Streitmann
ASPS Surgeon
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Please consider consulting with your doctor, but a tummy tuck takes time to heal. Best of luck to you.

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Matthew Camp
ASPS Surgeon
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This is unfortunate. Sometimes these incisions take weeks to heal - some times up to 8 weeks in the case of a disrupted wound. Generally local hygiene, petrolatum jelly and patience result in healing. If this does not occur, secondary surgery to excise the wound may be required. This is especially the case if the wound develops a epithelial lining. Best of luck.

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