A few days after seeing another surgeon's patient, who was unhappy with a painful abdominal bulge one week after a tummy tuck, into my office walks in another dissatisfied 45-year-old tummy tuck patient from Oxnard--but she is one year after her surgery.
I had a tummy tuck approximately 12 months ago. My upper abdomen is perfect, but, right underneath my belly button on the right side, there is a bulge. I have no idea what this is from. Is it a weakness in my muscles?
The potential causes of this irregularity are different one year after surgery than they are immediately after an operation....
- inadequate fat excision or liposuction at the time of the surgery (which is an artistic error)
- inadequate or asymmetrical skin excision (which is also an artistic error)
- muscular weakness (either because the stitches used to tighten the muscles came loose or because recent weight fluctuations re-stretched out the muscles in some areas)
- chronic seroma (which is a benign fluid collection that never fully resolves on its own)
- organized hematoma (which is the scar that replaces an undrained blood collection)
- organized fat necrosis (which is the scar that replaces dead fat cells)
In most of the above circumstances, repeat surgery is required to correct the complication. However, a mini-abdominoplasty approach is usually adequate, and the full incision does not usually need to be reopened.