If you’ve had a tummy tuck, you may be experiencing some new belly button issues. Here’s what to do about it. You’ve just had a tummy tuck, and now you’re dealing with some strange new belly button issues. This is normal—and actually pretty common. Here’s what to do if your belly button looks or feels different after your surgery.
It’s common for the skin around the belly button to look red or swollen after surgery. This is from the surgical site healing, and it should go away within a few weeks. If it doesn’t improve in that time, call your doctor and make an appointment so they can check on it for you.
The most common post-tummy tuck issue is a loose skin flap around the belly button where the incision was made during surgery (called “hernia”). A hernia is when skin bulges out from where it should be attached—in this case, at the top of your tummy tuck scar line—and can look like a little pouch under your skin or like a little bubble under there (like an air pocket). It will probably take months for this kind of thing to heal
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Belly button healing after tummy tuck
Although the tummy tuck is one of the most commonly performed plastic surgery procedures, it’s not without the potential for serious complications. Fortunately, you can ensure a safe experience by being aware of the inherent risks and choosing a surgeon who can minimize them. To help you get started, here are some of the most common tummy tuck complications that can arise, along with the proactive steps Dr. Rahban takes to prevent them.
“I am about a month and a half out and I love my stomach. I look like a teen again, lol. Dr. Rahban did such a great job! My scar is very thin and I’m sure in a couple months I won’t even have one.”Liz N.
Unsightly tummy tuck and belly button scars
Scarring is a primary concern for the vast majority of our patients – and with good reason. They want to show off their flat new abdomens proudly after their tummy tucks, without being embarrassed by unsightly or disfiguring scars.
The reality is that scars are an inevitability after a tummy tuck, but they don’t have to be severe or particularly visible. Ultimately, the scars that you’re left with are largely influenced by the skill of your surgeon, which is why it’s important to choose carefully. For example, Dr. Rahban has mastered a number of precise techniques that routinely result in faint and virtually imperceptible scars for his patients. First of all, he personally closes all of his incisions to ensure that you emerge from surgery with well-healed scars that don’t detract from your beautiful new abdomen.
Many, if not most plastic surgeons today have their surgical tech close the wound. In addition, Dr. Rahban closes multiple layers—not just the superficial layers. This matters because the deeper layers are those that give integrity to the wound, preventing tension and pull, both of which lead to thick wide scars. Moreover, his scars are placed very low, allowing patients to wear low riding underwear or bikini bottoms. Often patients complain that their scar is visible above the waist of their jeans, which unfortunately cannot be corrected after the fact.
All of this being said, the telltale sign of a bad tummy tuck is an unsightly belly button scar. While the other, horizontal scar can often be covered, the belly button is a dead giveaway that a patient had a tummy tuck. Reconstruction of the belly button is the last step of the procedure and is often hurried and an after thought. Dr. Rahban has refined his technique in order to create a natural and desirable belly button over the years. He takes great pride in how it looks and has made a name for himself based on his results.
Bleeding and infection
Bleeding and infection are very rare complications among Dr. Rahban’s patients, because he does everything within his power to minimize your risk. To begin, he will have you stop taking any medications that can promote bleeding for two full weeks prior to surgery, including aspirin, supplements and anti-inflammatories. To prevent an infection, he’ll have you rinse with an antiseptic soap the evening before and the day of surgery, and he’ll administer antibiotics during and after your procedure. He’ll also provide you with strict aftercare guidelines that he believes will ensure a smooth and infection-free recovery period.
Wound separation or dehiscence
When wound dehiscence occurs, the edges of your incision pull apart before the area is fully healed, causing bleeding, an open wound as well as other symptoms. In the most severe cases, your underlying tissue such as your muscle fascia may also be exposed.
Wound separation is a serious tummy tuck complication, but in most cases it is avoidable with proper post-operative instruction from your surgeon and great surgical technique.
Tissue death, or necrosis, occurs when tissue in the surgical area doesn’t receive sufficient blood flow. When this complication develops, the tissue turns dark and gangrenous, requiring prompt surgical removal. Your risk of experiencing tissue death after a tummy tuck increases if you smoke, you’re in poor health or your surgeon is too aggressive during your surgery. To minimize your risk, Dr. Rahban will send you for a thorough pre-operative evaluation and will not operate on you if he feels you are not a good candidate. Additionally, at the time of your surgery, he delicately handles the tissue and knows how much to remove in order to minimize unnecessary tension.
A pulmonary embolism occurs when blood clots develop in the lungs after surgery. It’s one of the most severe and dangerous tummy tuck complications, and requires immediate medical attention.
Fortunately, there are important steps both you and your surgeon can take to prevent blood clots. Dr. Rahban is very aggressive about prevention. He will place compression stockings on your legs during surgery, so blood can flow optimally while you’re in the operating room. In addition, he’ll administer a blood thinner, called heparin, to further reduce your risk. Many surgeons do not administer this drug, which is recommended by the American Lung Association. And finally, he’ll have you walk around immediately after surgery to encourage proper blood flow throughout your body.
Seroma formation occurs when fluid accumulates underneath your skin after surgery. This complication typically develops several weeks after your tummy tuck, and looks like a swollen lump or a large cyst that may be sore and tender to the touch. When this occurs, the fluid needs to be aspirated as soon as possible to ensure an optimal healing process.
To prevent seroma formation after your tummy tuck, Dr. Rahban will place drains around the incisions to direct fluid away from the area. He’ll also advise you to religiously wear a special compression garment he gives you and to avoid exercise for 6 weeks in order to allow the tissue planes to completely heal.