Abdominal muscle stitching after tummy tuck. Did I rip my stitches?

Posted on September 23, 2010


I got a question from a woman worried she ripped out her internal sutures two weeks after a tummy tuck when she fell.  How would she know?

Tummy tucks are a two layer repair.

When we repair the separation, we normally use very strong suture, and we do two layers.  I know you Bay Area women will be tough on my repair. I do one layer of interrupted sutures (so if one loosens the whole thing won’t unzip) reinforced by a layer of running suture.

You CAN pull out the internal sutures.  When we stitch you closed, your body needs to scar it into place.  After a tummy tuck we don’t let you do any exercise, heavy lifting, or straining for weeks.  I don’t let my patients work out their core (sit ups, pilates) for three months after surgery.  Wound tensile strength is weakest at 3 weeks out. (!!)

Give your belly time to really cement in.

So even though it is hard for my Bay Area uber athletic types, no exercise at all for 4-6 weeks minimum and no core for 3 months.  Even if you follow these instructions to a tee, scarred sutured tissue is never as strong as your original tissue.  But alas we don’t have the option of having the body and tissue of a 20 year old with no kids.


Back to the original question.  At two weeks out, if you had an abrupt move and you tore a stitch, it would not be subtle- you would most likely have had a sharp pain, bruising, and a bulge in the area.  You have to see your doctor.