To prevent infection for my tummy tuck I was instructed to walk around to the far side of the table where on the floor lay some towels for me to stand on. With me positioned in the center of the towels, the plastic surgeon brought out a small towel and small metal container filled with a reddish brown liquid (the topical antiseptic that they put on the patient prior to operating to keep things sterile).


Infections require immediate attention.

I was told to remove my gown and he proceeded to get on his knees and “paint” my body with the antiseptic liquid. He generously applied the liquid over my entire body except, my hands, my head and my private parts. When he was satisfied that I was sufficiently coated with the material, I was cautioned to extend my arms and not to touch anything with my hands as they would contaminate the sterile environment. Must have been quite a sight. Me, almost naked, painted red with my arms extended out being asked to maneuver myself to step on the stool adjacent to the operating table and sit on the table, then lie back without touching anything with my hands.

What Is A Tummy Tuck Infection?

With regard to a tummy tuck, an infection is an uncontrolled growth of harmful microorganisms in your body which can interfere with the normal function or your organs and lead to wounds, gangrene, loss of limb and death. Infections after the surgery can delay the healing process and recovery time and possibly cause more prominent scarring. Infections are serious business. For example, staph infections can get into and cause damage to internal organs, valves, muscles and bones. Staph can spread through the blood and can cause a condition called sepsis, which is life-threatening.

Can I Get Infected In the Operating Room?

Anything is possible but the operating room is clean and sterile. Before your surgery your surgeon will scrub you with an antibacterial solution to prevent infection.

How Do I Get An Infection?

Most times the surgical wound becomes infected by the failure of the patient to follow his doctors orders in keeping the wound clean, changing bandages, taking antibiotics and knowing when it’s safe to expose the wound to water.

What Are The Signs Of Infection?

Early indications of an infection include fever, chills and sweating. If you examine your incision area and see increased redness, experience increased pain around the wound, hardness of tissue around the wound area, an opening in the wound, discharge of pus or thick yellowish/greenish liquid or if the discharge from the incision area does not stop you may have an infection.

How Do I Treat An Infection?

Infections after surgery are treated trough the use of antibiotics, increased drainage and keeping the incision area clean and protected.

When Do Infections After Surgery Occur?

If you get an infection it will generally occur within the first 6 weeks of your surgery.

How Can I Prevent An Infection After Surgery?

After you are home it is your job to take care of yourself and keep the wound area clean, bandaged, protected and free from germs. When it comes time to wash the wound area be sure to use antimicrobial soaps. (It’s also a good idea to wash with antimicrobial soaps for the few days before surgery). Washing with antibacterial soap will remove staph bacteria which are naturally found on the skin.

How Long Should The Surgical Wound Drain?

Drainage after surgery is common. Drainage after 10 days may indicate infection or a seroma.

How Can I Be Sure I Have An Infection After My Tummy Tuck?

Go to doctor. He is the only one that can tell for sure. He may culture the discharge to find out exactly what’s going on and treat you accordingly.

General Signs Of An Infected Surgical Incision

  1. Feeling of tiredness and lack of energy that won’t go away and does not get better each day following surgery.

  2. Fever with chills. A low-grade fever (100 F or less) is common in the days following surgery, a fever of 101 or more should be reported to the surgeon.

  3. Loss of appetite, headache.

  4. Hot Incision. An infected incision may feel hot to the touch.

  5. Hardening of the incision.

  6. Puffy or swollen appearance of the incision.

  7. Increasing redness at the incision area or redness that won’t go away with time.

  8. Foul smelling green, white, yellow, blood tainted, thick, chunky drainage. (take your pick)

  9. Increase of pain or pain that won’t subside with time.

  10. Skin Changes at the incision area. Rashes, bumps, raw looking, lumpy, ripples or swollen.

 What Is A Staph?

Staph (staphylococcus aureus) is a bacteria the lives on the skin.

What Is A Staph Infection After Surgery?

A staph infection occurs when staph gets into the body through the surgical incision or wound.

Surgical Area Discharge Guide

Discharge and drainage from an incision/wound area is subjective and requires an expert evaluation, but generally appear as follows.

  1. Clear yellow fluid – possibly serous fluid

  2. Clear, yellow and slightly oily discharge (chicken broth with fat droplets) – possible sign of fat necrosis (liquefied fat)

  3. Clear yellow/orange discharge – possible self draining seroma

  4. Thicker opaque white or green – possible infection