The following question from our forum is from a woman who had a tummy tuck one year ago, then had another tummy tuck to correct the bad results from the first one. During the second operation the surgeon could find no evidence of prior sutures in the abdomen. She is trying to find out why.

Date: 03/12/2010 Submitted by: Delia

Hi, my question is regarding a Tummy tuck that I had a year ago. I had to redo it because The results were awful. When the second plastic surgeon went in to tight my muscle he didn’t find any evidence of suture, so he has to tight my muscles again. So in this case, what could happened. When I asked the first surgeon he said that he used absorbable suture. Is this makes any sense? Can this be possible? Please, help me with this matter. I feel frustrated. Thanks. Delia


Date: 03/12/2010 Submitted by: Tanner


I know very little about the surgical use of sutures but as I understand it most surgeons use a combination of absorbable and permanent sutures for tummy tuck surgery. Absorbable sutures for surface/skin sutures and permanent sutures to tighten muscles. That would make sense.

Out of curiosity I did a little research and found the following that may provide additional information.

“Normally, permanent sutures are only used inside to hold the muscle in place. Generally, skin sutures are dissolvable.”

Many surgeons refer to “tightening of the muscles”. This is in fact never done during a tummy tuck. Rather, the fascia, the tough lining of the muscles, is tightened.

I can see why you are frustrated. You are probably thinking.. Did my first surgeon make a mistake and use the wrong type of suture? Did he just not suture my stomach muscles and lie about it later?

You may never know. Even if he did use absorbable stitches to tighten you muscles, or for that matter did not tighten your muscles at all, it may not be “legally wrong” and that choice may be at the discretion of the surgeon. What does your second surgeon say about this?

If you don’t get a clear cut answer and you really want closure on this it seems like you have a long road ahead of you. Consulting with other surgeons (your only real source of medical expertise), checking into the background of the first surgeon (for previous lawsuits and malpractice) then if appropriate, contacting lawyers to see if you have any legal recourse can extend your frustration for months or years. Is the time spent, money spent, sleepless nights and additional frustration worth it? Good luck.