The following post from our forum is from a woman who had a tummy tuck 2 months ago. She has one of the worst tummy tuck horror stories that I have heard. Just about everyghing went wrong.

Date: 12/09/2011 Submitted by: MairiWorst Tummy Tuck Horror Story – Everything Went Wrong

I had a tummy tuck with lipo on the hips and sides and full muscle repair on October 14, 2011. It is 8 weeks later and I am STILL in pain and STILL don’t really know what is going on with my body. I had a drain in each of my hips for about 3 weeks after my surgery. They were miserable!!

Once I got them out, I swelled to the size of the good year blimp…what I thought was going to be a nice flat stomach looked worse than it had after having 3 babies and lap band! I started to develop a fever in the evenings that I thought was odd. It started out low grade, nothing over 99.9. I told my doctor about it and he said it was fine, just do some deep breathing and take some tylenol. Well, a little over a week later, the fever was up to 103.8 and my husband took me to the emergency room here in our town. I had developed a squishy area just below my navel that was red and covered from the navel to the incision about the size of a slice of bread.

The ER doctor called my surgeon who is in a town about 60 miles from me to notify him of my problem. Apparently, he wasn’t too concerned or there was a mis-communication between the two doctors…because the ER doctor whom I have known my whole life (he’s a member of my church…) came back and told me that my surgeon informed him that he wasn’t interested unless I had a surgical need. So, I was admitted and started on Vancomycin which I was informed is the equivalent of battery acid in antibiotic terms. This all happened 4 weeks after my surgery. I was in the hospital for 8 days. Once the fever went away I was discharged.

Two days after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to see my surgeon. I was still massively swollen and had also developed a spot on my lower stomach the size of a dime that looked like a clear watery blister. I had no idea what that was from…but thought maybe it was from the tape they had used to cover my opened areas of my incision while I was in the hospital. When I was in my surgeon’s office, he said I needed a new drain. So, he cut a small area of my incision (numbed it first…) and I felt a huge rush of hot fluid come out. He collected a culture of the fluid and sent it off to see what was going on. Then, he put in a soft rubbery tube and sutured it in place. I had to keep the area bandaged to catch the fluid and change it about 3 times a day. The culture came back a few days later saying I had STAPH. Awesome. I had the drain in until 4 days after Thanksgiving. The fluid had stopped coming out and I was flat again.

Well, that didn’t last. 4 days after I had the drain taken out, I was once again swollen so much that I had the over hang belly again and was so tight and hurting that my incision was splitting open. I called my surgeon (who I am certain at this point is sick of me…) and he says I have to come in to see him. When the little spots began to open, I noticed a mucusy looking fluid coming out of them. I went to the office, and had to have ANOTHER drain put in. He says it will have to stay there for 4 to 6 weeks. This time I wasn’t numbed before he cut the area to insert the drain and felt ever little stitch he did to hold it in. OUCH. The next day, the stitches popped and came out. I haven’t called to tell him yet either. He says if this doesn’t work, he may have to go back in and clean the area out and remove the stretched skin.

I have noticed that there are several perfectly round masses in my lower abdomen where I had the staph infection and I wonder if they will go away? I am still in pain with every breath, every step, every movement I make. I am no longer on any type of pain medication because my surgeon says I should be at the over the counter stage by now. I understand that for a person who is not having all these problems. I am rotting from the inside out though!! Motrin just isn’t doing the trick! He kinda’ acts like i’m an id**t too, which I don’t appreciate. I know my body well enough to know when something isn’t right with it. I mean, I’ve been using it for 31 years now…I think I should know when it’s messed up!

I don’t know what to do at this point…I am lost. I feel like an id**t when I try to ask questions about it and I feel like I am going to just have to learn to live with all this. That is, if it doesn’t kill me!!!!


Date: 12/09/2011 Submitted by: Tanner


Sorry to hear about all your problems.

That was one of the worst horror stories that I have heard of from a person who had a tummy tuck. It seems that you had just about all of the most common complications (and then some) after a tummy tuck including unsympathetic surgeon, seromas, additional drain tubes, fever, bloating, swelling, pain, infection, incision splitting open and popped stitches.

It’s good that you have the ER doctor as a friend. He should be able to guide you as to what to do from this point and give you the best advice.

Hopefully the worst is over.

Good luck,