Author Topic: Fluid leaking from bellybutton! Anyon experience this?  (Read 13329 times)

Offline ciremulb

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Fluid leaking from bellybutton! Anyon experience this?
« on: February 15, 2012, 12:45:22 AM »
Hi! I'm new to this forum. I had an abdominoplasty 5 weeks ago in Mexico because I had a very large weight loss over the past few years and wanted to get rid of the excess skin. While coming out of the anesthesia I inadvertently ripped the drain out. A few hours later they took me back to surgery and replaced the drain. Approx. 10 days after the surgery the drain fell out and the wound healed. Ever since then the fluid (synovial?) that would have been coming out the drain is coming out of my bellybutton. It leaks all day long and I have to sleep with a rag held in place with an elastic bandage. If I lean over the sink and massage my stomach great quantities of the fluid pour out. There is no odor and I have been checked for infection, which was negative.
Has anyone else experienced this and, if so, how long did it take to heal and the dripping to stop? As I said, it's been 5 weeks and other than this all is well.
Thanks!

Offline DrBermant

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Re: Fluid leaking from bellybutton! Anyon experience this?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2012, 01:27:05 AM »
Hi! I'm new to this forum. I had an abdominoplasty 5 weeks ago in Mexico because I had a very large weight loss over the past few years and wanted to get rid of the excess skin. While coming out of the anesthesia I inadvertently ripped the drain out. A few hours later they took me back to surgery and replaced the drain. Approx. 10 days after the surgery the drain fell out and the wound healed. Ever since then the fluid (synovial?) that would have been coming out the drain is coming out of my bellybutton. It leaks all day long and I have to sleep with a rag held in place with an elastic bandage. If I lean over the sink and massage my stomach great quantities of the fluid pour out. There is no odor and I have been checked for infection, which was negative.
Has anyone else experienced this and, if so, how long did it take to heal and the dripping to stop? As I said, it's been 5 weeks and other than this all is well.
Thanks!

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a retired Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Welcome to our forum.

Draining wounds are not normal after surgery and should be evaluated by the responsible surgeon. If I was still practicing and you were my patient, I would have wanted to know about such issues immediately so that I could take appropriate action. Have you contacted your surgeon?

I saw patients from around the world who preferred my techniques, so that Travel for Tummy Tuck Surgery can be a reasonable option. It required a compulsiveness and methodology to minimize any need for a patient to have drainage after leaving Virginia. If travel to Mexico was to visit a specialist who has refined their sculpture, awesome. However, I have seen so many horror stories from those who wanted to save money and were not as compulsive on surgeon selection. Unfortunately, Not All Surgeons Have the Same Skills nor Use the Same Methods. There is a growing medical tourism industry offering discount surgery without all of the details needed in making informed choices. Documenting your experiences can help others understand the process and issues involved.

Drains After Tummy Tuck play a critical role in removing excess fluid and keeping the potential space created during surgery together. We came close to not needing drains, but never achieved that level in abdominal surgery that we did achieve for so many other types of surgery. My feeling is that the stomach contents do not provide a good target for compression dressings like the rib cage for the chest or breast. The lack of interior support made the drain a friend. Just how long it needed to stay depended on many factors.

When clear serous fluid collects inside of tissue it is called a Seroma.  There are other possible fluid collections. Thes one of many possible  Tummy Tuck Risks for Complications that I cautioned each of my patients about before surgery.

There are many such possible complications that can cause drainage after surgery depending on the original problem, what was done, and many other factors best known to the original surgeon or someone who is evaluating the problem for a second opinion. Some patients are not good candidates for the operation. Knowing just who to operate on and explaining those issues is part of the hallmark of good surgery. Poor surgical candidates is just one of many possible factors that can cause drainage issues. Burned tissue from cautery, injured lymph drainage system (right in the middle of the tummy tuck groin dissection), injury of tissue, leaving tissue without blood supply, dead tissue, infection, tissue planes not holding together, an opening into the abdominal cavity are just some of many other possibilities. Drains coming out too soon can be a factor. It is even an art form in the rituals needed to keep drains in as long as a surgeon wants them there.

Leaking fluid at the surface may just be the tip of a much bigger deeper problem yet to show itself. Unless the deeper problem is rectified, the surface closing will not solve the deeper issue. Some leakage issues can turn into long term problems such as a Chronic Seroma, especially there is an underlying factor that has not been addressed. This is a mess and can be quite difficult to rectify.

Please fill us in on any additional details and keep us posted on your progress. Hopefully this is just a transient blip in the recovery process.

Posting pictures can help others understand your concerns and show things that just do not seem to be out there to learn from.

Hope this helps,

Michael Bermant, MD
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Michael Bermant, MD
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Offline ciremulb

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Re: Fluid leaking from bellybutton! Anyon experience this?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2012, 12:04:55 PM »
Dr B:
Thanks so much for your reply. The physician I chose in Mexico is US Board certified and has been practicing (both in Mexico and the US) for 30 years.
Since posting the drainage has stopped but I fear that it stopped not because the interior wound healed but the bellybutton finally healed over. There was some minor bleeding from the bellybutton after healing.
Your comment about the possibility of "chronic seroma" has me concerned. Can you tell me how that condition is diagnosed? I'm planning on going to Mexico for a follow up visit within the next week to 10 days, just to get his opinion on how I'm healing.
Thanks again and I'll keep you posted.

Offline DrBermant

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Re: Fluid leaking from bellybutton! Anyon experience this?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2012, 03:04:39 PM »
Dr B:
Thanks so much for your reply. The physician I chose in Mexico is US Board certified and has been practicing (both in Mexico and the US) for 30 years.
Since posting the drainage has stopped but I fear that it stopped not because the interior wound healed but the bellybutton finally healed over. There was some minor bleeding from the bellybutton after healing.
Your comment about the possibility of "chronic seroma" has me concerned. Can you tell me how that condition is diagnosed? I'm planning on going to Mexico for a follow up visit within the next week to 10 days, just to get his opinion on how I'm healing.
Thanks again and I'll keep you posted.

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a retired Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

I never had a patient with a chronic seroma. There would be many tools I would use to make such a diagnosis, the hands on my exam and history would be where I would start. I would never make a diagnosis such as that over the phone nor want a patient anywhere but right near me to help them if there were drainage issues. Remote management of draining wounds is not a good method, in my opinion.

Such questions are best answered by the your doctor.

We look forward to hearing about your progress.

Hope this helps,

Michael Bermant, MD
Learn More About Tummy Tuck Abdominoplasty Surgery
Michael Bermant, MD
Retired Plastic Surgeon
Surgical Sculptor, Artist, Creative Thinker, Problem Solver
Plastic Surgery
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