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Feeling tightness and muscle pain in stomach. CAT scan showed no hernia. What is wrong?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2568 Questions
i had a tummy tuck and the belly button was too high so i had a revision to lower the belly button. My muscles never stopped hurting and I was having alot of tightness. Since the revision i have the same tightness and pulling and tightness on both sides now and i have shooting pains in my belly button when i try to do sit ups or just get in a sitting poisiton, i think my muscle opened up. could this be causing my tightness and pulling. cat scan showed no hernia. I am basically crippled with this and am wits end. could you tell me what is wrong. ALso my tummy burns when i try to do any activity.
the lower part of my tummy is also very heavy and pulling just above the scar line. Doc. wants to send me for pain management but how will that help my pulling.
Posted Sat, 4 Aug 2012 in Abdominal Pain
Answered by Dr. Prasad 9 hours later


Thanks for the query.

Tightness and uneasy sensation are associated with tummy tuck procedure. But these sensations are known to fade away in a few weeks following it. You haven't mentioned how long ago this surgery was done.

A few reasons which I feel may be causing the tightness is
1. Stretching of skin / muscles.
2. Inflammatory collection in the subcutaneous tissue.
3. Painful scar.

If the procedure was performed long ago, the scar could be the most important cause of your discomfort.

Discussing with your operating surgeon would be useful to determine the exact cause.

Hope this answers your query. Let me know if you have any other inquiries.

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Follow-up: Feeling tightness and muscle pain in stomach. CAT scan showed no hernia. What is wrong? 3 hours later
The original surgery was XXXXXXX 2011, i never felt right. I felt like my body was rejectig the stitches in the muscle. I had the rvision on Dec. 2011 which didn't solve the problem of the tightness, heaviness. It has been long enough to stretch. All I do is try to stretch, do physical therapy, acupunture and no help. I have no fluid, when I bend over it feels like a belt around my waist is too tight. Something is not right and I've been to my PS and a General Surgeon. Tell me pain management. I have shooting pains in my belly button or the one they made for me. I was told my muscle has come apart a little. Will pulling the muscle back and fixing the belly button again which I think is ripping away from the muscle help,. Could it be scar tissue causing the tightness. Please help me. I can't even stand for long. wear pants that hit my skin. I can't even go to work. I feel like everyone is dismissing me. My first PS told me it was all in my head. If I push my muscles together near my belly button I feel better. I feel the problem is my belly button and the whole strip on both sides. It is causing tenion on my whole abdomen. Please help
Answered by Dr. Prasad 16 hours later

I apologize for the delayed response.

Abdominal tightness following tummy tuck is not meant to last for so long. Such long lasting complaints need to be analysed by a doctor. I wish I had an opportunity to examine and tell you if everything is in order. As I do not have this opportunity, let me provide some information which you can take forward through your doctor.

1. Lax abdominal muscles are tightened using absorbable sutures during tummy tuck. I do not expect you to have such immense everlasting pain if the muscles have partially come apart.
2. If the muscles are separated totally, intra-abdominal contents can herniate through the separation. This kind of incisional hernia can cause pain and discomfort. Herniation is common when the intraabdominal pressure increases during bending, straining, coughing or passing stool. We can confirm this through radiological tests - ultrasonography / computed tomography (CT) / Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
3. Scar tissues are usually asymptomatic. However occasionally they can become painful. They can be rectified by surgery. However since the chances of recovery varies, it would be better to try conservative pain management before opting for surgical revision.

Hence if I were to be your treating doctor, I would suggest you to try the pain management. Discuss with your surgeon if you have an incisional hernia due to the muscles giving way. Non invasive test like the radiological tests as suggested can be considered if symptoms are not improving.

Hope this serves as a guidelines towards your cure. Let me know if you have any more inquiries.

Good luck!!

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