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Did a bumper car ride damage my tummy tuck, performed two weeks ago?

Q:

I had a tummy tuck two weeks ago.  I went on the bumper cars at a carnival over the weekend.  I was holding my arms across my abdomen but experienced a few good "bumps."  I had a little pain afterwards, but nothing horrible.  Everything  looks pretty good, except for a tiny bit of swelling and twitching/spasms to the left of my belly button.  My belly button, by the way, has a stitch that pulled loose six days after the surgery and is slowly closing, but still draining a little.  Do you think the bumper car experience did any harm to the healing of the tummy tuck? 

A:

I really hate to say this but you have to be kidding.  It is extremely inadvisable to participate in activities such as bumper cars so soon after major surgery.  You should return to your surgeon for an exam expeditiously.  Be sure to ask your surgeon some questions on activity restrictions following your tummy tuck. 

Best,

Gary R. Culbertson, MD, FACS

A:

Recovery and rest are important to successful outcomes after plastic surgery.  Compliance with post-operative instructions decreases risks for complications.  Abdominoplasty is a major surgical procedure which requires at least 2-3 weeks of limited activity, and 6 weeks or longer of no strenuous activity such as heavy lifting and fitness activities.  I would include with this list forceful activities such as carnival rides, horseback riding, etc.  Using good judgment and some common sense are also key to a non-complicated recovery process and a good result after cosmetic surgery.  You need to see your physician for evaluation after experiencing symptoms after a carnival ride.  Non-compliance with post-operative activity restrictions can lead to complications such as bleeding, swelling, seromas (fluid collections), and wound or muscle separation, with a less than optimal surgical result.

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