Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery Blog

Possible problems and complications from a Tummy Tuck

Posted on February 28, 2019 by

No surgical procedure is without risk. Most complications associated with abdominoplasty, however, are minor. Here are some possible problems:

  • Collection of blood or serum under the skin (hematoma), or (seroma). This can be removed and the reason for the drain and postoperative compression
  • Temporary crusting which forms on the incision
  • Numbness or loss of sensation in the area of operation is normal
  • Extraordinary sensitivity in the abdominal area. This occurs with some patients, but disappears in time
  • Puffiness of the abdominal flap. This may take six to twelve months to disappear
  • Depression. With aesthetic surgery, as with other surgical procedures, this sometimes occurs postoperatively. This is generally attributed to the normal response of the body to surgery and anesthesia
  • Asymmetry. No patient is identical from side to side. Small differences exist in all patients. In the occasional patient with a major difference, this can usually be improved with a secondary procedure
  • Hypertrophy or keloid scarring – this can be treated with cortisone injections, tape, or possibly scar revisions. This problem is frequently seen in dark pigmented individuals
  • Poor scarring is the single biggest drawback to this surgery. Scars will stay red for months. These will eventually fade unless you have a dark complexion
  • Poor healing of skin

Potential but unlikely complications:

  • Infection and/or abscess under the skin – can be treated
  • Loss of a small area of skin (necrosis); this usually occurs in smokers, caffeine addicts and obese people. These patients have a limited blood supply to the skin, which when elevated and placed in tension, can compromise the skin and fat survival
  • Deep venous thrombosis (blood clots) affects mainly the veins in the lower leg and the thigh. This clot may interfere with circulation of the area, and it may break off and travel through the blood stream. This clot can then lodge in the brain, lungs, heart, or other area, causing severe damage to that organ or even death. This is the reasons we have you stop hormones, wear TED hose, and walk every 3 hours the night of surgery
  • Other complications of a severe nature, which could be life threatening

Infection Alert
There is evidence of an increased incidence of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and other antibiotic resistant bacteria in our community. In the past, these resistant bacteria were typically found only in hospitals, but they are now found everywhere. Frequently people can be a carrier of the bacteria without their knowledge. An infection with this bacteria can cause severe damage to the skin and even death. We are diligent in cleaning and sterilizing our facility and try to limit the exposure of outside bacteria from patients into our surgery center. We therefore have implemented the following hygiene steps to help prevent the contamination of our facility and therefore decrease your post-operative infection risk.

Bathe your entire body with CLn body wash the 2 nights prior to surgery and again the morning of surgery. CLn body wash is an anti-bacterial, antiseptic liquid soap. Sleep on clean sheets the night before surgery and wear clean clothes to your surgery.

YOU MUST ENTER INTO SURGERY FULLY UNDERSTANDING NOT ONLY THE BENEFITS, BUT ALSO THE POSSIBLE PROBLEMS. ON RARE OCCASIONS, MINOR REVISIONS MAY BE NECESSARY TO ENHANCE THE FINAL RESULTS.

Postoperative Care Schedule

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