Tummy Tuck Risks

The Risks of Tummy Tuck Surgery


This page is intended to inform our patients of some of the risks of tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty). Orlando plastic surgeon Dr. Spence believes that informed patients make the best decisions. All surgical procedures carry risks. These risks and potential complication should be discussed at the time of your consultation. While you review your informed consent ask questions if any issues are unclear.

Numbness: It is common to experience some numbness of the abdomen with a tummy tuck procedure. The skin from the lower abdomen is removed and the skin from the upper abdomen is stretched to close the lower abdomen. Some of the fine sensory nerves to the skin will no longer function. This may be temporary or permanent.

Seroma: A seroma is a fluid collection beneath the skin. This may require repeated drainage with a needle for resolution. Drains are placed after the tummy tuck procedure to try to lessen this risk; however, having a drain does not guarantee that you will never have a seroma.

Asymmetry: It is natural for the human form to be asymmetric. These asymmetries might not be identified prior to surgery and become an issue after surgery. An example is the position of the belly button before and after surgery, as not all belly buttons are midline. Nor is there always the exact amount of skin on one side of the abdomen vs. the other. Ask your surgeon during your consultation if there is any asymmetry and how this will be addressed.

Clot: A clot forming in the legs is called a DVT, or Deep Vein Thrombosis, if this travels to the lung it can be a life threatening event. Ask what precautions will be taken against this occurring and if you have a family history be sure to notify your surgeon ahead of time.

Poor scarring: Despite meticulous technique, poor scars can develop. Some patients have a tendency to develop hypertrophic scar, a raised thick red scar, or a keloid scar growing outside the boundaries of the incision. If you have a history of this notify your surgeon and ask what scar management protocol is in place to treat this should it occur.

Wound breakdown: If you are a smoker or you are in poor nutritional balance your wound may break down. If you are smoking prior to surgery or have failed to stop smoking please notify your surgeon. Diabetics have difficulty healing at times.

Infection: Infection can occur with any surgical procedure. Proper wound care technique after surgery can help to prevent this: always wear gloves and wash your hands when changing your dressing, avoid artificial nails as they can harbor bacteria, review the signs of infection with your surgeon, and notify them immediately if any such signs develop.

Remember, informed patients make the best decisions. Dr. Spence encourages his patients in greater Orlando to learn about abdominoplasty and to ask about risks and complications during your consultation. You can also read our Consumer Guide to abdominoplasty and our Frequently Asked Questions.

To schedule an abdominoplasty consultation at Orlando Plastic Surgery with Dr. Spence, call 407-999-2585 or request an abdominoplasty consultation online. Also, feel free to browse through our Before and After Photo Gallery for Orlando tummy tuck photos.

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