Tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a cosmetic procedure that aims at reducing the amount of loose skin and excess fat. It also aims at tightening muscles from the abdominal area. During the surgical procedure, incisions in the lower abdomen above the pubis and around the navel to expose the underlying abdominal muscle are made. Next, the muscles are pulled together and sewn and the skin is stretched down, with all the extra skin removed.
What are Potential Tummy Tuck Complications?
When done by a qualified, experienced plastic surgeon the results of tummy tucks are generally quite positive. However, there are always risks associated with surgery and specific complications associated with this procedure. These tummy tuck complications include:
- Allergic reaction to anesthesia or any other drug administered during the procedure.
- A collection of blood under the skin (hematoma, or "blood blister").
- Poor healing and bad scarring.
- A degree of permanent numbness of the abdomen could be another abdominoplasty complication. This numbness happens because there are often areas of the abdominal skin that will be numb following the tummy tuck procedure. Nerves to the lower parts of the abdominal wall are divided when re-wrapping the skin. Upper abdominal and nerves on the sides can be stretched during this tissue adjustment and temporarily result in numb regions. It is true that there is some risk for permanent diminished sensation but almost all patients return to feeling normal.
- Skin that is moved during surgery can leave temporary distortions that will eventually even out. Most residual distortions can be treated with suction lipectomy or tissue excisions. If there is major skin shift during surgery, the belly button shape can change but your surgeon should be able to correct that as well.
- Pain after a tummy tuck is also an issue. Occasionally the scar may be painful or the wound takes a long time to heal. Many patients however only experience moderate post-operative pain after an abdominoplasty for which they may be given painkillers in the form of tablets or injections.
In more severe cases, tummy tuck dangers may potentially lead to heavy bleeding, infection as well as blood clots (in smokers and women who take birth control pills). Additionally there may be some lung problems and skin tissue death especially in smokers and people who have diabetes. In very extreme and rare cases, any of these conditions may also cause death of a patient.
Are Tummy Tuck Complications Relatively Rare?
Yes, thanks to advancement of techniques and technology in the plastic surgery industry, tummy tuck complications are rare. It is important that you understand the surgical procedure and talk to your doctor before the surgery is performed.
Please remember that you can reduce the risk of complications of a tummy tuck by following your surgeon's instructions before and after the surgery, especially with regards to when and how you should resume physical activity.
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