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Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Risks and Complications

Every surgical procedure is associated with specific risks and benefits. Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery risks include but are not limited to the following:

Bleeding/Hematoma:

A collection of blood underneath the skin can occur following surgery. Should this happen, you will most likely note a sudden increase in your drain output. Significant bleeding requires an immediate return to the operating room to stop the bleeding vessel and evacuate any blood.

Seroma:

A seroma is a collection of clear fluid underneath the skin. This is removed by drains after surgery. After your drains have been removed, any persistent fluid collection can be removed in the office by using a small needle. Strict adherence to the garment-wearing schedule will reduce your chance of seroma formation. Seromas can result in an infection or an unsatisfactory cosmetic result if left untreated.

Infection:

Infection following abdominoplasty surgery is rare.  Infection is associated with swelling, pain, redness of the skin, fevers or chills, and sometimes drainage from the incision.  An infection may necessitate oral and rarely intravenous antibiotics. You will be given an antibiotic prior to surgery through the intravenous line to help prevent infection, and a prescription for an antibiotic after surgery.

Scarring:

You will have a permanent scar on the lower abdomen following abdominoplasty surgery. Although the scar improves with time, it will not completely fade. In some cases the scar may become thick or wide, but this cannot be predicted. Dr. Naidu will provide you with a set of silicone strips to use following surgery to assist in scar reduction.

Necrosis:

Necrosis, or the death of skin and fat, may occur in smokers, following an infection, or with the use of steroids. This complication, although extremely rare, may require additional surgery.

Pain: 

Most patients report only mild discomfort following surgery, and report the sensation of having performed many sit-ups.  Pain will typically diminish after the initial 48 hours. A very small number of patients may have permanent pain.

Numbness:

Most patients will note some numbness over the abdominal wall for several months after surgery. A small number of patients may note persistent changes in sensation.

Blood clots:

Blood clots may form in the legs, or travel to the lungs following abdominoplasty surgery. This is a potentially fatal complication, and therefore preventive measures, including the use of leg compression devices during surgery, are taken with every patient.

Swelling:

A small number of patients may experience prolonged swelling of the abdomen after surgery.

Asymmetry:

Some patients may have asymmetry of the scar or swelling on the abdominal wall.

Anesthesia risks:

Although general anesthesia and sedation are very safe, all patients are screened for any personal or family history of anesthesia reactions.

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