Abdominoplasty risks & complications
Postoperative complications such as infection can occur. Infection
can be treated with drainage and antibiotics, but will prolong your
hospital stay and/or your recovery.
Poor healing, which can result in visible scars, may require a second
operation. Smokers have an increased risk of tissue loss and delayed
healing. Stopping nicotine use and stopping smoking several weeks
before and several weeks after surgery cleans the body and improves
the chance of an uneventful recovery.
Abdominoplasty (especially a full tummy tuck rather than a mini
one) requires quite a large incision horizontally across your abdomen.
Since we use our torso to sit up, turn and bend over, it is especially
important to follow the restrictions placed on movement because
you can run into a complication where the would opens up (sometimes
referred to as ‘suture popping’). This complication,
like the others, is not common, but is serious and can lead to infection
since the wound is opened. Be sure to report any unusual openings
along your incision to your surgeon.
There are often areas of the abdominal skin that will be numb after
surgery. Nerves to the lower parts of the abdominal wall are divided
when re-draping the skin. Upper abdominal and nerves on the sides
can be stretched during this tissue adjustment and temporarily result
in numb regions. Although there is some risk for permanent sensation
loss, almost all patients regain most if not all of their feeling.
Blood clots can form in the legs during immobilization and break
free and travel to the lungs. You can minimize the risk of blood
clots by moving around as soon after the surgery as possible and
to always follow the instructions given by your plastic surgeon
to reduce complications as much as possible.
A seroma is a collection of clear or yellowish fluid that may become
trapped under your skin in the areas worked on during the tummy
tuck. This usually has to be drained by your surgeon.
A hematoma is trapped blood in the area worked on that also needs
to be drained by the surgeon.
Both complications are usually avoided by the use of drains in abdominoplasty.
You will be instructed to watch for unusual swelling pockets or
pain in one specific area.