Tummy Tuck Complications and Risks

There is no surgery that does not involve some risk. Tummy Tuck surgery is no exception. Complications can and do happen. Some of the health risks for abdominoplasty are related to anesthesia, infection or other medical complications, and some are relating to your satisfaction with the results of the procedure.

General Risks

There is always the risk of a negative reaction to anesthesia, even if you have successfully been anesthetized before. To reduce these risks, make sure the surgeon and anesthesiologist know about all medications or supplements you take and if you have ever had problems with anesthesia in the past.

Excessive bleeding during and after surgery can occur. Other bleeding problems include the formation of a hematoma (a pocket of clotted or partially clotted blood) or a seroma (a pocket of fluid).


Any surgery can lead to an infection. Most postsurgical infections develop within the first 4 to 6 weeks after the abdominoplasty surgery.

Tissue Necrosis

Necrosis occurs when tissue dies. If the blood supply to a portion of muscle, fat or other tissue is cut off, it can die leading to infection or other serious problems. Tissue necrosis may need to be treated with further surgery.


Thromboemboli (singular: thromboembolus) are a rare but serious risk associated with major surgery such as a full abdominoplasty. This condition occurs when a blood clot forms and breaks free and travels in the bloodstream to the lungs or brain. A thromboembolus that lodges in the lungs is a pulmonary thromboembolus or pulmonary embolism and can interfere with breathing and lead to cardiac arrest. A thromboembolus that travels to the brain can cause a stroke and serious disability.

In pulmonary thromboembolism, the symptoms are labored breathing and shortness of breath within 72 hours after surgery. The condition can occur within 3 weeks after surgery, but it can occur at any time after the procedure.

Loss of Skin Sensitivity

The skin on the abdomen may lose sensation after tummy tuck surgery. This is usually temporary, however, permanent loss of sensation in the lower abdomen or around the navel can occur.

General Dissatisfaction with Tummy Tuck Surgery Results

Although it is not a medical problem, you can be dissatisfied with the results of your tummy tuck. This can happen if you fail to clearly convey your expectations and the appearance you want to your surgeon. You should be as clear and detailed as possible when describing the results you want so that you are not disappointed after the surgery. However, some people are more likely to develop larger or more prominent scars than other people

You may also be dissatisfied with the scarring after your abdominoplasty. Usually, tummy tuck scars will initially look more prominent and will likely fade over time. But before your surgery, when you look at tummy tuck photos, pay particular attention to the scarring so that you know what to expect after surgery

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