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Tummy tuck surgery 5 hours under general anesthesia vs 3 hours? (photos)

I need a Tummy Tuck I saw 3 doctors I liked 2 of them they are rated top in the area on realself.com. one doctor said the surgery will take 5 hours the other said 3 hours. I am terrified of the surgery and I want to know if there is more risk for being under anesthesia for 5 hours vs 3 hours? I am 37 years old, 5' 6 ", and 132 lbs. both doctors said I do not need much of liposuction.

Doctor Answers (11)

Time if surgery

+3
Hello and thank you for your question. 
The less time under anesthesia the better. Giving Said that, it is important to take the time to get the best results possible.  By the way I think your flanks should be suctioned. Good luck. 


San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Tummy tuck

+1
Surgical time is sometimes an estimate and while the procedures can routinely follow certain time frames, it is important that the technique be finished safely and completely. That being said, some cases can take longer and discussion with your surgeon as to a time range may make you more comfortable. I certainly try to keep the shortest time that allows me to complete the work.

Ronald H. Stefani Jr, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Tummy tuck surgery 5 hours under general anesthesia vs 3 hours?

+1
A tummy tuck typically takes me 1.25 hours to 2.5 hours. 

Find a plastic surgeon who performs hundreds of tummy tucks each year, has great reviews, and has great before and after pictures.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 238 reviews

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Length of Surgery and Safety

+1
Up until now there is little hard evidence on whether increase in time of surgery increases risk. Nevertheless, there is a considerable opinion that greater than 5 hours in surgery leads to increased risks (bleeding, fluid shifts, possibly infections). If there is a difference in risk between 3 hours of surgery and 5 hours that risk is small. However, particularly with abdominoplasty ( versus other elective surgeries), there is a definite small risk of blood clots in the leg veins, which can be quite serious if they break off and go the lung. Doing the procedure under sedation ( Monitored Anesthesia Care) with local anesthesia probably eliminates this risk, but most surgeons use general anesthesia which is quite acceptable. However, it is important that they take precautions regarding blood clots, and it is import for you to ambulate soon after surgery. So...in general the less time under anesthesia the better, but if the operation is less than 5 hours, the increased time brings minimal if any additional riskUp until now there is little hard evidence on whether increase in time of surgery increases risk. Nevertheless, there is a considerable opinion that greater than 5 hours in surgery leads to increased risks (bleeding, fluid shifts, possibly infections). If there is a difference in risk between 3 hours of surgery and 5 hours that risk is small. However, particularly with abdominoplasty ( versus other elective surgeries), there is a definite small risk of blood clots in the leg veins, which can be quite serious if they break off and go the lung. Doing the procedure under sedation ( Monitored Anesthesia Care) with local anesthesia probably eliminates this risk, but most surgeons use general anesthesia which is quite acceptable. However, it is important that they take precautions regarding blood clots, and it is import for you to ambulate soon after surgery. So...in general the less time under anesthesia the better, but if the operation is less than 5 hours, the increased time brings minimal if any additional risk

Thomas A. Mustoe, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Surgery length

+1
Thank you for the picture.


I can definitely tell you, that 3 hours is not a realistic answer. The length is based on the size of the patient, so 5 hours sound more realistic for your case.


Dr. Campos

Jaime Campos Leon, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 184 reviews

Length of anesthesia

+1
If you have found two plastic surgeons that are excellent at what they do and you like them the choice is really yours. The difference in anesthesia time, two hours, is not significant. If you're healthy and a good candidate five hours versus three hours of anesthesia time will not increase your complication rate.

Good luck.

Earl Stephenson Jr MD DDS FACS

Earl Stephenson, Jr., MD, DDS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Tummy Tuck - time under general anesthesia

+1
The general guideline for outpatient surgery is 6 hours.  Make sure your doctor is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  It seems that you are young and healthy so the risk of anesthesia is really, really, really small.  If you are concerned about anesthesia, then talk not to the plastic surgeon, but the anesthesia provider for those doctors and review with them your concerns.  From your pictures, you need a full tummy tuck with a little bit of liposuction.  Depending on the amount of assistance a surgeon has, 2-4 hours is pretty average.  Best Wishes!!

Stefan Mark Szczerba, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Tummy tuck operative time

+1
  • 3-5 hours is a reasonable range for a tummy tuck,
  • The fastest surgeon isn't always the best,
  • Plastic surgeons are perfectionists,
  • Select the surgeon with whom you feel more comfortable,
  • There is no need to feel terrified - it is common surgery,
  • If blood clots are your concern, discuss blood thinners with the surgeon you choose. Best wishes.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Surgery time for tummy tuck

+1
In general, there is increasing risk with time under anesthesia.  How much more risk with two hours, who can say.  I doubt that there is much of an increase, especially in light of this large operation.

the more important question is why the difference in expected time for  the case.  Consider that surgery includes time in the room which means induction of anesthesia, prep, drape, wake up, dressings, move out of the room, etc.  If the surgeon works alone or has an assistant that makes a difference.

Based on your deformity and height/weight and what the surgeon intends to do will determine how long the case will take.  I work alone and do a lot of work.  I don't think that 5 hours is that unreasonable.

sek

Scott E. Kasden, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Tummy tuck surgery 5 hours under general anesthesia vs 3 hours? (photos)

+1
You have loose skin and a skin overhang with moderate diastasis. I think a Full tummy tuck will serve you best. Liposuction of your hips and flanks will improve your result. However, your navel is high, you may have to accept a short vertical scar in your lower abdomen as a trade off.
Two-three hours, is the average time for this procedure. Five hours; is towards the longer end of the spectrum.

Maan Kattash, MD, FRCS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.