Risks of liposuction performed at time of tummy tuck
Abdominoplasty treats the skin excess and muscle weakness of the abdomen, as well as any fat that is between the belly button and the pubic hairline. Liposuction treats only fat. It can be used to thin out the abdomen, but the skin must be in good condition with no excess, and there should not be muscle weakness. I do not like to combine abdominoplasty with liposuction because of the added risks of fluid collection under the skin, VTE and wound healing problems.
Aggressive liposuction with tummy tuck is dangerous. A full tummy tuck with liposuction at the same time will certainly put you at a high risk for fluid under the tummy tuck skin (seroma). A full tummy tuck with aggressive liposuction at the same time will also certainly put you at an unacceptably high risk for a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism (PE), venous thromboembolic event (VTE). The literature is complete with this information. The science is the science. This is a risky combination.
The incidence of seroma formation is about 16.0 percent in the abdominoplasty-alone group and 31.2 percent in the abdominoplasty with liposuction group.
The combination of abdominoplasty and liposuction procedures can still overwhelm the body's ability to resist these shear forces by the fact that more surface area is available to “shear” and thus produce seroma fluid. Not so much as an additive effect but synergistically, such that the seroma fluid from the flanks flows into the adjacent abdominal space and resists the ability of the upper abdominal flap to close over the abdominal wall. Patients must be counseled about their risk for seroma formation and treatments aimed at resolving them including frequent postoperative visits for needle drainage and the rare case requiring operative drainage in the face of a persistent seroma.