Tummy Tuck Revision and the Issue of Bulges

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Tummy tuck revision could be avoided with proper patient selection and careful surgical planning.  But despite best efforts, sometimes bulges occur due to “unexpected” pregnancy and large weight fluctuations after surgery.  For this reason the ideal candidates must have ruled out pregnancy in the future and can keep a healthy, steady weight.

It is important to note that tummy tuck does not affect pregnancy, although the latter can “disturb” if not totally reverse the surgery’s effects.

If the patient becomes pregnant or gains a significant amount of weight—i.e., 50 lbs. or more—unwanted bulging could happen due to separation of the abdominal muscles and/or fat accumulation.

Heavy lifting is also tied to the protrusion of the abdominal muscle, although this could be prevented or at least minimized with the use of internal sutures to hold them in place. 

While it is difficult to predict how pregnancy can affect the results of tummy tuck, should the patient require a revision she will most likely benefit from muscle repair.  Some doctors use slow-absorbing sutures, while others prefer permanent stitches, which are believed to provide additional, long-lasting support.

But as long as the absorbable sutures can last for about 4-6 weeks, they are enough to promote good muscle adhesion that could potentially minimize the effects of pregnancy and minor/moderate weight gain.

As much as possible, tummy tuck revision will use the previous incision site to avoid additional scarring.  But sometimes there is a need to make it longer or reposition it to achieve a smoother, more natural abdominal contour.

Instead of another excision-based surgery, some patients can resort to liposuction in which small round incisions are used that typically fade into an almost invisible scar.  However, this procedure is only suitable for people whose protrusion of the abdomen is mainly caused by fat accumulation.

All efforts are used to avoid major tummy tuck revisions.  In the event that the patient experiences large weight fluctuations every now and then, instead of another surgery the best course of action is to refer him/her to a weight management program.

Weight management is crucial to maintain the results of tummy tuck or any other form of body contouring surgery. 
Article by
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon