Tummy Tuck—What Are the Signs of Botched Surgery?


Tummy tuck surgery is not just about flattening the abdomen by removing the extra skin and fat and reshaping the deeper muscle.  Perhaps a more important goal is to contour the midsection in a way that it will look natural rather than operated.

But what are the signs of botched tummy tuck results and ways to avoid them?

The list below explains how each anatomy is supposed to look like after surgery, and how the botched appearance can be avoided with proper surgical techniques.

1. Over-tight appearance

While it is normal for the abdomen to look and feel tight within months after surgery, if it fails to resolve more often than not the culprit is the incorrect use of incision technique.  For instance, some patients with a significant amount of loose skin in the upper abdominal area will require a scar positioned higher than ideal; any attempt to lower it without taking into account the underlying anatomy could result in unnatural contour.

2. Unsightly bulges

They often occur in the upper abdomen, but they can be averted or treated by liposuction, reshaping the deeper muscle rather than the skin and tissue alone, and/or gauze roll wrapped around the area to create a more natural curve.

3. Unnatural placement and/or appearance of navel

In standard tummy tuck, there is often a need to create a new navel in a way that it will look natural rather than operated.  This is achieved by avoiding the “perfect” circle appearance because unoperated navels have a small “hood” on the upper side, and placing it at the same level of the hipbone’s crest.

The postop navel also has the tendency to shrink due to scar tissue, so it is not uncommon for surgeons to recommend putting a standard-size marble in the area for a couple of minutes or hours (depending on the patient’s tolerance level and other factors) several times a day.

4. Appearance of dog ears

Dog ears or puckering of skin at the end of scar is one of the most common telltale signs of tummy tuck.  While this could not be avoided completely—particularly massive weight loss patients who require tummy tuck surgery—one way to minimize the risk is to use the correct incision length.

In many cases of botched tummy tuck results, the cause is the “futile” attempt to reduce the scar by shortening the incision without considering the underlying anatomy, particularly the amount of loose skin.

A long, thin scar that is underneath the bikini area is way more ideal than a short scar that results in unnatural contour of the abdomen and skin irregularities.
Article by
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon