Tummy Tuck After Breast Cancer?

I am a very healthy 50 year old breast cancer survivor. I am schelduled for a tummy tuck next month. I had mild lymph edema of my trunk following my mastectomy and implants which has completely resolved, should I take any special precautions with my tummy tuck? I will be stopping my tamoxifen and using lovenox after the surgery. All thoughts are appreciated!!

Doctor Answers 4

Tummy Tuck Considerations After Breast Cancer

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Thank you for your question.

First of all, congratulations on your survivorship.

With regards to your tummy tuck, it is possible to have recurrence of trunk lymphedema or to have persistent swelling after surgery.  Your surgeon should carefully consider the extent of your truncal edema and the time it took to resolve.

Another thing to consider before having a tummy tuck is that if you will no longer be able to have breast reconstruction using your abdominal tissue (should you have a problem with your implants). Something to be aware of.

For additional questions be sure to visit the office of a board certified plastic surgeon.

I hope this helps.

Abdominal contouring after breast cancer

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If you are cancer free and your oncologist has said it is OK to proceed, then you are fine to proceed with a tummy tuck.  However, if you have had a mastectomy, you may be able to utilize your excess abdominal tissue and restore your breast using that excess tissue with a procedure called a DIEP Flap.   This reconstructive modality is covered by your insurance.  And the donor site is closed up similar to a tummy tuck.   Just a thought.  Otherwise, I am glad you are stopping your tamoxifen and consider Lovenox for DVT (blood clot) prevention.  Please visit with a board certified PS to learn more about your reconstruction and tummy tuck options.  Best wishes!

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

Tummy Tuck After Breast Cancer

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The fact that you had a bout of lymphedema of the trunk is somewhat concerning, and you would have a somewhat higher chance of lymphedema and of seroma after a tummy tuck. 

Nonetheless, many women have had tummy tuck after breast cancer treatment uneventfully. Many have reconstruction with abdominal tissue which is still a more complex procedure than a TT. 

Discuss with your surgeon, and with your oncologist as you are planning. Thank you for your question and best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tuck after breast reconstruction

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The lymphedema you experienced may return after a tummy tuck.  However, if you continue to wear you binder, eat a low-salt diet, and massage your abdominal area the swelling may not last too long.  I have performed many successful tummy tucks on women who have had breast reconstruction.  Good luck!  Dr. Schreiber....Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

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