Can Someone with Lupus Undergo Tummy Tuck?

I have SLE (lupus), but it has been under control for the past year and I'm no longer under medication. Is it safe for me to undergo Tummy Tuck?

Doctor Answers 18

Seek medical advice with your treating physicians and a plastic surgeon before to make your decsion.

Even though your lupus (SLE) is under control, I would strongly advise you to first seek opinion(s) with your treating physician(s). Most likely on your medical team are an internist (internal medicine specialist) and a rheumatologist. See them in consultation to see if you are, indeed, a reasonable medical candidate for surgery procedure of this magnitude. It imperative to know what medications your have been on in the past; lupus is usually treatable with steroids and immune-suppressants. This may need to be resumed.

You must remember that lupus is an auto-immune disorder that is multi-systemic, life-long disease without a cure. Because it is an auto-immune disorder, it attacks the body’s cells and tissue, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage. SLE can affect any part of the body, but most often affects the heart, blood vessels, joints, lungs, liver, kidneys, skin, and nervous system. The course of the disease is unpredictable, with periods of illness (called flares) alternating with remissions.

Currently, you are blessed with your disease process being in remission; however, it could potentially flare in the post-operative period following a tummy tuck. Therefore, it is prudent to have your entire medical team assembled and prepared for any problems that may potentially occur.

Assuming that you are a reasonable medical candidate, there are definite steps and modifications that an experienced plastic surgeon can take to give you the cosmetic outcomes you seek. I would advise that you seek a consultation with a plastic surgeon that is board certified and has vast experience with body contouring procedures, especially tummy tuck and liposuction. Ask to see before and after photographs and get a handle on how many procedures he has performed. Is he prepared to take on your medical problems? This needs to be ascertained.

The likely handling of your case would be similar to that of a chronic smoker. There are numerous options available to make your outcomes suitable and safe. This may include logical things such as staging one major operation into several smaller procedures, and emphasizing more liposuction and simplifying the tummy tuck procedure. Personally over the past three years, I have been performing a new modification of the tummy tuck, called a 'lipoabdominoplasty': which essentially means less cutting away of key tissue and more liposuction, which I perform with the VASER®.

Many thanks for your question. I hope you find this information useful!

Englewood Plastic Surgeon

Lupus and Cosmetic Surgery

If Lupus is well controlled, a tummy tuck can be done.

Have concurrence by your rheumatologist as part of your preop clearance.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Tummy Tuck and Lupus

A patient with lupus may still be a candidate for a tummy tuck. However, your internist and rheumatologist should both provide medical clearances and be able to provide input for your MD Anesthesiologist and board certified plastic surgeon. Choose a board certified plastic surgeon who has the experience with performing body contouring on patients with lupus.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Can a patient with lupus have a tummy tuck

Provided your lupus is under control, you can have a tummy tuck procedure.  You will need to discuss this and have clearance from your rheumatologist prior to surgery. Since you are off your steroid medication you should not have wound healing issues.

Best wishes,

Dr. Bruno

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 353 reviews

Lupus and Tummy tuck

Any autoimmune disease is a concern with major surgery. Performing an extensive procedure will require your body to focus on the healing and any concurrent flare of the lupus may require steroid therapy which can compromise the healing process. Please be prepared for this event and discuss with your rheumatologist.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Lupus and tummy tucks

I have performed tummy tucks on patients with lupus and have had no troubles.  You have to have clearance from your private MD first.

Michael Philbin, MD
Edina Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Lupus and abdominoplasty

It is advisable to speak to your rheumatologist  before undergoing surgery.  I have performed an abdominoplasty on patients with lupus and have had no problems.   Chronic prednisone use, however, may impair wound healing. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Lupus not a contraindication to tummy tuck

I have operated on women with stable SLE and they have done just fine.  Of course, any such procedure would be done after discussion and clearance from the physician managing the lupus.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Patients with lupus can have a tummy tuck but with the advice and consent of the treating internist.

Lupus can be a very mild disease or an aggressive life threatening problem.  Also some of the medications used to treat lupus and effect the way wounds heal.  These individual issues need to be taken into consideration before proceeding with surgery.  I have operated on patients with lupus and they have done fine.  I have also advised against surgery in lupus patients where the risks appeared to grave.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

With lupus undergo Tummy Tuck

As all the previous posters have eluded to, YOU NEED A FULL MEDICAL CLEARANCE - in writing- before you should consider ANY cosmetic operation, especially a tummy tuck.


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