How Common is Infection with Abdominoplasty?

My nieghbor came over today and told me the horror story of her ongoing 4 month MRSA infection after a hysterectomy and now i am terrified. Ive been worried about going under general but this has me ready to cancel the whole thing. How common is it to have a bad infection? I know im in the lower risk group but im still afraid something like this will happen to me.

Doctor Answers 16

Tummy tuck impossible infection

You can have an infection after any type of surgery that requires an incision.  Using your friend's experience in this case, may not be helpful as she had an operation that entered a body cavity.  This, in general, creates a higher risk of complications including infection.  Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck does carry a 1% or less infection rate overall.  If you have concerns about your upcoming surgery, you may want to contact your surgeon directly.  He may want to recommend a preoperative cleansing process for the skin that could be helpful in patients that have been exposed to MRSA.  Hope this is helpful.

How to avoid infection

Thank you for your questions. Infection may happen in any type surgery. It all depends on a few factors. Make sure you find a board certified plastic surgeon to preform the surgery. Always follow your surgeons post care instructions and keep your wounds clean. Although chances are low, listen to all surgeons instructions to avoid any infection.

Dhaval M. Patel
double board certified
Plastic surgeon
Hoffman Estates

Dhaval M. Patel, MD
Hoffman Estates Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Extremely rare

 Infection is very unusual after surgery. In my practice is way lower than 1% of cases. Part of the reason is how we perform surgery and the setting - out of the hospital.  The important part of the healing process is also patient’s daily self-care routine. Patient needs to pay a special attention to the instruction given by the surgeon. Otherwise it can result in compromising the results of the surgery or delaying healing process.

Infection after Tummy Tuck

Data from a large national study showed that surgical site infections, in all all patients across the board (in all types of surgery) is approximately 3%. Infections following tummy tuck surgery in healthy patients are exceedingly rare (approximately 1.5%).  Further, out of all infections, MRSA infections represent a small percentage. So, one MRSA infection in your neighbor should not change your mind when 98.5% of patients do not have any infection following a tummy tuck.  Best wishes with your surgery.

Luis Zapiach, MD
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Infection following abdominoplasty

Significant infections requiring IV antibiotics, surgery or admission to the hospital are rare following abdominoplasty.  Small microabscesses are infrequent, but do occur.  These usually only require probing with a q-tip and removing a small piece of dissolvable stitch under the skin.

Michael Orseck, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 112 reviews

Tummy tuck and infection

Thankfully, severe infections are not common after abdominoplasty surgery. When they do occur, they  may commonly involve small localized abscesses at the incision line which can be addressed with drainage in the office and oral antibiotics.

David A. Bottger, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Infection is uncommon after abdominoplasty

Infection after abdominoplasty is less than 1%, or one out of a hundred. The rate can be higher if your medical history includes smoking or diabetes. MRSA infections are rarer still, and may depend on where your procedure is performed. Though there are some community acquired MRSA infections, most occur in a hospital setting. Surgery in an office based facility should reduce your risk.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Infection and abdominoplasty.

Abdominoplasty is considered a clean-clean case and it carries a very small risk of post operative infection.

It is lower risk than hysterectomy.

Erel Laufer, MD
Dunedin Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Abdominoplasty and Infection

There is certainly a risk of infection with any surgical procedure.  If permanent sutures are used, then these sutures can become infected.  However, this procedure does carry a very low overall risk of infection when compared with surgeries on the internal structures like the bowel or uterus.

Jeff Scott, MD
Everett Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Infection after abdominoplasty is rare

If you are a nonsmoker, not too overweight, and in general good health then the chances of a serious infection with a tummy tuck are extremely small. One advantage of having it done in an accredited outpatient facility by a board-certified palstic surgeon is that it is likely they do primarily cosmetic cases, while hospitals deal with sick people and you may actually be exposed to more germs in a hospital!

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.