Complications After Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift (Shock, Nerve Damage, Hematoma)

I'm a 27 yo female who had a full tummy tuck/breast lift in the end of January after losing 170 pounds over 5 year period. The night after surgery I endured symptoms of shock (excessive thirst, blurred vision), followed by nerve damage in my right leg with searing pain for 4 days after surgery (still numb just above the knee 5 weeks post-op), and a hematoma in the left breast 1.5 weeks after surgery. Are these complications typical or the result of a faulty surgeon?

Doctor Answers 5

Complications of Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift

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In a nutshell, complications can occur with any patient, any surgery. The complications you have described are unfortunate but are not unheard of, and can happen even to the most competent and conscientious surgeon and most co-operative and healthy patient. Can't say much more without more details of your surgery. But, a good doctor should support you and help you through your problems after surgery.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Complications after Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift?

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I'm sorry to hear about the complications you have experienced after surgery. Unforyunately, these complications can occur even in the best of hands. The most important concern should be how these complications are handled by your plastic surgeon.

If you have concerns about the plastic surgeon's abilities,  the only way to achieve some peace of mind is to seek a second opinion by another plastic surgeon in your area.

Best wishes.

All surgeons can have complications, even the best

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After losing 170 pounds I would imagine that you had a lot of excess tissue to excise.  Combining two large procedures increases the risk of problems and the ones you suffered are known complications of the procedures you had.  Your case sounds too complicated to pass judgement  on your surgeon and that is not the purpose of this forum.  You need to discuss your feelings with him/her.  If you are not satisfied get another opinion from a board certified surgeon who will have the advantage of examining you and getting more information.

Lori H. Saltz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Complications after Tummy Tuck, Breast Lift

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Dear Seattle9131,

Obviously, I'm very sorry you've had these problems.

Complications can occur with all surgical procedures.  Fortunately, they are not common and, when they do occur, most are relatively mild, or can be treated with good success.  A lot of that depends on early recognition and prompt intervention, as indicated.

It's hard to comment specifically on your case without knowing more of the details.  These, therefore, are comments "in general."

The first set of symptoms - excessive thirst and blurred vision - are actually pretty common the first night after surgery, particularly bigger surgery, which this certainly would count as.  So I wouldn't even consider that a complication.

Pain in your leg for four days, with persistent numbess, is also seen but is seen more commonly if liposuction or a circumferential procedure (such as a lower body lift or circumferential tummy tuck) has been performed.  The numbness should go away on its own; numbness after lipo can last for up to six months.

Finally, a hematoma is, of course, excess bleeding.  Some degree of bleeding is normal after surgery; too much (paricularly within a confined space and/or around an implant) is considered a hematoma.  It often needs to be drained; sometimes it resolves on its own. 

So, in sum, and again without knowing the details of your case, I would say that these are unfortunate but they can occur and there is nothing that clearly indicates an error anywhere.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

Complications after surgery

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Without knowing the full details of your surgical course I really could not comment, but these things can happen.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 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.