Dispelling Tummy Tuck Myths

Hi, I'm 38 years with young 3 children. I'm considering Abdominoplasty. I really want to go through Tummy Tuck but all people are talking me out of it and telling horror stories about it like death and problems in breathing. About Tummy tuck turning out very bad, they say fat will be back and look worse than before. Could someone tell me how true are these stories? I saw a lot of c-section persons and it seems so easy. WHY? I thought that c-section is an even more invasive surgery as the cut goes down to internal organs VS Tummy Tuck which is only at the skin surface.

Doctor Answers 12

I'd love to.

All surgical procedures involve risk, and tummy tuck (tt) is no exception. I just updated that section on my web site: http://www.southlakeplasticsurgeon.com/tummytuck.html for your reference.

Let me answer your concerns in order.

1. Death. Yes this may happen, but is very rare. The key to avoiding this is by operating on healthy patients, and prophyaxing against DVT & PE (clots in legs that go to lungs).

2. Breathing problems. I can think of two: pneumonia which can be avoided through deep breathing, coughing, and waking. The second is called "splinting", which is painfu breathing due to muscle spasm. Easy to manage with pain pills, and muscle relaxants. No problem.

3. Bad results. A possibility with any operation. Go to a board certified plastic surgeon, check his results, speak with patients and your friends. Also, be in good physical condition, don't smoke.

4. Return of fat. Nonsense- the skin and fat is removed and is gone forever.

Finally, you are correct in that a C-secton does go deeper than tt, but the tt goes deeer than skin. It actually goes through skin and fat, and the muscle (fascia) is tightened to help sculpt the torso. This may actualy hurt more than a C-section because the muscle layer is more extensively repaired.

Those are the facts as I know them, and I hope it helps.


Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Tummy tuck dangers

The vast majority of patients who have tummy tucks with board certified plastic surgeons in accredited facilities do beautifully. It is important to choose a fine surgeon and have the necessary medical preparations prior to surgery. I personally believe an Aftercare is important. In all our patients, we use pain pumps. These reduce pain and help the patients move around better.

Any surgery, however small, can have a complication. These complications can be anything from minor to catastrophic. Fortunately good surgeons minimize risk in every way possible, perform their surgeries efficiently and expediently and always act carefully.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 177 reviews

Tummy Tuck Safety & The Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tucks are basically done on women post pregnancy and those who have had significant weight loss.  The tummy tuck procedure is the center piece of any Mommy Makeover.  All surgeries carry potential dangers, but if you choose your surgeon right and you follow pre and post operative instructions to the "T", then you should have a safe and gratifying surgery.  Be sure to choose a Board Certified plastic surgeon, certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a member of the Aesthetic Society of Plastic Surgeons, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  Your surgeon should have privileges to do tummy tucks (abdominoplasties) at a local hospital which you can verify by calling the local hospital.  Your surgery should be performed in a certified surgery center, usually with AAAASF certification.  Your anesthesiologist should be a Board Certified anesthesiologist.  Be sure to view before and after pictures and speak to at least one of your surgeon's previous tummy tuck patients so you can be prepared for the recovery period.  Your surgeon should be able to explain to you how he will make the belly button look normal with minimal to no scarring, minimize the scarring on the abdominoplasty incision, and explain to you how he will repair the separated abdominal muscles.  Be sure to ask if there will be compression apparatus on your calves and feet during the surgery and in the recovery room.  If you do all of the above, don't smoke, stay away from medication which can increase bleeding, and follow your surgeon's other instructions, then you should have an excellent result.

Safety of a tummy tuck

The safety of a tummy tuck has been discussed in detail here by the other doctors. While it is certainly the riskiest cosmetic surgery procedure, the complications from it are truly rare with a healthy, normal weight, non-smoking, positive thinking patient operated on in an accredited facility with physician anesthesia, by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who does a substantial number of TT's and whose pictures you admire and who can get the surgery done in 2 hours to minimize the risk of DVT.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Are Tummy Tucks Safe? - As with all surgical procedures, the risks depend on the details.

Hi there-

I'm sure that by now you realize that all surgery will have some risk... the key is in understanding how to minimize your risks, while maximizing the likelihood that you will achieve the appearance you desire.

There are 3 very important variables to research- your surgeon, the facility in which the procedure is to be performed, and the anesthesia provider. Once you have "done your homework", it is important you communicate effectively and positively with your chosen surgeon. Most tummy tuck patients are very happy!

You can read more about finding a situation you are comfortable with here:

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Tighten your tummy with confidence

Any plastic surgery procedure has its risks. The choice of using a board certified plastic surgeon, in a state accredited surgical center and a board certified anesthesiologist can help minimize the risks associated with an abdominoplasty.

The consultation with your plastic surgeon is so important to learn about your expectations of the surgical outcome. Every patient's medical history and physical exam is different, so it is difficult to compare you to maybe a friend undergoing the same tummy tuck.

Finally speaking with previous patients of the plastic surgeon, reviewing before and after photos can help provide reassurance to you. Take your time deciding about the tummy tuck. Do not feel rushed into having the surgery.

Andrew Turk, MD
Naples Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Tummy Tuck Myths

You can find anything you want on the Internet. If you want to find horror stories about any surgical procedure you can. But the reality is that these are stories told from one side and any correlation to the truth must be taken with a grain of salt.

If you have faith in your surgeon then that is all that should matter. Don't listen to the nay sayers they may, and probably do, have ulterior motives.

Christopher L. Hess, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Safety of Abdominoplasty

All surgery carries risk, and abdominoplasty carries more than many procedures because of the magnitude and specifics of what is done. That being said, it is still a very safe procedure in the proper hands. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have had task forces studying patient safety for a number of years and have made many recommendations to make all surgery, including abdominoplasty, safer. Most board certified Plastic Surgeons have adopted these recommendations and reduced the problems from this surgery.

Therefore, when done by an experienced Plastic Surgeon, most patients can expect an uncomplicated procedure and recovery similar to a C-Section, a procedure of similar magnitude. The cosmetic improvement is also related to patient selection and the experience of the surgeon. Board certified Plastic Surgeons with broad experience in this procedure will also improve your chance of a pleasing outcome. To find out about experience, do not be afraid to ask or to request pre and post operative photographs.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Tummy tucks usually have excellent results and happy patients


The reason I decided to go into plastic surgery was when I was in medical school I spent some time in a plastic surgeons office and was struck about how happy the tummy tuck patients were than any other patient I had ever seen. This is my favorite operation to perform because the results are so significant and the patients are so satisfied. As long as you stick with a board certified plastic surgeon, have seen examples of his tummy tucks through pictures, and have the procedure done in an accredited facility you most likely will be one of the satisfied patients after tummy tuck.

Robert B. Pollack, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Skillfully done tummy tuck is very safe.


1) Horror stories are started by bad surgery and bad patient selection. Of course there can be a complication from any surgery. But with a good surgeon, you should sail through a tummy tuck. Most patients are very happy and look much better permanently.

2) As you say, women who had a C section and then have a tummy tuck tell us that recovering from the tummy tuck wasn't as bad.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 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.