Are Dog Ears After an Abdominoplasty Completely Unavoidable in Certain Patients?

I have lost 160 pounds after gastric bypass and am looking into getting my loose skin removed, starting with an abdominoplasty. I have consulted with a couple of board certified plastic surgeons that specialize in body contouring post massive weight loss. One doctor did stress to me that following the abdominoplasty, I WILL have dog ears because of the large amount of skin that I need removed. Are dog ears completely unavoidable in certain patients?

Doctor Answers 7

Dog ears after massive weight loss skin correction.

Dog ears are sometimes unavoidable.  It truly depends on the shape of the patient.  That being said, in your case it should be avoidable.  The reason being since you have lost all that weight, you need more than just a abdominoplasty. 

Realistically without seeing any pictures of you. It is hard to state what procedures you will need.  Probable your back has excess skin, and your buttocks is saggy.  These issues, as well as the excess skin/folds on the upper abdomen can be fixed in one surgery.  Please see a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in this area. You might need to travel to find the right one.


Congratulations on your weight loss.  Good luck, and thank you for your question.




Anire Okpaku MD

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Can you prevent 'dog ears'?

Congratulations on your weight loss.  Unfortunately your loose skin will need to be removed to achieve your desired contours.  When it comes to massive weight loss as you have experienced, it is impossible to have a perfect result with one operation.  If your surgeon assures you he or she can do it with one operation, I would suggest you get it in writing and understand what your surgeon will do for you if the perfect result is not achieved.

That being said, there are many maneuvers developed for minimizing the risk for dog ears and most surgeons will employ them but you must understand that a perfectly flat end to your scar is unlikely and most plastic surgeons have a revision policy to manage such outcomes.  Understand what your plastic surgeon's revision policy is and you will have a much better of what your future beholds for you.  Best wishes!

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Risk of Dogears After Abdominoplasty

Dogears are a risk of any large abdominoplasty. Since their occurrence is well known, plastic surgeons do different manuevers in the design of the procedure as well as during surgery to prevent them. Largely this is successful but not always. How tissues lay on the operating room table can look different than how they appear when you are standing or sitting. For some patients who want more of a restrictve length to their scar or in the gastric bypass patient who has excess skin 360 degrees around their waistline, the risk of dogears after surgery is higher.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

"dog ears" after abdominoplasty should rarely occur



"Dog ears" following an abdominoplasty are largely a design issue.  If the resection of the tummy tuck is performed properly dog ears should rarely occur regardless of the amount of tissue that is removed.


All the best,

Dr Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 162 reviews

Dogears after an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) are NOT unavoidable

Hi there-

The answer to your question is no. 

Assuming that an abdominoplasty is really the procedure that is in your best interests (this is a big assumption- many patients I see who are unhappy with their tummy tuck results are unhappy because they really should have had a different operation), there is no anatomical variation I can think of that would make postoperative dogears unavoidable.

That being said, dogears do sometimes occur (but should be rare with good planning) and when they do, they will need to be excised (usually easily done under local in the office).

The bigger issue, I believe, is that for the vast majority of patients who have lost a large amount of weight (and 160 lbs is a very large amount of weight), a tummy tuck (IMO) is not the procedure that is in their best interests, and often leads to diminished levels of satisfaction and long term concern on the part of the patient.

Without seeing you personally, it is very difficult to say with confidence, but if you have lost 160 pounds, I would be that you would achieve a much more naturally pleasing improvement through lower body lifting techniques. If the surgeons you saw are truly experts in body contouring after larger weight loss, you should ask them about this option (I would think that they would have mentioned it to you during your consultation).


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

Post gastric bypass

After weight loss surgery. There is usually excess skin at the front of abdomen as well as sides and back.  In this case a circumferential Abdominoplasty ( front and back) would treat all of the elasticity and "dog ears". Good luck

Sanjay Lalla, MD, FACS
West Orange Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Are dogears unavoidable?

If your skin is particularly loose and does not have good elasticity, then there is a higher likelihood that it will stretch out and produce dogears at the lateral margins of the scars. Congratulations on the weight loss. Removal of the loose skin is called a panniculectomy, not an abdominoplasty so it is important to determine which of the two procedures you actually need.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 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.