Am I at a high risk for developing a infection that is antibiotic resistant if I have a tummy tuck and umbilical hernia repair?

I was hospitalized in November 2015 for an ESBL infection and it was resistant to almost every antibiotic.I was septic and admitted into the hospital for 5 days.I have a peri-umbilical hernia.Last month it became hard/painful and was causing me to vomit. At that time, I went to the ER and the Dr was able to push it back in and referred me to a general surgeon.Since then it is no longer protruding or hard.Is it safe for me to have a hernia repair and tummy tuck without developing an infection?

Doctor Answers 4

Infection Risk with Tummy Tuck and Hernia Repair

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Hello 'ere30' thanks for your question.  Although your history of drug-resistant infection does put you at a higher risk for postoperative complications, I would say it is not prohibitive as long as you do not have any active infections and overall you are healthy.  It sounds like you have a symptomatic hernia that has already been incarcerated once, and it would be recommended to get your hernia fixed asap given your higher risks of strangulated hernia recurrence with possible formation of necrotic bowel, sepsis, and death.  It is up to you if you want to pursue a cosmetic tummy tuck at the same time, but the risks of postop infection is not zero, especially with your history of recent infection with colonization of the bacteria on your skin.  Be sure you seek consultations with board-certified plastic and general surgeons +/- infectious disease specialists to go over your options in more detail so that you can make an educated decision regarding what to do.  Good luck!


Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon

Infection after tummy tuck and hernia repair

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I would proceed cautiously. I would ask  your PS to confer with your infectious disease doctor  and see what they think. Should you be treated before hand or cultured to be certain you are not carrying a resistant bacteria.

Robert Kearney, MD, FACS
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews


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Any time that you have a resistant bacterial infection you have to be cautious about surgery. This is because you are likely colonized with this organism. Several precautions can be taken to minimize your risk of infection such as washing with antimicrobial soap before surgery and prophylax with antibiotics that was sensitive to your original infection and to get an IV perioperative dose.

Arian Mowlavi, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 106 reviews


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In general, the infection rate in elective cosmetic surgery is quite low, but having gone through that experience I can appreciate your concern. This is a question for your infectious disease expert and plastic surgeon to confer on prior to scheduling any surgery.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 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.