Complications from a Tummy Tuck with muscle repair?

Hello, What are the complications that can occur with this surgery? Are there specific things you look at in a person before the surgery is performed to make them a good candidate or not?

Doctor Answers 8

Complications from a Tummy Tuck with muscle repair?

Thank you for your question. Tummy tuck is a safe operation with the right patient. We evaluate  all of our surgical patients pre op to keep risks low. Wound healing issues are minor while deep vein thrombosis can be more serious complications.

Turkey Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 90 reviews


Hello and thanks. Complications can occur with tummy tucks as well as any elective surgery. Complications may include bleeding, seroma, dehiscence (wound separation), infection, and pulmonary issues. Complications can be minimized by selecting patients with a BMI of less than 30, good surgical technique, quilting sutures, good drain care ( if your surgeon uses drain) and post surgery compression garments). 

Good luck

Carlos Burnett, MD, FACS
Westfield Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Tummy tuck

Hello and thank you for your question. The most common complication is a seroma, which is a fluid collection after surgery.  There are specific techniques which can be employed by your surgeon during surgery to minimize this risk.   The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 131 reviews

Tummy tuck complications

Tummy tuck is a safe operation in the proper candidate. We medically clear all of our surgical patients pre op to keep risks low.

Wound healing issues are minor while deep vein thrombosis can be more serious complications.

An exam and consultation with a plastic surgeon is recommended to discuss these concerns as well as your options and expectations. 

Harry T. Haramis, MD, FACS
Montclair Plastic Surgeon
3.7 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Tummy tuck

Complications include hematoma, seroma, skin loss, scarring, and fat necrosis. Recommend consultation with plastic surgeon in your area

Stuart A. Linder, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews


Complications for any surgery can be divided in to  early  and late types. The most common early complication is bleeding. Fortunately, this can be fixed by a return to the OR in most cases  and  should not affect the final result. The most common late complication is probably thick scarring. This can also be improved with laser therapy and steroid injection with  silicone cream therapy.

These, and other less common  complications  have probably been encountered by all plastic surgeons who perform a significant  number of this procedure. The good news is that an experienced  board certified plastic surgeon can get you through the complication safely.
You  should be  at a healthy weight, not a smoker and can dedicate  the appropriate time to recovery . A thorough  history and physical by your surgeon is the only way to confirm  that  you are a good candidate for any surgery.

Best regards, Prashant Soni,M.D.

Prashant Soni, MD
Danbury Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Complications from Tummy Tuck

There are many potential complications with a tummy tuck. Most surgeons look at a person's health history as well as their current anatomy. Finding out a person's goals is also an extremely important part of a tummy tuck consultation.

Some TT complications: bleeding, infection, unacceptable scarring, numbness, wound healing complications, skin loss, seroma (fluid) accumulation, hematoma formation, belly button loss, belly button malposition, dog ear formation, lumps or bumps, contour irregularities, and the need for further revisional procedures.

When I evaluate someone interested in a tummy tuck, I start with what bothers them and what they desire. I ensure they are healthy enough to have the surgery and are realistic about the outcome. I make sure that they have the support system in place to help them afterwards. There are many other things that factor in but they are often unique to each person or situation.

Talk with a board certified plastic surgeon or two to help you understand what is achievable for you.

Good luck!

Jennifer Boll, MD
Tempe Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Complications from a Tummy Tuck with muscle repair?

Thank you for the important question; understanding the potential risks/complications associated with tummy tuck (or any other type of surgery) is very important. Also, understanding the significant recovery associated with the operation will be important as well. 

The majority of serious complications that may occur with tummy tuck surgery occur within the first 2 weeks. These may include deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, infection, bleeding, and even death. Fortunately, the potential for these types of major complications are very small, assuming careful selection of plastic surgeon, anesthesiologist, and fully accredited surgery facility. Other types of complications that are more likely ( but still much less than 50%) include superficial incision line healing problems ( wound healing problems), seromas, abdominal wall asymmetry, abnormal scarring, unsatisfactory cosmetic result…Additional surgery may be indicated for multiple reasons.

Generally speaking, the “ideal” patient for tummy tuck surgery is one who has completed pregnancies, is psycho socially/emotionally/financially stable, has an excellent social support system surrounding him/her, is capable of arranging enough recovery time, does not smoke and who has reached a long-term stable weight.

A few words of advice I provide to my patients undergoing tummy tuck surgery may be helpful to you:

1. Make sure you are doing the procedure for the right reasons (for yourself) and that you have realistic expectations. Be aware that an improvement in the “problem area” may not translate to an overall improvement in your life situation. You are bound to be disappointed with results of the procedure if your motivation for doing the surgery is not internally driven.
2. Time your surgery carefully; generally, it is not a good idea to have surgery done during or immediately after a stressful period in life (for example divorce or death of a loved one). The additional stress of surgery will undoubtedly be more challenging to deal with if a patient's emotional reserves our already exhausted. Remember, that an improvement in your physical appearance will not translate to an improvement in your life situation.
3. If possible speak to patients who have undergone similar procedures and query them about the toughest times of their recovery period. Any practical hints previous patients can provide may be very helpful.
4. Make sure you are aware of potential complications that may arise how to reach your surgeon if necessary.
5. Make sure you have a strong and patient support system (several people if possible) in place who have time/patience to take care of you. Arrange for professional nursing if any doubt exists regarding the availability and/or stamina of your caretakers.
6. Be patient with the healing process, understanding that it will take several weeks to months to feel “normal” again. It may also take many months/year to see the end results of your surgery.
7. Be prepared to distract your mind with things of interest such as books, magazines, and movies.
8. Expect less of yourself; do not go back to work, school or chores too early and let others take care of you (for a change).
9. Pick your surgeon carefully (a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon) and trust in his/her advice. Keep in close communication with your surgeon and do not hesitate to communicate questions/concerns and the emotional swings that you may experience.
10. Resume all medications that you were using preoperatively when cleared by your plastic surgeon and stop the use of narcotics and sedatives as soon as feasible after surgery.
11. Keep in mind the end results as you go through the potential tougher emotional times after surgery.

I hope this, and the attached link/video helps. Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 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.