Leaking Heart Valve - Can I Have a Tummy Tuck?

I have a leaking heart valve and have been told by my GP that it is not serious. I want to have a tummy tuck and this obviously involves going under a general anesthetic. Would my condition stop me from being able to have a tummy tuck??

Doctor Answers 12

Heart murmur & tummy tuck

Provided your cardiologist gives you a "letter of medical clearance",  an asymptomatic heart murmur would not prevent you from having your tummy tuck done.


All the best!

Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

"Leaking heart valve" and tummy tuck--Is it safe?

First of all, what exactly does your GP mean when telling you about a "leaking heart valve." Perhaps this was his way of describing a mild flow murmur, such as seen with mitral valve prolapse. Perhaps this is aortic regurgitation, which is potentially much more serious. Clearly, a more detailed explanation of exactly what he meant, and why he also said "It is not serious" is needed to give you a proper analysis of the potential risks, if any, and the recommendation to proceed with elective surgery, to proceed with [specific] recommendations, or "Do not proceed, unsafe" may require evaluation by a cardiologist, or at least more information from your GP.

I have performed elective surgery on many patients with various types of cardiac issues, including valvular "leaks," flow murmurs, pacemakers or implantable defibrillators, and other concerns, but not without full review and recommendation by a cardiologist, and recognition and acceptance by both the patient and her surgeon (me) of the potential risks, including heart attack, stroke, or even death. Fortunately, this has never occurred with any of my patients, but it could, even in a patient without any pre-diagnosed heart problem!

Talk to your doctor!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Medical clearance will be needed.

You will defiantely need medical clearance before undergoing the surgery.  Anytime there are any health issues, medical clearance is necessary before surgery.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Leaky Heart Valve likely Mitral Valve Prolapse

If what you are describing is a condition called mitral valve prolapse, then you are likely a candidate for a tummy tuck. HOWEVER, you must obtain a formal evaluation of your heart by a cardiologist before you consider any elective cosmetic surgery.   Additional testing such as an EKG and likely an echo (ultrasound) of the heart will be necessary.   In addition, if it is indeed mitral valve prolapse, you will likely require special preoperative antibiotics for MVP prophylaxis.  Hope this helps.

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 210 reviews

Your Health and Plastic Surgery

Whether you have a leaky heart valve or some other condition  that is not completely normal it is natural to have concerns when considering plastic surgery. In my practice, and in most practices, all patients having surgery are required to get medical clearance before having their procedure. This includes basic blood tests, and EKG, chest xray, and urine test. In some cases a specialist clearance is also needed. In your case, you might consider a cardiologist clearance just to be safe. 

You might also consider having a different kind of anesthesia. Check out the link below to learn about having a tummy tuck without general anesthesia.

If your doctor feels there is nothing to be concerned about then you are likely still a good candidate for surgery. i would recommend that you visit with a few well qualified plastic surgeons. In the United States I always recommend looking for board certification with the American Board of Plastic Surgery. If you have good communication with your surgeon and understand what he/she explains are the risks and benefits, the two of you can make a good plan together.

I hope this info helps!

Adam Rubinstein, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Find out exactly what your heart condition is

You most likely have a common condition called Mitral Valve Prolapse which should not prevent you from having a TT.  To be completely sure you should see a cardiologist and get an echo cardiogram.  This will tell you exactly what is wrong and how much the valve is leaking.  Get a written report from your cardiologist (clearance) and keep copies of it yourself for any future surgery you may need or want.

Lori H. Saltz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

MVP and a tummy tuck

You should get clearance from your doctor but in an asymptomatic patient with a minor valve issue (most commonly mitral prolapse) there shouldn't be a problem having a tummy tuck.

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

Mitral valve leaks and elective cosmetic surgery.

Your valve problem is most nlikely with the mitral valve and is not serious.  Many woman have thisw diagnosis which is nearly meaningly.  Nevertheless some doctors suggest antibiotics during procedures, but this is generally considered unnecessary.  Yes, you can have a tummy tuck safely.  We do many patient surgeries with a diagnosis like yours.  Having said all this, you definitely should be checked out by you internist  and possibly cardiologist to be sure you have a insignificant problem.  If it is a little mitral valve insufficiency, it is almost always meaningless to your well being.  Be sure however and get exact names and facts.  My wife has the same diagnosis and is fine and ahs had many surgeries.  Do get an exact name and diagnosis and magnitude of condition.  I bet it will comfort you to get good news that it is basically a normal abnormality.   Good luck.  Dr Commons

George Commons, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Leaky Heart Valve and Tummy tuck

A Tummy Tuck is an elective  body contouring procedure.  As such, it is very important that it is done safely with minimal risk and it would definitely be advisable to obtain preoperative clearance from a cardiologist to make certain you represent an appropriate risk for elective surgery.  Although, some plastic surgeons, might do the procedure with sedational anesthesia, most would probably prefer to do a tummy tuck  with general anesthesia.  Either way, your medical condition should be fully evaluated by a cardiologist. 

Stephen Delia, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Preoperative Clearance is important for plastic surgery

With a leaking heart valve, or any other medical condition, a full preoperative evaluation, including blood tests and consultations with your primary care physician and other specialists is a vital part of consideration for any plastic surgery.  Your plastic surgeon may ask that you see a cardiologist or your primary care physician to make sure that for you, the benefits of plastic surgery (in this case a tummy tuck) outweigh the risks based on your medical history. 

Jason Brett Lichten, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 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.