Fatty Pockets and Dog Ears 1 Month PO Tummy Tuck, is This the Norm?

I am concerned with scar placement, dogears and irregularities on the hips. While the picture is 1 month post-op I understand I should see the final result by now. My question is...does this look like the norm for 1 month out? Should I be concerned with the fatty pockets and dogears? I know revisions aren't recommended until 6+ months but I'm stressing out over a less than impressive (in my opinion) result. Any advice or feedback welcome.

Doctor Answers 14

This is not a very good result.

Plastic surgeons are loathe to criticize the work of others, particularly as any surgeon who has operated for any length of time has his own patients with less-than-stellar results. "That could be my patient" is the prevailing attitude, and in fact is always a possibility despite good training, intentions, and complication-free recovery.

That being said, this really is a pretty sad result, and you have every right to expect your surgeon to be equally disappointed. Check the credentials of your surgeon--is he or she an American Board of Plastic Surgery-certified plastic surgeon? Not just a "board-certified" surgeon, since there are many "real" boards that have nothing to do with plastic surgery, as well as a few "bogus" boards. See my article on my About page on "Why Board Certification is Critical When Choosing a Plastic Surgeon" for more information.

If your surgeon is not equally chagrined about your result, get other consultations with experienced ABPS-certified plastic surgeons; you will need a revision for the best result, and it will be substantially better than what you have now. Each one of my 7 examples in the link below is one operation, at varying degrees of scar maturation. Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

One month from tummy tuck, is this the norm?

No, it is not the norm.  I don't want to make you feel bad, but this is nothing like I have ever seen in my practice in the 25 years that I have been doing tummy tucks.  (I actually saw a patient who looked like this on this RealSelf board with a similar result asking if this was a normal result.  It is not.)  The upper incision can be a bit longer than the lower incision, and sometimes there can be some mild gathering. Mild gathering will settle, this degree of gathering will not. I also do not understand chasing dog ears in a downward direction, and still leaving huge dog ears.  I think you will need a revision. The good news is that a revision will help you achieve a better result. The bad news is that you need to wait several months, and, of course, go through another though hopefully more limited surgery to attempt to fix this.  Please check on the credentials and training of your surgeon. If he or she is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, then have an honest discussion about what went wrong and how it can be fixed, including getting second opinions if needed.  If your surgeon is NOT certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (but instead by some other non related or non-ABMS recognized "board") then you need to find a surgeon who is.

Robert M. Grenley, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Tummy Tuck Recovery and Dog Ears

It is difficult to completely evaluate your tummy tuck result without seeing your before tummy tuck photos, however, I agree with other posters and, unfortunately for you, do not consider this a normal tummy tuck result 1 month postoperatively. 

Your dog ears are much larger than usual and while I'm sure you still have some swelling, it does appear that your surgeon left a significant amount of excess skin and fat on your abdominal wall.  The skin laxity and appearance of fatty pockets will likely get worse as the swelling decreases. 

The good news here is that this a correctable problem and you have a very nice shape overall.  I strongly recommend that you wait at least 6 months before undergoing a revision tummy tuck surgery; this will allow the swelling and scar tissue to settle down making your revision surgery easier.

Additionally, I recommend you get a second opinion from a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  You can find a board-certified plastic surgeon by visiting the American Board of Plastic Surgery website.

Jaime Perez, M.D.

Tummy Tuck Specialist in Tampa, Florida

Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa, Florida 

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Dog ears after tummy tuck

At one month after surgery, it is normal to expect some degree of puffiness at the ends of the incisions.  In your case, though, even after the swelling is gone it looks like you will have extra skin.  It probably won't be a major procedure to trim the extra skin, though.  To remove all of the extra skin at the first procedure requires making the scar longer, obviously.  Allowing for some contraction and then removing a small dog-ear later will result in a shorter scar in the long run.

Malik Kutty, MD
Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Revision surgery for poor tummy tuck result.

I am afraid that your result is not typical for a tummy tuck. The excess tissue at the edges of the incisions is unlikely to flatten and a revision procedure is likely. I would recommend seeking a second opinion only from a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area for the correction.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

You will need to have revision

Your results are not acceptable and I would think that your surgeon is not happy with result either . If he or she would consider this as a acceptable result, please find another board certified plastic surgeon. You may continue to improve ,but the pattern of incision and raised scar will not change much.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Tummy Tuck Result?

Thank you for the question and pictures.

Although your surgeon likely had good intentions to keep the incision as short as possible,  the “dog ears"  present on either side of the incision line are not acceptable and will likely require revision surgery. Assuming your surgeon was a board-certified plastic surgeon continue to follow and express your questions and concerns.

Best wishes.


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

Tummy Tuck Recovery and Dog Ears

Thanks for posting the pictures.  It would be great if you could post some before pictures as well.  You may not want to hear this, but for the sake of all the other people looking at your photos, this IS NOT what you should look like one month after a tummy tuck.  You should have a visible incision, but nothing like yours.  You are most certainly going to need a revision surgery to remove the dog ears.  My Advice would be to let it settle for a least 3 to 6 months and then have the revision surgery.  


Good Luck

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Dog eras

After looking at your pictures I think the dog ears will need to be excised.This can be done in the office as an outpatient.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Fatty Pockets and Dog Ears 1 Month PO Tummy Tuck, is This the Norm?

You have every right to be unsatisfied. From your posted photos, I'm concerned that your doctor was not a boarded PS? In my view this is a very mediocre outcome/result. Seek second opinions from ONLY boarded PS's in your area. Yes you need further surgery to correct the "puckering and dog ears". 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 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.