My gall bladder was surgically removed in approx. 1985. Will this interfere with having abdominoplasty?

Doctor Answers 13

Abdominal scar

When gall bladder removal is performed through an open approach, it results in a fairly long scar at the right upper abdomen.  This scar may lead to healing complications following abdominoplasty due to impaired blood supply of the skin and soft tissues between the gall bladder and transverse tummy scars.  Given that your surgery was so long ago, the scar is quite mature, which may lower your particular risk of healing complications.  Tummy tuck surgery may still be performed with less undermining in this region.  This is an important point to discuss with your plastic surgeon in consultation before surgery.

Stephanie Power MD, MSc, FRCSC

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Tummy tuck after gall bladder is fine!

Hello. A tummy tuck after a gall bladder operation should be fine-- even if you have a large scar across your upper abdomen.  The issue of blood supply is one you will hear about, but  I have done this many times and recommend you do your homework and find a plastic surgeon who has a lot of experience with this.
Good luck.

Anne Taylor, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

My gall bladder was surgically removed in approx. 1985. Will this interfere with having abdominoplasty?

Thank you for your question.
In my experience, 30yrs is more than enough time to proceed safely after a cholecystectomy. Your body has had the opportunity to  re-establish circulation through and around your gallbladder scar.  Best to see an experienced PS who is Board Certified in Plastic surgery.

Best wishes and kind regards,
Gary Horndeski M.D.

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 223 reviews

Tummy Tuck After Open GB Surgery

Thank you for your question. A subcostal incision from prior gall bladder surgery definitely changes how the tummy tuck surgery should be performed. The blood supply to the surrounding skin is compromised to some extent. Please see a board certified plastic surgeon with experience in body contouring procedures to review the specific risks with you. Hope this helps and good luck!

Steven J. Rottman, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Gallbladder surgery affects on tummy tuck

It will make a tummy tuck more risky and will require certain changes in your surgical procedure. Make sure to see a board certified plastic surgeon in your area who has experience with this and discuss your options and risks in detail. 
My best,
Dr. Sheila Nazarian
@drsheilanazarian on Instagram

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Abdominal incisions from previous surgeries can complicate tummy tuck surgery

In a tummy tuck the abdominal tissue is lifted off of the abdominal wall and redraped.  The normal blood flow is disconnected the only blood flow to the tissue comes from the upper, lateral abdominal wall.  Any scar that cuts through the abdominal tissue can negatively impact the blood that will flow through that area at the time of a tummy tuck.  Gallbladders surgery in the 1980s involved a large incision under the ribs on the right side.  That incision results in disruption of the blood vessels that would supply the abdominal tissue at the time of a tummy tuck.  In some cases that scar can be pulled to near the midline and a vertical abdominal incision can be used at the time of a tummy tuck, but that is only for patients with significant excess skin, for instance after massive weight loss.  Be sure to consult with a doctor with experience with your issue.  It may not be safe to do a tummy tuck at all.  You may have to consider other options, such as liposuction, in order to give some improvement in a safe way.  Best of luck. 

Jason E. Leedy, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 131 reviews

Tummy Tuck after Subcostal Cholecystectomy

A subcostal gallbladder incision makes an abdominoplasty more risky and requires changes in the surgical procedure. However, when done properly, the procedure is safe and can provide an excellent result. Make sure whoever you see is a board certified plastic surgeon.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Gall bladder scar and tummy tuck

In 1985, the gallbladder scars that were made were done in an open fashion and incision was done across one of the rectus muscles to gain access into the abdomen. This does transect one of the main blood supplies to the abdominal flap that is made during a tummy tuck. One has to be more careful with the amount of liposuction as well as the amount of skin separation from its underlying blood supply that can take place. The main risk is not having a blood to heal the furthest point away from where the blood supply is still attached to your body. Tummy tuck's can be done but carefully under this scenario. Hope this is helpful.

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Gall Bladder Surgery & Abdominoplasty

Thank you for your question. In 1985 Laparoscopic gall bladder removal was  not even "on the map" yet.  Laparoscopic gall bladder removal does not pose any meaningful additional risk.  Traditionally, a "subcostal" incision under the rib cage was used to remove the gall bladder in 1985.  This incision does compromise the blood supply to the skin somewhat.  With some modification the procedure can be done safely.  Alteration of the technique is necessary to reduce the risk of skin necrosis or death on the left of central location of the final incision.  This is typically accomplished by either limiting the amount of undermining or dissection on the affected side or placing your final incision higher or a combination of both. Consult with a surgeon with experience addressing this issue to reduce your risk of complications. Best wishes!

Robert F. Centeno, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Gall bladder surgery

Even if your surgery was done in an open fashion with a big incision you can still have a tummy tuck but caution is advised near the scar area for healing purposes. Most surgeons would still consider performing a tummy tuck despite the scar 

David R. Alfonso, MD, FACS
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 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.