Oncoplastic Surgery for Colon Cancer?

I'm 29, single, no children, and in perfect shape. I had emergency abdominal surgery on 4/1 to remove what doctors discovered was a tumor in my sigmoid colon (it perforated the wall and I had a bad infection). Six weeks later, the swelling is down but my belly still looks misshapen even though I'm 5'6" and 118 lbs. I will undergo another surgery in the fall (after I finish 12 cycles of Folfox chemo) to remove all lymph nodes and take down my colostomy. While I'm at it, could I do a TT?

Doctor Answers 6

Combining a Colostomy take down, Pelvic Nose Dissection with a Tummy Tuck

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The lymph node dissection is done to stage or see if the disease spread into the lymph nodes while the colostomy is taken down to establish continuity of your colon. Neither one of these operations should be combined with a Tummy Tuck. I would wait 8-12 months after the swelling from these operations has completely resolved and if you are otherwise healthy a Tummy tuck could be done as early as then with much greater safety.

Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tuck and colostomy take down

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It is not a good idea to do a tummy tuck at the same time as your other surgery. Any surgery involving the colon has the risk of infection and this would prohibitively increase the risk of infection for a tummy tuck done at the same time. Combining the surgeries would also increase the length of the surgical procedure and longer surgeries generally have higher risks.  Also the colostomy site needs to heal before anyone can evaluate the extent of the tummy tuck surgery. Don't be upset if as it heals, your tummy looks more distorted. Scarring can sometimes do this but until it has settled down, your surgeon will not be able to evaluate you properly. And, at less than two months post-op, you still probably have some swelling of your abdominal wall so what you see now is probably not your final appearance. So do yourself a favor and wait until you have completely healed from your cancer surgery before doing your tummy tuck. You are much more likely to get a good result.

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Not at the same time

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I am glad that you are looking forward and having a positive attitude. After you have recovered from the final surgery that involves colostomy takedown, you can hade tummy tuck.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Tummy Tuck with 2nd Stage Colon Cancer Surgery Not Advisable.

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I hope you continue to do well from your cancer surgery, and you are obviously upbeat since you are considering cosmetic surgery when many patients would only be focused on doing their best to fight the cancer. Nothing wrong with looking to the future, and cosmetic surgery would be a fine gift to yourself after this ordeal!

But not at the same time as lymph node dissection and colostomy take-down. You increase the risk of infection, and you will be at increased risk for blood clots, so only someone not interested in your TOTAL well-being would agree to tummy tuck at the same time as your second-stage cancer surgery.

Please wait on the tummy tuck, do well from your next surgery, and then consider proceeding when your body and spirit are completely healed and ready for elective surgery again! Best wishes and good luck!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Tummu Tuck with Colon Surgery

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I would not recommend that you undergo a tummy tuck at the time of your lymph node dissection and colostomy takedown.  I, and I think most plastic surgeons, would refuse to do this.  I suspect that your colon surgeon also would nix this.  At this time you should concentrate on "beating your cancer".  One of the concerns is that you would be at a significant increase in the liklihood of wound infection and other potential problems.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tuck and colon cancer

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I am so sorry for your devastating situation.  Unfortunately, at your young age, with a cancer that has broken through the colon wall (not good prognosis), your only thoughts right now should be survival.  A tummy tuck would be entirely inappropriate from a cancer standpoint and from the potential infection risk as you take down a colostomy.  Focus entirely on your health and do a tummy tuck later.

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