Disappointed with Tummy Tuck results. How to express this to doctor without insulting him but getting my point across? (Photos)

I will be 5 months Post Full Tummy Tuck with some lipo . I spent $9745.00 . I was expecting much better results that what i received . Im meeting with the Dr on November 21st to express this to him in hopes that i get things fixed . I am posting Before and after pictures . Some Before and Afters that are together are at 3 months . The rest of the Afters are within the last couple days . Also what do you think needs done ? More lipo or more skin removed, or both ? THANK YOU !

Doctor Answers 9

Unrealistic vs underdelivered

this is likely a mixture of problems on both sides. Your surgeon likely didn't explain to you what type of result you could expect while you have unrealistic expectations(the sitting photo, everyone's abdomen will look terrible, even many think girls who haven't had or need a TT). Your BB in a little large, looks like you could benefit from more lipo, your skin appears fairly tight in a standing position, so more skin may be hard to be removed but realize that will then leave you will a scar where your BB is now. Honest conversation with open mind is your best bet. Good luck

How to talk to your doctor about your disappointment with a surgical result?

Hello Swellabella17,

Thanks for you question.

Here are some suggestions:

1. make a list of exactly what bothers you- be specific

2. call the office in advance and let the staff know that you may need a little extra time at your appointment to talk with the doctor so that adequate time is put aside

3. in a calm and respectful manner, share with your surgeon the items that are on your list, in other words, come prepared to your appointment

4.  review your Pre Op photos with your doctor and your post op photos.

Keep in mind that there is a limit to how much liposuction can be done on any patient and in particular, in conjunction with a Tummy Tuck.  

Also, not all of the fat is superficial- a large part of the fat my be inside your belly, surrounding your organs.  This fat is only able to be reduced with weight loss, dieting and exercise.  The presence of this fat will contribute to some residual  "fullness" in your look, a less svelte appearance.  This internal distention limits the amount of skin that can be removed as well as the degree of tightening of the muscle wall.  Note, when you are standing upright, there is no extra that is visible.

Also, in a standard Tummy Tuck, the only area that is addressed is the FRONT part of the abdomen, not the sides or flanks which also may have lax skin.  There is a different operation for that issue.

As for what to do??  That really is up to you and your surgeon.  Your best outcome would be obtained if you can commit to a diet and exercise program and reassess your results 6-9 months later.  You may be happy to discover that your new look meets all of your expectations!

In closing, the better your communication is before any surgery, the better the expectations can be defined.

Good luck!

In good health,

Ellen Mahony, MD



Ellen A. Mahony, MD
Westport Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Disappointed with Tummy Tuck results.

I am sorry to hear about your concerns after breast augmentation surgery.  Online consultants will not be of much help to you when it comes to specific assessment; keep in mind, that much of a patient's satisfaction with results achieved with body contouring surgery depends on the patient's anatomic starting point as well as the achievement of realistic expectations prior to proceeding.



 Of course, no plastic surgeon is perfect and less than ideal outcomes occur in every practice.  Any surgeon who tells you that he/she has  not made poor decisions or has not had complications is either lying, delusional or has performed very little surgery.   In other words, despite best efforts, unsatisfactory outcomes or complications can arise, without anyone being at fault.  



In cases where an unfavorable outcomes are present it is best for patients to discuss their concerns in a calm/constructive fashion; most plastic surgeons very much want their patients to be pleased and will do everything they can to improve outcomes.  On the other hand, an accusatory stance taken by a patient does not end up working out well for anybody involved.  For example, I would suggest avoiding using inflammatory term such as "botched"... Overall, staying emotionally even keel tends to be helpful in these cases.



  Again,  communicate your concerns in a calm/constructive fashion. Working together you will likely come up with a plan to achieve an outcome that you will be happier with.  Again, keep in mind that it will be in your best interest to be at your long-term stable weight ( if you are not there already) will prior to proceeding with any additional surgery.  Best wishes for an outcome that you are pleased with long-term.

Not Happy With Tummy Tuck Result

Aside from your bellybutton looking quite large, you have quite a vast improvement. Perhaps expectations were not clearly delineated prior to your tummy tuck. Simply share your concerns with your plastic surgeon and let him know the areas in which you seek improvement. If it's possible, I'm sure he will revise them and if it's not, then it is what it is. Best of luck. 

Millicent Odunze-Geers, MD, MPH
Sacramento Physician
4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Tummy tuck results

It's best to simply be straightforward and explain your concerns.  Looking at your photos, aside from the belly button being a little enlarged, I frankly do not see any problems.  Perhaps your goals were not met, you and your surgeon did not clearly explain to each other what you wanted and what the surgeon could achieve?

No need to feel embarrassed, speak to your surgeon.  Lack of communication is the biggest source of conflict.

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 427 reviews

Tummy tuck results

I am sorry that you are unhappy with your results. Part of this may be related to miscommunication during consultation and outcome expectations.   Best to review with your surgeon.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Disappointed with TT results.

Thank you for sharing your question and I am sorry that your current results have not been what you anticipated.  I would recommend evaluating your preoperative and postoperative photographs with your surgeon while reviewing the records of your desired result at the time of your initial consultation.  Comparison of the desired verbal results can then be done to your current surgical ones and treatment options at improvement can then be had to discuss how refinement of your results can be addressed.  Hope this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Disappointed with Tummy Tuck results. How to express this to doctor without insulting him but getting my point across?

Ask for some extra time to talk to your surgeon and ask to review the before and after pictures. Your results are not bad but perhaps there is room for improvement. In many cases, there is a limit as to how much can be done at one time. Without seeing you in person, it is hard to say more. Perhaps some additional lipo may help. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Communication with your surgeon

As plastic surgeons, we always desire that our patients are happy with their results. It's the whole point of why we do our job.  If there are specific concerns about your results you need to convey that to your surgeon. There are often revision techniques that can be used to improve certain areas.   


One thing that I need to emphasize is that everyone's body is different. I think it is very important prior to surgery to discuss reasonable expectations. The results you are seeking might not be physically attainable based on your body habitus.   It is also helpful to review before and after pictures. Patients will often forget how extensive the change has been once they get used to their new body shape. Best wishes to you!

Erik Miles, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 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.