Regret TT with Lipo. Are These Results Normal? (photo)

I recently found out I needed hernia repair surgery. I opted for a TT with Lipo to the flanks at the same time. I regret my decision and am really unhappy. I have heard of the swelling but I feel like my results look horrible. It looks like my skin gathers at the top of my scar and I have "dog ears" where the scar doesn't lay flat at the end on both sides. I also do not see close to a flat tummy! Please tell me this is normal an I didn't just waste $10,000!

Doctor Answers 10

Regret TT

Thank you for your questions and for the very useful photos. 

I will break my response into general and specific issues.

The general issue is overall disappointment. Expectations are difficult to  evaluate, but I do think that you have had improvement, and that the weekly photos demonstrate progress that can be expected to continue. This time period can be difficult even for patients who are otherwise pleased with the outcome.

The specifics:

"Gathers"--when the excess skin is removed, the lower incision is fairly close to a straight line, the upper incision fairly close to a semi-circle. The upper incision is quite a bit longer, so there are always irregularities in the closure. If it were cloth, these would be permanent. But it is skin, and the healing skin remodels,and in almost all patients these gathers will no longer be present by six months.

"Dog ears"--these are also quite common, especially in larger TT's. Many of these are gone with resolution of the swelling, and with remodelling, but some require a minor office "touchup" after six months. Often they can be avoided, but only by making the incision longer, often longer than it has to be. Your incision appears to reach as far as possible without doing a turn to prone position. 

So try to have some patience, and revisit at 3 and at 6 months with your surgeon. Thanks and best wishes. 

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Post op regrets following TT and Lipo

Please do not become discouraged with your outcome this close to surgery.  Your contour has been improved and the areas that you dislike will often smooth out after several months.  There are many posts from your peers on this website on this exact topic.  Please let us know how things look 3 months and 6 months from now.  This will be an invaluable service to the whole REAL  SELF community.

Stephen M. Chen, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Tummy tuck dogears

I'm sorry that, at this point, you aren't satisfied with the result. Healing is a process; it takes time. You haven't said how much time has elapsed since your procedure but it can take months. As for the dogears, these can be addressed in the office under local anesthesia but, again, they can improve over time so revision should not be undertaken for at least six months after surgery.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Recovery after tummy tuck with liposuction

Based on the description and photos, you are still considered early in your recovery period. Your abdomen will continue to improve but may not be completely flat as you had hoped. The dog ears will get smaller with time but may ultimately require revision after 6 to 9 months. I thinks it's critical to discuss your expectations with your surgeon before the actual surgery rather than afterward. There are several factors that can contribute to the "unevenness" along the incision but at this point you should wait until all the swelling has subsided. Sometimes what you envisioned regarding what the surgery can accomplish may be quite different than what the surgeon can achieve. It's so important that the surgeon understands what you wish to accomplish and match the right surgery to help achieve your goal.

Best Wishes,

Stewart Wang, MD FACS, Wang Plastic Surgery

Stewart Wang, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Tummy Tuck Expectations with Liposuction. Answer from Albany, New York


  You are an interesting case in that you obviously were in the larger category when you had your tummy tuck and lipo.  Having said that, it just means the the approach to you would involve more agressive removal of tissue with both the tummy tuck and the liposuction.

  Personally, I would have been more agressive in your case but you do have an acceptable result.  Notice as the weeks have gone by, you are having improvements especially seen in the side views.  The area above the scar is not protruding so much as time is going by but in this area, there are some tricks that can be played to minimize the "hang over" of the skin and fatty tissue that has been redraped.

  It is important to talk to your plastic surgeon to discuss where things are going and what will be your options if you do not get to the place you want to be.  I do not see you improving tremendously in the hips and back area but perhaps your plastic surgeon was doing a more modest liposuction.  Not my approach but it is with some plastic surgeons.

  Having said all of this, you are still quite new and you need to wait 6 months or more before you judge the results.  If you need a touch up, then your plastic surgeon will discuss this with you and how he/she will approach it. 

  If you are honest with your pre op situation, you might find that there is a great improvement !!!  I do not see your preop presentation but please understand that improvement is all relative.  Perhaps you had unrealistic expectations or you were thinking that you were going to get more out of this than you did?  Expectations are important both relative and absolute.


Steven M. Lynch, MD
Albany Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Regrets after tummy tuck

Facts are healing and recovery after tummy tuck can be a very long process. Your photos do show steady improvement, but it will take many months for the stiffness and numbness to pass. Your result will get better so be careful about judging too early. At this time, consider new exercise and activites to keep things moving in the right direction.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Unhappy With Tummy Tuck

Good Morning and thank you for your detailed photo timeline.  Overall you have a significant improvement in your abdominal area with some swelling that clearly remains.  You are still relatively early in the post-op period and with time the degree of swelling will continue to subside.

I agree that your tummy could be flatter and, if it does not happen by 3 months, I would discuss this concern with your plastic surgeon.  The bunching of the skin will usually work itself out and the 'dog ears' are a very simple problem to fix.

The important thing to remember is that with time (and patience is a very difficult thing for all of us!) many of these issues resolve themselves.  If not, they are absolutely correctable.  I wish you all the best for a smooth recovery and a fantastic result!!!

Louis DeLuca, MD
Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Your results can be improved


Thank you for the question and photos.  I think your results can be improved in a number of ways including lowering the incision, repairing the "dog ears", and thinning out your abdomen.  There are several options from small procedure to a complete re-do.   Which one is best for you will depend on what you would like to accomplish and how much money and recovery you are willing to invest.

All the best,

Dr Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 166 reviews

What to expect after tummy tuck

It looks like you are still in the early postoperative period, so it may be too early to tell how your final results will look. It is normal to have swelling after surgery and this will go down. As far as having a "flat stomach", you can expect to have a flatter stomach than you started with and the extra loose skin and skin that hangs down should be gone. It looks to me that your stomach is flatter and the extra loose skin is gone, so that part of your result is normal. As for the skin gathered at the top of your incision, that can be normal in the early postoperative period and should go away. Dog ears are not uncommon and easily fixed. Most surgeons will offer to do this in the office under local anesthesia after a few months if they don't go away on their own.

Armin Moshyedi, MD
Bethesda Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Scarring from tummy tuck surgery can take time to heal.

Maybe the hardest thing to do after cosmetic surgery is to be patient with the results. Swelling in the abdomen can take a long time to settle down.  The same can be said for scarring.  

The combination of liposuction and tummy tuck with undermining will often result in prolonged swelling.  The circulation of the abdominal wall is compromised by these things and the swelling can linger for many weeks.

The dog ears that you mention will also improve as time passes.  This may take months to get better rather than weeks but even the worst scars can look pretty good if given time to heal.  

Dont despair.  One can see progress between the three week photos and the five, and this will continue.  If time doesn't cure all, an in office revision is always something you can fall back on. But remember, patience is a virtue.

Good Luck, 

Dr. Hargrave

Douglas Hargrave, MD
Albany Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 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.