Is It Safe to Have a Second Full Tummy Tuck?

I had a full tummy tuck 8 months ago. I still look like I am 4 months pregnant. I have to suck in my stomach. My PS tells me I will need to redo my full surgery again. He is not sure why I am not as flat as I should be. He thinks it may be my muscle. I have muscle repair done the first time also. I will not be charged full price.

How safe is it to redo the surgery? Is it too early? Is the pain and recovery time the same as the first?

Doctor Answers 14

Revisional Tummy Tuck: Wait At Least 6 Months Following Original Procedure

A persistent bulge following abdominoplasty can occur for a variety of reasons. When this situation arises a careful analysis of the problem is necessary before proceeding with revisional surgery. Possible explanations include inadequate resection of excess skin, inadequate tightening of the muscles, persistent laxity of the muscles, residual subcutaneous fat and separation of the muscle repair. 
Depending on the cause of the post-surgical abdominal bulge, revisional abdominoplasty may be indicated. Under these circumstances the muscles can be tightened and excess skin removed. In some cases, weight loss may be more appropriate, while in other cases ancillary procedures such as liposuction may be indicated.
It's virtually impossible to know what option is best for you without pictures and a physical examination. It's important to get an opinion from a board-certified plastic surgeon before proceeding with intervention. Revisional surgery shouldn't be undertaken for at least six months following the original procedure. 

Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

A revision tummy tuck can deliver beautiful results.

There are a number of reasons why your initial tummy tuck didn’t give you the results you hoped for, but very few of them occur after a well-performed surgery. Although your plastic surgeon may be doing the right thing by offering to perform a second surgery at a reduced price, I recommend seeking out a second opinion just to be on the safe side. Possibly, it’s a straightforward issues such as intrabdominal fat that’s interfering with your contours. But in that case a second surgery isn’t the answer; weight loss is. A second consultation will be far worth the effort if it means you’ll finally get the outcome you deserve.

Frank Campanile, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Secondary tummy tucks are safe

Having to redo a tummy tuck is an unusual circumstance, but if you are healthy, it should be a safe procedure. It is impossible to know from an internet posting why you did not get the result you were hoping for, and I am glad that your surgeon is speaking to you about this and is willing to help you for a reduced fee. In the same way that it is sometimes valuable to see more than one surgeon in consultation, it probably makes sense now to get a second opinion from another board certified plastic surgeon about the best way to redo the tummy tuck. Information is very important when trying to decide the best way to proceed in this situation.

Elizabeth Slass Lee, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Safe to redo portions of Tummy Tuck, but weight loss could be answer

When you say that you must still hold your stomach in to gain the desired look suggests there is something wrong with the muscle tightening component of your tummy tuck. It is possible that not enough tightening was initially achieved or that the sutures responsible for the tightening gave way. Repeating the muscle suturing is safe and may be the answer.

However, if you are harboring a significant quantity of intrabdominal fat then no amount of muscle tightening will help. Intrabdomiinal fat is stored around the stomach and intestines and often times goes unrecognized. The bulk this fat creates prohibits the surgeon from maximally tightening the abdominal muscles during tummy tuck.

The good news here is that if this is the problem you don't need nor will be helped by additional surgery. The bad news is that you are going to have to diet to lose this intrabdominal fat to get the desired look. Your surgeon should be able to determine the correct course of action.

David A. Ross, MD (retired)
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Secondary tummy tuck

The situation you have described is rare.

However, a second tummy tuck can be performed usually after 6 months. This is to allow all the swelling to subside and the tissues to reach their pre-surgery softness.

Michael A. Jazayeri, MD
Santa Ana Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Second tummy tuck should be just as safe as the first

In regard to your question about repeat Tummy Tuck safety - Yes, it is safe as long as you are in good health. Re-do tummy tucks are not that common. In my experience it occurs most often when patients lose more weight, get pregnant or when the original tummy tuck wasn't done to the patients satisfaction int the first place. This could be due to the skin not being tightened enough, or to the surgeon not tightening the muscles or not tightening the muscles enough.

I do not think it is too soon to redo this surgery, Pain and recovery should wither be the same or maybe little less.

Daniel P. Markmann, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 114 reviews

Second Tummy Tuck is safe- but outcome will depend on source of problem

Hi there-

Without knowing more, it is hard for me to understand why you may not have gotten the outcome you desired.

Having said that, it is safe to re-do your operation (just extremely rare). Be sure you carefully follow your surgeons every instruction. 

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 159 reviews

Second tummy tuck

Without all the specifics of your case it is very difficult to give you a 100% accurate answer, however if I have to guess, one of the possible causes of your problem is the way in which your surgeon performed the muscle thightening. Sometimes the surgeon uses a running suture which is possible to brake after the surgery, if this happen the repair will fail.

Your surgeon should be able to explain this to you

Again the most important factor in the outcome of your surgery is the choice of your surgeon! Be sure your surgeon is a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of plastic surgery. Good luck

Victor M. Perez, MD, FACS
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Redo tummy tuck after 8 months

The single biggest cause of a persistent bulge after a tummy tuck done by a competent plastic surgeon is fat inside the abdomen. This cannot be fixed by more tummy tucks, but must be cured with weight loss.

Intraabdominal fat is the worst with respect to diabetes and heart disease, so it is worth pursuing.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

Secondary tummy tuck

There is not enough information to advise you on whether or not to proceed with a secondary surgery. The thing I can suggest is to be completely sure the surgeon who does the surgery has made a reasonable diagnosis as to why the first operation failed. If that is not done, the second operation may be doomed to repeat the first failure. If the muscle is atonic or weak, the needs to be addressed or rectified.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 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.