Dangerous to Have Breast Lift, Tummy Tuck, and Arm Lift at Once?

I've lost approx.100 lbs and now have very saggy skin. I am considering having a Breast Lift, Tummy Tuck, and Arm Lift. Would it be dangerous to have all three procedures done and once?

Doctor Answers 15

Take caution when considering doing a breast lift tummy tuck and arm lift all at once

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Please keep in mind that this is a lot of surgery that you're considering performing at the same time. For aesthetic surgery, it is essential to limit risks and to stay extremely safe. It is common to perform a breast lift with tummy tuck in one setting but caution should be taken when adding anything else to this combination. Discuss with your surgeon what other options are possible and if these procedures may be staged. Also discuss the level of anesthesia and the time that the surgery will take and the recovery process from the anesthesia alone. Also consider how you will emulate and perform your activities of daily living with wounds on both arms, both breasts and throughout your abdomen.

Combination Surgery Safe?

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Congratulations on your significant weight loss.  After this type of successful weight loss,  is not unusual for patients to want to make improvements to as many body parts as quickly as possible.

Although some combination surgery can be done safely, I  would not recommend having the three  procedures you are considering  done at the same time. Both from the safety and length of surgery aspects  and the difficulty with recovery aspect,  you will be better off staging the procedures.

One possible combination would be to have the breast lifting and arm lifting done at the same time;  the tummy tuck ( standard or extended)  can be done separately.  Of course other  combinations are also possible.

I hope this helps.

Multiple procedures

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Combining all the procedures that you mentioned may be a bit too much for you.  This is something that is based upon your health and also the amount of time the procedures would take.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

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Combination surgery

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One can combine multiple surgical procedures safely. In your case, each of the procedures you want require at least  3 hours each.

Unless you have a team of plastic surgeons working simultanuosly and some technique, then you can't do all that.

Divide your surgeries into smaller surgeries.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Multiple surgeries not always so practical

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Combining multiple large scale operations in one sitting is counter productive frequently. The reasons are in brief:

(1) Cosmetic surgery for extreme weight loss patients frequently requires extension, so each procedure will take longer than it would in a non-weight loss patient.

(2) When multiple procedures are planned, each is either abbreviated or the patient is exposed to longer anesthesia times and more risk. Either of these options short-changes the patient.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

It would be "absolutely" dangerous to do all these procedures at once.

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And don't let anyone tell you otherwise. There is no reason to combine so many extensive surgeries at once. If your surgeon is recommending this, make sure to get a second opinion.

The issues are length of surgery, the extent of healing required, as well as surgeon attention to detail and meticulousness. You do not want the surgeon to rush through your surgery.

If needed, any two of the above three procedures could be combined, assuming that you are in good health and have a pre-operative medical evaluation.

Reza Nabavian, MD
Santa Monica Plastic Surgeon

The amount of time spent in surgery is important

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The procedures by themselves are important but the amount of time spent in surgery is the crucial factor in deciding whether or not to combine procedures. The three you mentioned are long procedures and together do not sound like a good idea. Remember your recovery is also important. Imagine if you are trying to get out of bed and can't use arms and can't strain your abdomen. It become difficult to move around. If you don't move around, you are at risk for blood clots in your leg which are dangerous. Also about 6-7hours in surgery is the upper limit of what is reasonable. Discuss with your surgeon your goals and there is nothing wrong with staging the procedures. Two shorter surgeries are safer than one extremely long one.

Bahram Ghaderi, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

It is not a good idea to have a breast lift, tummy tuck and arm lift all at once

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Since you have lost 100 lbs, I assume you have a lot of extra loose skin. This makes these procedures much more difficult and time consuming to perform nicely.

Each one of the operations you listed takes several hours to perform. This is true even if there are two surgeons working at the same time.

It is not a good idea to do all 3 in your case. The anesthesia time will be too long. This increases your risk for all kinds of problems, especially the formation of blood clots in your legs.

Also, this involves a lot of skin and fat removal, which equals blood loss. Doing all 3 can put you at risk for losing too much blood and possibly needing a transfusion.

Lastly, if you do all 3, the surgeons will not be able to give their full attention to any one of the procedures. They will become exhausted (after all, each procedure is very labor intensive). Although we always try to do our very best for any procedure we do, this is just too much to do in one setting. It may compromise the result that surgeon can achieve.

John Diaz, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Longer surgery time means higher complication rates

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There are NO absolutes in Surgery. But - we do know that the longer the surgery - the higher the rates of complications seen and the more areas we operate on - the more postoperative pain you will have, the less mobility you will have and the higher your chances for blood clots and pneumonia.

As the length of surgery increases, the rate of blood clot formation and rate of postoperative infections, among others, increases. Since massive weight loss (MWL) patients have more hanging skin and therefore require larger procedures (longer scars etc) than others, their operative periods are naturally longer. Some Plastic surgeons ROUTINELY administer blood thinning drugs to such patients to try and lower the risk of blood clot formation.

Only the Plastic surgeon(s) who has/have seen you can give you an estimate of the amount of time it would take to accomplish all your goals. Personally, I was never impressed by the average to poor quality of the scars and cosmetic results of the Dr. Speedy Gonzales prototype plastic surgeon colleagues of mine who claim to routinely do such mega operations. They operate very quickly, by SUPERVISING residents and or PA's so multiple hands are operating at all times.

Put another way, while a home run is beautiful to see, hitting each ball hard leads to more strike outs than running the bases. Unless you are willing to risk mega complications, I would suggest you pick an obsessive Plastic surgeon who will run the bases rather than do a mega operation.

I hope this was helpful.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Dangerous to have breast lift, tummy tuck, and arm lift at once?

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Hi there,

Not enough information to give you a credible answer. Maybe yes if the surgery time is relatively short and you are in good health as determined by your primary care doctor. Maybe no if you are not in good health.

Good job about your weight loss. That will go a long way in helping you actually "be" in good health.

Michael Kulick, MD, DDS
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 12 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.