Where to Go in Case of Tummy Tuck Complications?

I live a little over 1.5 hrs south of Atlanta. I want a Tummy Tuck but the only recommended Dr's that I have found is in Atlanta. Is that too far away to travel for a Tummy tuck?

If there were complications can I go to the local ER or should I be close to my Plastic surgeon? I don't know many people here and no one has been recommended to me for any Dr's in this area.

Doctor Answers 3

How far is too far when traveling for plastic surgery?

Dear Time4change,

There are several answers to your question : "If there were complications can I go to the local ER or should I be close to my Plastic surgeon? I don't know many people here and no one has been recommended to me for any Dr's in this area."

Most established plastic surgeons have a lot of out of town patients. As your practice grows and people get to hear about you and see your work, they tell others who tell others. This results in people who want you to perform their surgery and no one else. As such, we are used to seeing and operating on people who fly in or drive many hours to see us.

These days, there are skilled Plastic surgeons living in most moderate sized communities. Unless YOU want to, you do not need to travel to a large city or a famous zip code to get great plastic surgery.

If you want to "stay local" go the the site of the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF PLASTIC SURGEONS (www.plasticsurgery.org) put the zip codes where you would consider going in the PLASTIC SURGEON REFERRAL box. It will provide you with a list of board certified plastic surgeons as well as their websites and phone numbers. View their sites and then see at least 2 or more to compare their styles. I would then pick the one I was most comfortable with. (Of course I would look at their before and after pictures and ask to speak to previous patients).

The complications of abdominoplasty are rare. Most can be hadled with weekly office visits. When serious complications do occur (such as serious infection, pneumonia, blood clots) they may require the use of other medical professionals anyway - so there is little advantage in going away UNLESS you want to get most of your care away.

I hope this was helpful.

Peter A Aldea, MD, FACS

Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Tummy Tuck Complications

Significant TT complications are relatively rare.  I think, if you are comfortable with an Atlanta plastic surgeon, you should have no hesitance in having your TT performed there.  Many of my patients travel 1.5 hours or longer.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

How far is too far when traveling for plastic surgery?

Hi Time4change.

This is a good question. It is very rational and good planning to consider how far away you live from your plastic surgeon.

First, let's make it clear that the vast majority of patients do not have complications after surgery. However, a few do have complications and, no matter what, you will be having post-operative visits with your surgeon.

I trained in Atlanta and am very familiar with the surgeons there, particularly those at Atlanta Plastic Surgery and Paces Plastic Surgery. All are excellent. I think it is more important to choose a good surgeon who is recommended to you rather than one who is close. However, I am not familiar with your life and responsibilites.

If it will be difficult/impossible for you to travel for your post-operative visits, I would recommend someone closer to home. Find out how often your routine post-operative visits will be so you can determine if this schedule is possible for you.

If you have your surgery in Atlanta, and you have a complication that requires immediate attention, your local plastic surgeon will be available to help. Usually, complications are minor and require more frequent in office follow-up visits, so again decide if you could make more frequent trips to Atlanta for this care.

I have many patients who travel far distances to have their surgery with me. The biggest consideration for them is usually that we ask them to stay in the area for several days after surgery before returning to home. They have to find someone to manage their home during this time (you need someone to do this anyway after tummy tuck) and it also adds to the expense.

Not all plastic surgeons ask this of their patients, so find out from your Atlanta-based doctor how long they want you to stay in the area after surgery.

Keep in mind that for the first week or two someone will have to drive you to your doctor's appointments.

Hope this helps.

Tracy Pfeifer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 29 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.