Tummy Tuck Complications / Risks

When would be the highest risk for complications to occur such as seroma's, hematoma's, infections and necrosis after a tummy tuck? Would it usually be in the first 2 weeks? Wouldn't it be better to use motrin 400 mg daily say at day 10 post op. to decrease swelling? Thanks for your opinion.

Doctor Answers 12

Most Serious Complications of Cosmetic Surgery (including Tummy Tuck) are seen in the First 2 Weeks

Regarding: "Tummy Tuck Complications / Risks  When would be the highest risk for complications to occur such as seroma's, hematoma's, infections and necrosis after a tummy tuck? Would it usually be in the first 2 weeks? Wouldn't it be better to use motrin 400 mg daily say at day 10 post op. to decrease swelling? Thanks for your opinion."

No surgery is free of complications. The more extensive the surgery the greater the chances for and the severity of potential complications. Unwanted events such as death, bleeding, infection, nerve damage, recurrent bleeding, pneumonia, wound separation, tissue compromise, vein blood clots (DVT) with blood clots to the lungs (PE), or  fluid (seroma) collections etc are most commonly seen in these first two weeks.

As a result, it is CRUCIAL to follow ALL of your surgeon's orders to the letter. Personally, I would NOT recommend using NSAIDS (such as Motrin) to reduce swelling in a fresh post-op patient. These medications prolong bleeding and may cause bleeding and or seroma formation. I would use them 3 weeks after surgery for minor aches but NOT in a hopeful, non scientifically based effort to "reduce" swelling.

Good Luck.

Dr. Aldea

Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Tummy Tuck risks/complications

The main /risks complications after tummy tuck happens during the first 2 weeks after the surgery. These risk and complications are not very common and can be treated. Follow your plastic surgeon's recommendations. Do not take Motrin 10 days post surgery.

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 185 reviews

Tummy tucks and their risks

You're correct in that most complications can occur within the first 2 weeks, but in most cases the risks are low and can be avoided.  Some pieces of your medical history are key, including previous abdominal surgery, smoking, and overall health.  Seromas can happen even in the best of hand when everything is done right, but the rates are getting lower with some more modern techniques.  In terms of taking Motrin, I don't personally know of any benefit in terms of healing but you can certainly chat with your surgeon about this at your consultation.

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 134 reviews

Minimizing abdominoplasty complications

Abdominoplasty has increased in popularity more than any other cosmetic plastic surgery operation over the past decade, and there are improvements in technique and patient selection that help to keep complications at a minimum. Most important is to not have an abdominoplasty if you are a smoker or significantly overweight. Infections are rare, and seromas can all but be eliminated with the use of progressive tension sutures (PTS technique.) It is still a significant operation though so you should see an experienced plastic surgeon and make sure it will be done in an accredited surgical facility.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Risks of Tummy Tuck

I would expect that most of the potential complications you mentioned (necrosis, infection, seroma, hematoma) would most likely occur during the first 2 weeks post-op.  Seroma being the one more likely to be delayed a bit.  All of these complications are more likely to occur in smokers, especially necrosis.  I am unaware of any benefit for swelling from Motrin.

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

Tummy tuck complications

Most surgical complications will appear within the first 5 to 14 days after surgery. As you mentioned, hematomas, seromas, wound infections, and skin necrosis will be evident in this time period.  There are non surgery complications, such as deep vein thrombosis, urinary tract infections, lung infections that can appear during the same time period.  Most of these problems occur in less than 5% of patients, if at all.

Motrin (ibuprofen) affects platelets in your blood making it more difficult for proper clotting.  Most surgeons do NOT recommend its use for 2 weeks prior and after surgery because of a higher risk of hematoma.

Ricardo Izquierdo, MD
Oak Brook Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

First two weeks

Generally, this is during the first 2 weeks following your surgery. To control swelling, please ask your surgeon for their advice, as it's better to not take any medications without the prior approval of your surgeon. You can help by wearing your compression garment as advised, cutting back on salt intake and moving around at a leisurely pace to keep your circulation going. Also, drink plenty of water and go to the washroom regularly.

Tummy Tuck Complications / Risks

The majority of complications that may occur with tummy tuck surgery occur within the first 2 weeks.  These may include deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, infection, bleeding, and even death.    Other types of complications such as superficial incision line healing problems ( wound healing problems) may occur during the first 2 months after the procedure is performed. There is no evidence to support the use of nonsteroidal medications to help prevent complications.  Best wishes. 

Motrin can cause bleeding

You ask very good questions about complications.

The complications of a tummy tuck will usually declare itself within the first two weeks.  Swelling is a natural part of surgery and healing.  It will resolve.  Motrin will thin the blood and possibly cause bleeding.  Your surgeon will prepare you well.  Prevention is important especiahly to prevent blood clots.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Risk of complications is greatest in first 2 weeks after cosmetic surgery.

The risk of complications generally are greatest in the first 2 weeks but you are not entirely clear after that. I would avoid Motrin for a minimum of 2 weeks but that recommendation may vary from one surgeon to another.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 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.