Tummy Tuck for Patient with VP Shunt?

I have a VP (Ventriculoperitoneal) shunt because of Hydrocephalus, but I want a Tummy Tuck because I have diastasis recti.

My stomach is hard & big and makes me look pregnant. I have had two pregnancies and ended up having c-sections (one horizontally and the other vertically). I had my tubes tied last yr and no matter what I do my stomach won't go down.

I am in my early 20's, 5'3", 125lbs, 35 in. waist. I just wanted to know if it's possible to have a TT considering my condition? & my blood pressure is sometimes high.

Doctor Answers 6

Abdominoplasty With A VP Shunt Requires Some Preparation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

In addition to clearance from your neurosurgeon, your plastic surgeon needs to see 2 xray films of your abdomen called a KUB with a lateral view. This will alert him or her as to the actual course of your shunt before surgery and provide an important "road map."

Some shunts are tunnelled deep, near the muscles, and are easy to avoid. Others may be very superficial, just under the skin, and could be kinked or otherwise affected by the tummy tuck.

VP Shunts also vary as to where they enter the abdomen...some are down low, others are above the belly button.

Shunts also have a variable legnth of tubing that is left coiled inside the abdomen, and the last thing you want is for that to get pulled out. Shunts placed during childhood are more prone to being short.

Bottom line is your operating surgeon needs a few simple xrays to avoid surprises in surgery, and you need to be aware that any neurological changes after surgery could be from a blocked shunt, and you'd need to get a "shuntogram" done by your neurosurgeon if that occurred.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 276 reviews

Is a tummy tuck possible with a shunt?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi Luvmylyfe - A tummy tuck may interfere with your shunt, so verify the position of the shunt with your neurosurgeon before surgery. Have the neurosurgeon talk to your plastic surgeon to detemine the shunt location and whether or not it can be removed prior to the procedure and replaced immediately after. Otherwise, if you're cleared medically by your internist you should be okay.

Tummy Tuck Possible After VP Shunt?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I concur with my colleagues that this is a unqiue scenario. First, I would recommend clearance from your neurosurgeon and an internist (given your blood pressure issues). I would also recommend an evaluation of your tummy by a board certified ASPS member plastic surgeon. With the proper workup and evaluation, I believe a tummy tuck may be a great option for you.

Check with your neurosurgeon first on VP shunt and tummy tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The first person you need to check with is your neurosurgeon. Repairing the diastasis will increase the pressure in the abdomen. Will this affect the fluid drainage? If your neurosurgeon says that the increased pressure will not be a problem with the shunt then you can proceed. Your plastic surgeon should be able to modify the procedure as needed given the shunt and the previous surgery.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Tummy tuck with a VP shunt

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

This is certainly a unique situation and as long as the shunt will not be interrupted in the procedure or is in the way of the proper conduct of a tummy tuck, I imagine it could be done. On the other hand, I am concerned by your comment that your abdomen is "hard" since usually, the abdomen is soft and flaccid in a good candidate for a tummy tuck. Visit with some plastic surgeons for an exam and ask your neurosurgeon.

A patient with a VP shunt can have a Tummy Tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Absolutely. You should be able to have the operation.

You have a normal BMI of of 22 and had 2 full term pregnancies AND C-sections. Unless there are other, unstated medical conditions, there is no reason why you should not be able to have a Tummy Tuck. As a matter of fact, I did such an operation less than two years ago on a woman with a VP shunt who was larger than you.

The key is to find out where the VP shunt goes from being under the skin to entering the tummy (which is usually in the upper left side of the tummy). The surgeon would need to carefully lift the skin/fat tummy flap to that point and carefully deal with the shunt when repairing the muscle separation (diastasis recti). ( This is similar to the operation we do in people who lost a lot of weight with a Lap Band. In this case the procedure is easier because the Lap Band reservoir can be felt through the skin while in your case the VP shunt may not be easily felt through the skin unless you are very thin).

See several Plastic surgeons (www.PlasticSurgery.org) and see what they each say.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

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.