I had a tummy tuck and Breast lift. How common are the complications I experienced?

I had a hemoseratoma, required 4 pints of blood, had a broken drain tube that required surgery to remove and ended up with severe abdominal scar adhesion. Is this normal?

Doctor Answers 19

Not normal at all...

I am sorry you had to experience these things with what you should have been a surgery that is associated with great changes and not the things you have had to undergo. Transfusions like that, unless there is some other factor we are unaware of - like you are on blood thinners, or had some previously unknown clotting deficiency, are very rare, although not completely unheard of. A drain tube broken inside is even more out of the ordinary.

However, it is always possible to have a massive string of "bad luck" - my own father's hip replacement seemed to have everything go wrong that could go wrong, despite a good doctor and a good hospital, so unfortunately in this life, bad things do happen to good people and there is no one to blame or second guess as to what could have been done differently.

If you have a good board certified Plastic Surgeon, I am sure he is as horrified by all of this as you are, and wants to make you better and will do a good job of it. If you are not as sure of your surgeon's abilities, it would seem totally reasonable and prudent to get a different set of eyes on your condition (second opinion).

Texas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Transfusions after mommy makeover is extremely rare.

It would be extremely rare to require a transfusion of any kind after mommy makeover surgery. Nevertheless, although rare, this complication can occur. Drains can break off although this to is quite unusual. I personally don't use drains so this is not a complication that I encounter.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

I had a tummy tuck and Breast lift. How common are the complications I experienced?

I am sorry to hear about the complications you have experienced. Although complications may occur, it certainly sounds like you have more than your "fair share". I would say of all the complications you have experienced can occur occasionally; the most unusual in my opinion would be bleeding to the extent of requiring blood transfusions (although "broken drain tube" is also quite unusual).   Hopefully you are working with a board certified plastic surgeon who is following you very closely.   Best wishes for an outcome that you will be pleased with long-term.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

I had a tummy tuck and Breast lift. How common are the complications I experienced?

No... Without photos and knowing all the details of your surgery- it's difficult to give an accurate answer. Depending upon the extent and complexity of your procedures- complications can occur.Remeber, a complication- is an untoward event that occurs inspire of all aspects being perfect. It sounds like you had a bit of a rough go- hopefully- things have resolved..

Thomas Trevisani, Sr., MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews


No.  You have experienced very unusual complications.  If your surgeon is a board certified  experienced plastic surgeon you should be taken care of.  Otherwise, I would seek a second opinion.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Mommy makeover

I'm sorry you had these complications. Blood transfusions for tummy tucks are very uncommon as well as having a drain tube break. Tethered scars are also not common although this can be revised. 

Best wishes, 

Dr. Jan

Badar Jan, MD
Allentown Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Tummy tuck complications

Thank you for your question.  I am sorry to hear about your complications.  No, these are not normal complications.  It is unusual to require a blood transfusion after a tummy tuck.  Also, unusual to have your drain break and require surgical removal.  All surgeries have some risk of complications;  for a tummy tuck the most common complications are small areas of slow wound healing and seroma (fluid pockets).  These risks are somewhere around 10-15%.  I hope your recovery is smooth from this point on .  

Matthew H. Steele, MD
Sioux City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Surgical Risks

All surgical procedures carry some degree of risk. Any breast operation can result in changes in sensation. This happens less with lifts than reductions but is still possible. Occasionally, minor complications occur and do not affect the surgical outcome. Major complications associated with this procedure are rare. The suitability of the breast lift procedure and specific risks may be determined during your consultation.

Along tummy tuck incisions, or breast as well, #hypertrophic or #keloid scars can be a problem.  The worst are usually under the breast with an #AnchorLift or inverted “T”.  These can be treated like all thickened scars with re-excision, laser, kenalog/5-FU injections, creams, silicone strips and other methods to reduce and improve healing

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews


Nope, nope and nope...sorry to hear that you had complications.  No one likes to have to deal with these issues both as a patient and as surgeons.  If your surgeon was a board certified plastic surgeon, you should be taken care of.  The most unique of these complications is the drainage tube breaking.  This is rare.  Hang in there.  Good luck.

Dr V

Bhupesh Vasisht, MD
Voorhees Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Complications after Tummy tuck

There are always going to be risks of complications after any surgery. Fluid collections after tummy tuck can occur, hence the need for drains in many cases. Bleeding is less common, but can occur. Drain breakage is unusual, but unfortunately technical issues can arise with any endeavor. As long as your doctor is available and  taking good care of you and managing these issues in a timely manner, everything should turn out just fine. Scar tissue  can always be addressed at a later time after you have healed. Many times, adhesions or areas of firmness under the skin improve with time and massage. 

Hayley Brown, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 89 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.