What Type of Heart Problem Could Prevent Me from Getting a Safe Tummy Tuck?

I am a 25 year old married mother of five beautiful children. My children were all around 10 pounds at birth and left me with very droopy skin under my belly button. I am considering a tummy tuck. The only problem is that I have a history of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation and SVTs. I also have hypothyroidism which is managed with hormone replacement. The A-Fib/SVTs happen a few times a year, but its more of the heart palpitations that I deal with. My cardiologist told me they are not deadly to me. I'm just wondering if this could create a complication during surgery?

Doctor Answers 6

Heart problems and tummy tuck safety

A few points.

1. Cosmetic surgery is "I WANT surgery" NOT "I NEED surgery". I am sure that had you God forbid presented to the ER with a gunshot wound to the chest or other emergent surgical condition, you would be taken to the OR despite your history of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation, SVTs and hypothyroidism. But - there it is hard to justify risking anyone's life if such conditions are not fully evaluated BEFORE undertaking an elective surgery.

3. Medications administered in the OR (even the anesthesia gas) can further worsen your arrhythmia. We certainly would not want such events in the OR.

2. With FIVE big kids - you EARNED the right to a tummy tuck. Depending on the method your Plastic Surgeons uses, such a procedure will not only repair the disrupted 6 pack muscles by bringing them back to the mid line, but it would flatten your tummy (flatter than it had EVER been), narrow your waist, lift a droopy Mons pubis and smooth any cellulite on the anterior thighs.

Personally, I would INSIST that you be seen by the most conservative and cautious cardiologist in town for stabilization and clearance.

My question of him/her would be - how can you be prepared for a tummy tuck, but, more importantly, potentially for OTHER surgical procedures in the coming 2-3 with these conditions? For even if you do not have your tummy tuck, you MAY need to be put to sleep for another procedure. Can we do something now to stabilize you and reduce that risk?

If you are cleared for surgery, your surgeon and anesthesiologist would follow the cardiologist's advice and you should do well.

I hope this was helpful.

Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Need careful perioperative management

Intermittent cardiac arrhythmias vary greatly in severity and importance during surgery. While it does not sound like it would be a prohibitive risk, this type of anomaly does increase your risk for perioperative complications. Anesthetic management will be of great importance in mitigating these risks.

I would suggest discussing your planned surgery with your cardiologist to determine if any measures need to be taken to minimize these risks and to determine if the risks posed by your heart condition are excessive.

Once you have obtained clearance by your cardiologist, I suspect your plastic surgeon will be able to proceed with a minimum of difficulty.

Mitchel Krieger, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

What Type of Heart Problem Could Prevent Me from Getting a Safe Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question.  Tummy tuck procedures can be done safely for patients with a variety of different “medical conditions”. Careful evaluation and treatment of the medical condition is necessary prior to determining the appropriate candidates for the tummy tuck procedure.  In your case this would be best done by a cardiologist.  The physicians who know your situation best would be best suited  to discuss your suitability for the procedure and the potentially increased risks/ complications that you should consider. Also, please make sure you are seeking consultation with  well experienced board-certified  plastic surgeons who preferably work with board-certified anesthesiologists. I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Heart problems and Tummy Tuck Surgery

Clearly your cardiologist should be involved in the decision making process. You may want to consider the surgery in a hospital setting. However, Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation with SVT is not a contra-indication to surgery. Concerns may be reaised for those primarly in A-Fib who are thne converted.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Cardiac arrhythmias and cosmetic surgery

Cardiac arrhythmias are not an absolute contraindication for cosmetic surgery.   Obviously you would have to go through a thorough work-up by yoru cardiologist before being cleared for cosmetic surgery. Remember cosmetic surgery is not for everyone, if there are significant risks, then I would not recommend it.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Heart disease in patients for tummy tucks

Tummy tucks are an extremely popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. Like all aesthetic surgery, your health and well-being must be the first priority. If you have concerns about your heart, it is essential that you receive a medical and cardiac clearance before your aesthetic surgery. Your primary care physician and your cardiologist will help determine if you are healthy enough to withstand the surgery. In patients who have a controllable cardiac condition, anesthesia may be performed in a way to protect the patient and keep them comfortable during the procedure.

To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 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.