Cosmetic Surgery Tips

How dangerous is a tummy tuck

A tummy tuck is a major surgery that can be performed to remove fat and skin from the abdomen. The procedure takes several hours, and during that time, you will be under anesthesia. Tummy tucks are typically done to repair loose or stretched skin in the midsection, but they can also be done to remove fat deposits and tighten muscles. During the procedure, excess skin is removed from your abdomen using a scalpel or laser. You might need to wear compression garments after surgery to help reduce swelling and speed up recovery time.

You’ll likely have some bruising around your incision site for several weeks after surgery, but this should fade with time. Bruising may also occur in other areas of your body where there is trauma from the surgery itself (such as legs). If you smoke cigarettes regularly, it’s recommended that you quit before undergoing any type of cosmetic surgery—including tummy tucks—because this increases your risk for infection as well as other complications like blood clots or pulmonary embolism (PE).

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on How dangerous is a tummy tuck, tummy tuck risks of death. Read on to learn more. We at cosmeticsurgerytips have all the information that you need about tummy tuck complications years later. Read on to learn more.

How dangerous is a tummy tuck

There are risks associated with a tummy tuck procedure, these can include infection, seroma, blood clots and Haematoma.

There is an element of risk in any operation, but when performed by a highly qualified and experienced cosmetic surgeon these risks are minimised.

Complications associated with the tummy tuck operation include:

  1. Mild infection – this is relatively common, but usually clears up within a fortnight of the procedure
  2. Haematoma – this is essentially a severe bruise – a collection of blood under the skin in response to bleeding. Surgical drainage may be required
  3. Seroma – a collection of plasma under the skin, causing swelling in the lower abdomen. This is treated by wearing a compression garment, or drainage in more extreme cases. Mr Karidis uses internal quilting sutures, which drastically reduce the likelihood of developing seroma
  4. Blood clots – these are very rare and Mr Karidis stipulates that patients wear TED stockings before the operation in order to reduce risk.

The procedure generally results in some discomfort, particularly during the first week as the body recovers. We provide a pressure garment and pain relief medication after the operation to reduce this.


Abdominoplasty – commonly known as a ‘tummy tuck’ – is a procedure which tightens the abdominal muscles, reducing excess skin and fatty tissue from the middle and lower abdomen.

A tummy tuck is designed to reduce a drooping or protruding abdomen, resulting in a firm, flat stomach. For this reason, you can sometimes achieve more significant results by combining the tummy tuck with liposuction.


Abdominoplasty is performed under general anaesthesia. A long incision is made from hip to hip, beneath the bikini line if possible. An incision is made around the umbilicus (tummy button) to free it from surrounding tissues. Skin and fat is then peeled off the abdominal wall up to the lower rib cage.

The exposed muscles are stitched together in order to create a narrow waist, increasing the firmness of the abdominal wall. Any extra tissue is removed and drainage tubes are placed under the skin to collect any extra fluid that may accumulate. A new hole is made for the umbilicus and the flap of skin is reattached to the initial incision.

Due to the fact that abdominoplasties require general anaesthetic, an overnight stay at the clinic is necessary. After the operation you’re put on a drip to provide fluids and antibiotics. A compression garment is worn to reduce swelling and bleeding.

Drainage tubes are usually removed within 48 hours of the operation. Mr Karidis uses absorbable sutures, so there is no need for any stitch removal.


General anaesthetics, when correctly administered, are largely safe and represent much less of a risk than the operation itself. However, general anaesthesia is associated with a variety of side effects as well as a few rare but serious complications.

Common side effects of general anaesthetic include:

  1. Nausea, dizziness and vomiting
  2. Shivering
  3. Confusion and memory loss
  4. Bladder problems
  5. A sore throat or mouth (from the breathing tube)

Serious complications of general anaesthetics include:

  1. Anaphylaxis (an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic)
  2. Waking up during an operation
  3. Death (1 in 100,000 operations)

It is extremely rare that such severe complications result from cosmetic surgery procedures, however – they normally occur as a result of emergency surgery, when the risks associated with general anaesthesia are exacerbated by trauma.

You will meet your anaesthetist before the operation to discuss your medical history, lifestyle and any other factors (such as allergies) in order to minimise such risks.

Tummy tuck risks of death

Abdominoplasty alone is considered a “major” surgical procedure in terms of risk and impact on normal homeostasis. Relative to other aesthetic surgical procedures, it is associated with higher rates of morbidity and morality, although with lower rates when compared with such reconstructive procedures as craniofacial surgery. According to Grazer and Goldwyn, it carries a mortality rate of 1:617 (.16 percent). about the same as that of hang gliding (1:600). A recent survey reported a rate as 1:2324 (.04 percent). The implication is that abdominoplasty has a significant and definable mortality risk associated with it; therefore, any additional procedure added to an abdominoplasty with further risk should caution the surgeon to minimize adverse outcomes before proceeding. Since not operating incurs no medical hardships, any further risks imposed by liposuction must be weighed by the physician and patient against potential gains.

Another Abdominoplasty Study Showing a 20% Blood Transfusion Rate!

Department of Plastic Surgery, Queen Mary’s Hospital, London

A 6-year retrospective series of 133 abdominoplasties was studied and type and incidence of complications are presented. From this series a group of 34 patients was re-examined between 4 and 10 1/2 years postoperatively and conclusions were made from this long-term follow-up. A high incidence of injury to the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh was recorded. A blood transfusion was required in 19% of the cases, the average hospitalization was 12.4 days and the complication rate ranged between 24% in those who did not attend review and 65% in those who were re-examined. Objectively judged, 55% of the patients had excellent or good results, but subjective patient satisfaction was nearly 90%.

A Safer Alternative

We recommend instead the Yoho Method “No Scalpel Tummy Tuck”, done with liposuction, which in most cases gives you a much better result with skin shrinkage and almost no scarring. If you are indeed a tummy tuck candidate, we will tell you. For more information, read “Liposuction vs. Tummy Tucks”.

Tummy tuck complications years later

Abdominoplasty—sometimes called “tummy tuck”—has a higher risk of major complications than other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, reports a study in the November issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Complication risk is particularly high for the large proportion of patients undergoing abdominoplasty in combination with other procedures, according to an analysis of nationwide data by Dr. Julian Winocour of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, and colleagues. They write, “Combined procedures can significantly increase complication rates and should be considered carefully in higher-risk patients.”

Database Shows High Risk of Major Complications after Abdominoplasty

The researchers assessed abdominoplasty complication rates and risk factors using the nationwide CosmetAssure database. CosmetAssure is an insurance program providing coverage for complications related to cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, which are typically not covered by health insurance.

The study included nearly 25,000 abdominoplasties performed between 2008 and 2013, representing about 14 percent of all procedures in the database. Abdominoplasty is done to remove excess skin and tissue from the abdomen, to create a smoother, firmer abdominal profile.

Ninety-seven percent of abdominoplasty patients were women; the average age was 42 years. Sixty-five percent of patients underwent abdominoplasty combined with other cosmetic surgery procedures.

Overall, major complications occurred in four percent of patients undergoing abdominoplasty—significantly higher than the 1.4 percent rate after other cosmetic surgery procedures. (The database didn’t include less-serious complications that can be managed in the clinic). Hematomas (blood collections) were the most common major complication, followed by infections, blood clots (venous thromboembolism), and lung-related problems.

Combined procedures were a key risk factor for complications. Compared to the 3.1 percent rate with abdominoplasty alone, risk increased when abdominoplasty was combined with other procedures: up to 10.4 percent when abdominoplasty was combined with body contouring plus liposuction. After adjustment for other factors, the relative risk of major complications was 50 percent higher with combined procedures.

Other risk factors for major complications included male sex, age 55 years or older, and obesity. Risk was lower when abdominoplasty was performed in an office-based surgical suite, compared to a hospital or surgical center. Dr. Winocour comments, “Surgeons often refer patients with major illnesses, such as heart disease, to hospitals, which may be responsible for this observed trend in complications.”

Diabetes and smoking—two major surgical risk factors—were not associated with a significant increase in complications after abdominoplasty. “That likely reflected Board-certified plastic surgeons’ practice of not offering abdominoplasty to poorly controlled diabetics and recommending strict smoking cessation for at least four weeks before and after surgery,” Dr. Wincour adds.

Abdominoplasty is the sixth most common cosmetic surgical procedure performed in the United States, with more than 117,000 procedures performed in 2014, according to ASPS statistics. The number of abdominoplasties has increased in recent years—partly because of the increased number of patients undergoing body contouring surgery to remove excess skin and tissue after massive weight loss.

The study adds to previous evidence that abdominoplasty carries a higher complication rate than other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures. “Although the overall incidence of major complications is low, such complications can leave a potentially devastating cosmetic outcome and pose a significant financial burden on the patient and surgeon,” the researchers write.

They draw special attention to the risk associated with multiple procedures—especially since nearly two-thirds of patients in the database underwent other cosmetic procedures combined with abdominoplasty. Dr. Winocour and colleagues suggest that some patients at high risk of complications might be better off undergoing staged rather than combination procedures.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® is published by Wolters Kluwer.

About Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

For over 75 years, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® has been the one consistently excellent reference for every specialist who uses plastic surgery techniques or works in conjunction with a plastic surgeon. The official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® brings subscribers up-to-the-minute reports on the latest techniques and follow-up for all areas of plastic and reconstructive surgery, including breast reconstruction, experimental studies, maxillofacial reconstruction, hand and microsurgery, burn repair and cosmetic surgery, as well as news on medico-legal issues.

About ASPS

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing more than 7,000 physician members, the society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 93 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Leave a Comment