Tummy Tuck – Is It Safe? What Are the Risks and Side Effects?
This week’s Atlantic Coast Aesthetics Question of the Week comes from Miami, Florida and is concerned with tummy tucks. The viewer asks, “Tummy tuck-is it safe? What are the risks and side effects?” Because tummy tuck procedures are one of the most commonly performed procedures at ACA, our founder and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Thomas Pane, wanted to take on this question to explain not only how they work and what they do but why tummy tucks, or abdominoplasty procedures, are one of the safest forms of cosmetic surgery available today.
Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, is usually done in situations where patients have experienced some laxity in the skin of the abdomen. There are a number of reasons why abdominoplasty may be performed, including:
- For women who have given birth, ideally those who are done with childbearing
- Patients who have lost a great deal of weight due to illness or bariatric surgery
- Patients with other conditions that cause sagging, slackness or laxity of the abdominal skin
A tummy tuck begins by making an incision along the lower surface of the sagging area and trimming away the excess skin. The skin that remains is then anchored and attached at the lower incision site. This has the effect of tightening and giving the skin a more toned appearance and can also help alleviate, but not fully remove, the appearance of stretch marks.
Dr. Pane explains that he does these procedures as a same-day surgery, meaning that the patient is usually sent home the day of surgery. Side effects tend to be mild to moderate and include tenderness, soreness, redness and drainage along the incision site. Drains are installed during the surgery to allow the fluid that builds up along the incision as it heals to be flushed out safely, without exposing the patient to an abnormal risk of infection. In the rare event where a patient does exhibit complications during or after surgery, these complications are dealt with as they arise. The method Dr. Pane prefers is designed to minimize bleeding, helping to take one major risk factor out of the equation, and in most cases where complications such as infection, unusual swelling, redness, discharge from the attachment site and other such problems do develop, they can be dealt with very quickly and with minimal difficulties.
In most cases, the larger problem isn’t complications, but that the patient feels too good! Dr. Pane notes that he is careful to warn patients not to do too much, too soon, because they often find the residual soreness and pain are far less than they expected. This can give the patient a false sense of security and lead them to undertake physical activities that their body is not ready for, leading to wound separation and other potential problems. For this reason, Dr. Pane usually says to give it at least a day or two before resuming light activity, and a minimum of 5-7 days before resuming normal activities.
Dr. Pane says abdominoplasty is one of the larger surgical procedures he performs simply based on the relative surface area involved, but that he has an exceptionally low incidence of side effects and complications. Part of this is attributable to the way in which the procedure is performed, but a lot of it also relates to the care with which each patient’s individual case is evaluated and analyzed to correct the problem areas involved. This gives the patient individualized results that best suit their needs and desires while minimizing the likelihood of any complications. One of the most important factors in a good outcome to a tummy tuck is the experience and capability of the surgeon performing the procedure, and Dr. Pane, as a double-board-certified surgeon in both emergency and cosmetic surgery, is well-qualified to help patients with even the most challenging cases. In the right hands, abdominoplasty is very safe and has an excellent recovery rate.
If you have a question relating to anything to do with cosmetic surgery, we at ACA are always glad to discuss your interests and concerns. Simply follow us on Facebook, email us at http://acplasticsurg.com or call us at (561) 422-4116. Your question may be Atlantic Coast Aesthetics’ next Question of the Week, answered live by Dr. Pane in an upcoming Google Hangout. At ACA, we believe our best ally in giving the results our patients want is a patient who is informed, curious and engaged in the entire process from start to finish. The only bad question is the one you don’t ask, so don’t be shy. We’re not!
*Individual results may vary