Imagine the excitement and joy of Emily when she finally made the decision to get a tummy tuck. As a plus-sized individual with multiple health issues, she thought an abdominoplasty would contour her body and make her desirable.
However, her joy quickly turned into agony as she saw the devastating effects of a bad tummy tuck, which left her hopeless and devastated. Emily is not alone; many plus-sized individuals undergo a tummy tuck to get the desired shape and figure.
But, complications during or after the procedure can impact their body and life. So, today we will discuss the ins and outs of a bad tummy tuck and its side effects
Common Complications and Risks
Studies published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal suggest that complication rates for tummy tucks hover around 15%, with infections, seromas, and hematomas the most common complications. Although many people benefit from a tummy tuck, others may get adverse complications and side effects.
The complications range from aesthetics, like a tummy tuck scar too high or an uneven belly, to major side effects like infections.
The major side effects are:
- Hematoma (accumulation of blood under the skin) 1
- Seroma (fluid accumulation)
- Poor wound healing
Infections can happen even if the highest grade hygiene and preventative measures are followed. They require antibiotics or even surgical intervention depending on the condition.
Hematomas and seromas are painful and cause swelling. Your doctor will have to drain them. Lastly, poor wound healing delays the recovery process and may even increase the chances of infection & scarring. 2
Moreover, if you notice that your stomach is not flat after a tummy tuck, it can be due to various reasons like:
- Insufficient muscle repair
- Poor skin elasticity
- Fat deposits etc
If you are unsatisfied with the results, you should talk with your surgeon. Depending on the situation, your doctor may schedule a revision for it.
Warning Signs after Tummy Tuck
After getting a tuck, it’s important that you remain vigilant and closely monitor the healing process. In case of complications, consult your physician immediately.
Here are some telltale signs of a tummy tuck gone wrong:
- Although pain and discomfort are normal after abdominoplasty, severe or worsening pain should be reported. If you can’t manage the pain even with pain medications, it’s a sign of complication.
- An uneven waist after a tummy tuck can be due to improper surgery or other complications.
- It can indicate infection if you have excessive swelling, redness, and irritation.
- Similarly, persistent fever and warmth is also a sign of incoming infection.
- If you notice any smell or abdominal discharge from the healing site, rush to your doctor.
- If the incision or the wound is not healing as expected, it’s important to consult your surgeon. Delayed healing can cause other side effects and complications after a tummy tuck.
Similarly, some tummy tuck cases may cause muscle separation or diastasis recti. Getting the diagnosis on time is vital for complete recovery in such situations. Therefore, some symptoms of muscle separation after a tummy tuck may be:
- Abdominal weakness
- A visible bulge in the belly
- Back pain and posture issues
- Digestive issues like constipation etc
So, don’t take it lightly if you fear having muscle separation or diastasis recti after a tummy tuck. Immediately consult your surgeon and devise a plan to deal with the issue, as prolonged diastasis recti may cause other side effects.
A tummy tuck surgery doesn’t have a flat rate. It means the cost may vary according to factors like:
- Geographical location
- The reputation of the surgeon
- The complexity of the procedure
- The clinic etc
Moreover, the overall cost may also depend on the post-op care, garments, anesthesia fee, etc. Therefore, it’s difficult to state a fixed cost for abdominoplasty.
That said, generally, the surgery costs around $6,000 to $12,000 in the United States. Please note that this is only an estimated range, and the actual cost may differ based on the abovementioned factors.
How Do You Fix a Bad Tummy Tuck?
Revision surgery is typically required to address specific issues and concerns following a bad tummy tuck. The exact approach will depend on the nature and severity of the problems.
Revision techniques may include adjusting the placement of the incisions, removing additional excess skin or fat, repairing muscle separation, and improving the appearance of scars.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that 5% to 15% of patients undergoing tummy tucks will require revision surgery. Although mainly an abdominoplasty is a successful procedure, you may require a revision in case of complications, unsatisfying results, or to correct any issues.
Some common reasons why you may require an abdominoplasty revision are:
- Tummy tucks revisions are mostly done due to aesthetic purposes. For example, if you’ve concerns like loose skin, asymmetry, or contour regulations, a revision is performed to fix the issues.
- In some cases, complications such as infection, hematoma, seroma, or poor wound healing may occur after a tummy tuck. Revision surgery may be necessary to address and resolve these complications.
- Tummy tucks can also be revised if the appearance of the scar is unsatisfactory or there’s poor healing.
- Diastasis recti or abdominal muscle separation is another cause of tummy tuck revision.
Abdominoplaties are becoming a new norm in the health and aesthetic industry as they offer promising results. Going for a fat removal surgery helps people get in shape and improve their body contours without excessively working out in the gym.
That said, a tuck has its fair share of risks and complications. So, always opt for a certified and experienced surgeon and follow post-op care religiously to recover without complications.
Can tummy tucks go wrong?
Yes, tummy tucks can go wrong. Although the probability is less than 15%, you can never rule out the chances of tummy tucks going wrong. If that happens, you can ask for a tummy tuck revision or other solutions your surgeon advises.
How do you avoid a bad tummy tuck?
It is very important that you research and select a board-certified plastic surgeon who has extensive experience in performing tummy tuck procedures to avoid a bad outcome. Follow all pre-and post-operative instructions carefully, and discuss your goals, expectations, and potential risks with your surgeon.
What does a bad tummy tuck look like?
Several characteristics can indicate a bad tummy tuck, including asymmetry of the abdomen, raised, widened, poorly positioned scars, excessive laxity or looseness of the skin, etc., and contour irregularities.
- Pierre, L., & Kondamudi, N. P. (2018). Subdural hematoma.
- Gouin, J. P., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. (2012). The impact of psychological stress on wound healing: methods and mechanisms. Critical Care Nursing Clinics, 24(2), 201-213.