Risks of Abdominoplasty

Possible complications:
Anesthesia reaction
Belly button death
Hematoma (risk is 3-4%)
Infection (risk is less than 1%)
Keloid (heavy scar)
Puckered skin
Reactions to medications
Skin irregularities
Skin necrosis or skin death (more likely with smokers)
Slow healing
Suture Rupture
Visible scar

Serious complications after abdominoplasty surgey are uncommon. However, there are risks with any surgery and specific complications associated with this procedure.

Complications such as infection and blood clots are rare, but can occur. Infection can be treated with drainage and antibiotics, but will prolong your recovery. You can minimize the risk of blood clots by moving around as soon after the surgery as possible (immobility allows blood to pool and create a clot which can travel to the lungs, heart or brain causing a pulmonary embolism, heart attack or stroke).

If wound problems develop, it may delay healing for several weeks or even months. Areas of skin may die and slough off (this complication is more common among smokers). This will result in delayed healing and may require a skin graft. Although rare, it is possible for fat to liquefy and drain through the incision. Additional surgery may also be necessary.

One of the more common problems after an abdominoplasty is collection of fluid under the skin after the drains have been removed. Your surgeon can aspirate the fluid with a needle. The drainage stops within a month and will not affect the final results.

To reduce your risk of complications, carefully follow your plastic surgeon's instructions. Be sure to obtain a copy of your doctor's protocol before surgery.

Surgical scars are permanent. There will be a long scar extending from hip to hip. However, the incisions are usually placed below the swimsuit line so they will not normally be in view. Your scars may actually worsen during the first three to six months as it heals, but this is normal. It normally takes nine months to a year before scars flatten out and lighten in color.

See Recovering from Abdominoplasty.