Postoperative Management and Complications in Tummy Tuck

Postoperative Management in Tummy Tuck

Generally, one or two drains are placed after a standard tummy tuck. A standard operative abdominal binder provides compression to decrease seroma formation and maximize contouring results. It is imperative that the patient ambulate early and often after surgery to reduce complications including deep venous thrombosis (blood clots in legs) and pulmonary embolus (blood clot that travels to the lungs).

Most Common Complications in Tummy Tuck

  • The most frequently described postoperative complications are seroma, wound separation, and infection
  • These are usually relatively minor in nature and can be addressed nonoperatively
  • Postoperative skin necrosis, scar dehiscence, dog-ears, and above-scar fat folds frequently require revision procedures
  • Injuries to the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh occur in as many as 10% of patients. Dr. Hughes has never encountered this problem in his cohort of patients.
  • Fatal pulmonary embolism is uncommon (1/1000), but prophylaxis is prudent
  • Low-molecular-weight heparin can be administered to patients who are at higher risk for deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Dr. Hughes has never encountered this problem in his cohort of patients.
  • In addition, fat embolism has been reported when liposuction is added to abdominoplasty procedures. Dr. Hughes has never encountered this problem in his cohort of patients.
  • Large quantities of tumescent fluid can lead to lidocaine toxicity and pulmonary edema. Dr. Hughes has never encountered this problem in his cohort of patients.
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