What are the risks of Abdominoplasty?

As with any surgery under anesthesia, primary risks are associated with the anesthetic.

There are more risks with Abdominoplasty due to the fat and its surrounding tissues becoming necrotic (dead tissue).  If the fat becomes necrotic from lack of blood supply, the fat tends to turn orange-ish clear and a little may drain from the incision.  Although this is very normal to have fluid this color drain from the incision.  There will be fat damage, there will be fluid retention, and there will be blood-tinted drainage.

If the tissue becomes necrotic, or you have a massive die off of fat cells you must have the tissue removed before a major infection develops. This is extremely rare and taking precautions can certainly make a difference:

  • Do not smoking
  • Take approriate wound care

Sometimes Liposuction is part of the Abdominoplasty procedure.  Even with the ultrasonic technique, patients have been known to receive actual burns from the ultrasonic technique.  The fat is actually melted within the body by 'exciting' the fat molecules with high frequency radio waves and is suctioned out.  There may be asymmetry, hyperpigmentation (permanent dark spots) from the bruising.  Major blood loss is a factor is some cases.

Another risk is Pulmonary Thromboemboli - a blood clot that breaks free and travel to the lungs. This can put a patient into adult breathing distress and subsequently into cardiac arrest or coma. Pulmonary Thromboemboli can occur within three weeks of the surgery but will most likely show symptoms of shortness of breath and fatigue within the first 72 hours. Pulmonary Thromboemboli can occur suddenly, without warning.