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Am I able to have a tummy tuck after multiple abdominal surgeries?

Q:

I had 2 c-sections followed later on by a hysterectomy (using the same incision area as the c-sections).  I had a kidney removed and seven years ago I had cancer resulting in part of my small intestine being removed.  My stomach now hangs a lot and no matter what I do, I cannot tighten it. Would I be a candidate for a tummy tuck or would I be a high risk patient for the procedure. 

A:

 You have been through a a lot.  I would start by checking with your Oncologist or Cancer Doctor.  Ask his/her opinion about the cosmetic procedure you are considering.  The obvious main issue is whether you are cancer free or at high risk for recurrence.  Next, would be the concern of your renal or kidney function. Check with your Internal Medicine or Family Practice physician on your kidney function and possibly your cardiopulmonary status for General Anesthesia.  These concerns should be addressed well before you consider any cosmetic surgery.

A Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty is not a minor procedure.  It is one of the most extensive procedures performed by plastic surgeons.  As such, it has higher risks.  Patients increase their associated risk for having such a procedures when they have extenuating factors such as obesity, a history of cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes, etc.  Many ASAPS plastic surgeons use protocols or critical pathways to screen their patients for Tummy Tucks.  These protocols or critical pathways help to define who is the best candidate for an Abdominoplasty so that the Tummy Tuck is done safely and the surgeon's patients have a favorable outcome. Consider a consult with one of the many members of ASAPS after you have discussed this matter with your physicians.

Best,

Gary R. Culbertson, MD, FACS

A:

I have done several tummy tuck procedures in patients with difficult past surgical histories.  It depends on the location of the previous incisions whether or not your tummy tuck incision can be kept in the traditional low hip to hip position.  The surgeon in cooperation with the patient can elevate the incision to help in theses situations.  In the situation where there is an existing midline incision the lower portion as long as it is below the belly-button can usually be almost completely excised.  In some instance a small inverted T will be left below the belly button to eliminate excess tension on the point where the vertical and horizontal incisions meet.  After an initial exam many of theses questions are answered.

A:

Tummy Tuck After Multiple Abdominal Surgeries – One can have an abdominoplasty after C-sections and other procedures, however, one has to plan the scars accordingly to minimize the potential for skin loss. This can be done in consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with expertise in this area.

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