Tummy Tucks

Tummy Tuck Plastic Surgery Abroad – is it safe?

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There have been some media reports recently concerning cosmetic surgery outside the UK or USA resulting in complications and/or poor results. The British Association of Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgeons told Sky News in 2008 they had seen 208 cases of complications from overseas cosmetic surgery, three quarters of which required treatment. Tummy tuck patients were included in those 208 cases. The new trend of plastic surgery abroad is often referred to as medical tourism. The UK Department of Health cautions patients against choosing plastic surgeons abroad solely based on cost considerations, highlighting the need to choose qualified, specialised, experienced and ethical surgical teams.

Media reports in August 2009 refered to surgeries in India and Pakistan which have been blamed for the introduction of a strain of ‘superbug’, New Delhi Metallo-1 to the UK. However, of 22 known cases by summer 2009, ten were not from overseas surgeries. The bug is of concern as it is resistant to antibiotics.

The safest advice is to repeat the need to find a qualified, experienced surgical team and be fully informed as to potential risks before committing. There may be risks of blood clotting in some cases which air travel could exacerbate.  The British Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons states patients should wait a minimum of 7 to 10 days after tummy tuck surgery before flying and be aware that tummy tuck surgery is quite a major procedure incompatible with normal holiday activities such as sunbathing on beaches, swimming, drinking alcohol, etc (1). Their advice for patients considering surgery abroad, whether they are UK, European or USA citizens provides some excellent guidelines (1).

Some more considerations

Is it possible to meet with the surgeon in the patient’s home country to discuss the procedures before committing? It could feel more pressurised and difficult to decline an operation if the patient is unhappy with the clinic abroad once they have paid for travel, time off work and any contracts have been signed.

Are the surgeon and their team specialised and experienced in this type of surgery? What professional bodies do they belong to? How many years have the team been practicing? How many procedures of this nature have they previous undertaken?

What aftercare arrangements are in place?

Given that any surgery carries potential risks, the question arises of treatment and advice should complications unfortunately occur – will the clinic cover this within the agreed price? Are there facilities on site, including doctors available 24 hrs, to deal with any acute emergencies?

Will the patients travel insurers cover any costs if any complications or error occur and does such insurance cover this type of trip per se?


Whilst every effort is made to give an accurate representation here, these pages cannot be a substitute for professional medical advice and/or treatment under any circumstances. Nor should any inference be taken as to whether patients should or should not choose any particular surgeon or surgical procedure.  Thank you.

Posted by: Health Watcher


1. British Association of Plastic Reproductive and Aesthetic Surgeons. 2008. Cosmetic surgery abroad- what you need to know. [online] London: British Association of Plastic Reproductive and Aesthetic Surgeons. Available at:


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Risks & Complications Of Tummy Tuck Surgery

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Whilst there are certainly many ‘internet horror stories’ circulating about cosmetic surgery complications, one simple fact remains no matter how skilled the surgeon. Any type of surgery carries some risks of complications and plastic surgery risks are no different in this respect.

This highlights the need to choose qualified, experienced and ethical surgeons rather than simply shopping around only for the price. The risk of complications from tummy tucks are  reduced in the hands of a competent surgical team.

Although you may have come across some of the more commonly discussed complications mentioned here, this list shouldn’t be taken as medical advice – it would be impossible to state all the risks and meaningless in some ways as they will vary from patient to patient. There is simply no substitute for dialogue with the surgical team. The descriptions here only serve to emphasise abdominoplasty is a serious surgical procedure requiring specialist surgical expertise. Finally, to balance the picture, it is also equally true that this type of plastic surgery is quite routinely performed around the world.

- Bleeding underneath the skin which the drainage tubes the surgeon inserts may not be able to adequately clear, sometimes accompany by a hematoma (blood clot). This type of complication requires further corrective surgery.

- Wound infection can occur after any surgery, although prophylactic antibiotics given before surgery can help minimise this risk.

- The extent of scarring can vary from patient to patient, and may require further surgery for scar revision if it is severe or ruptures.

- Skin or fatty tissue can be subject to necrosis – literally, cell death. This appears more common in smokers (1).

- Pulmonary embolism invoices a blood clot which migrates to the lungs, although various techniques are used as routine precautionary measures to try to prevent this and occurrence is not routine.

- Numbness to abdominal region or thighs could occur if nerves become damaged during surgery. Generally, this will resolve over months, with occasionally small areas which do not regain sensation.

- Seromas can form due to collection of fluid between the muscle layer and the skin flap and could pose infections risks. Drainiage techniques aim to minimise this risk, which appears greater for patients with very high BMIs or smokers (2).


Whilst every effort is made to give an accurate representation here, these pages CANNOT be a substitute for professional medical advice and/or treatment under any circumstances. They also CANNOT be used as the basis for any healthcare decision – please ONLY consult qualified, professional doctors for advice. Thank you.

Posted by: Health Watcher


1. Kroll, S. S., MD. (1994) Necrosis of Abdominplasty and Other Secondary Flaps after TRAM Flap Breast Reconstruction. Plastic Reconstruction Surgery. 94: 637.

2. Kim, James M.D.; Stevenson, Thomas R. M.D. 2006. Abdominoplasty, Liposuction of the Flanks, and Obesity: Analyzing Risk Factors for Seroma Formation. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: 117 (3), pp.773-779.

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