A Tummy Tuck Followed by a Tummy Tuck?

Why people are having two procedures back-to-back.

Marked for cosmetic surgery image via shutterstock

Marked for cosmetic surgery image via shutterstock

I read an article in January edition of the journal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, that was centered upon how patients, following an initial tummy or abdominal contouring procedure, will often undergo another procedure.

The authors found that 13 percent of 562 patients who had a contouring procedure of their abdominal area (liposuction or tummy-tuck) ended up undergoing another procedure of their abdominal area which involved liposuction or abdominoplasty within just five years.

Why is this news important? I think it’s a strong message that when signing up for a contouring surgery of the abdominal area, perhaps after weight loss, normal aging, or pregnancy, that patients will choose to undergo a secondary procedure to address the amount of loose skin or fat in the area. In other words, as in most situations, gravity wins.

Although an initial abdominal procedure can make a significant change in a patient’s appearance, function, hygiene, and ability to exercise, there are a number of patients who decide to have other procedures down the road after their initial procedure. I agree with the authors that there is not much published discussion related to this topic of having additional procedures after an initial procedure, and so having a scientific paper specifically addressing this very topic is unique, timely, and an important reminder to patients who are considering surgery to be prepared. Because more and more patients are having aesthetic contouring of the tummy or abdominal area, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

I tell patients nearly every week that in the setting of removing skin/fat for aesthetic contouring procedures, over time the skin may relax and that they may need to have another procedure in time. It is the case for other procedures as well, as the authors note that these secondary procedures are “fundamentally different from the primary procedure.”  The authors note that this is similar to a patient who undergoes a primary breast augmentation who then later has a breast lift procedure (mastopexy).

So basically, when preparing for surgery, you may need to think about preparing for two.