Is it safe to have liposuction and tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) procedure at the same time?
This is an important question that I receive quite often from patients who may wish to combine treatment of the abdomen, flanks, and hips during a single procedure. While combining the two procedures can produce dramatic results, the major consideration is to combine them safely and minimize risk to the patient.
So, what are the risks of a combined procedure?
The overall health of the patient as a whole is important, taking into account their age and other risk factors. A surgeon might perform liposuction in several areas in a young, healthy patient at the time of abdominoplasty. In older patients with existing health issues, such as smoking or diabetes, the risks are higher. In these patients, the blood supply to the abdominal skin is already compromised, and adding liposuction to an abdominoplasty greatly increases the overall risk.
The longer the surgery the higher the risk of complications. A dangerous complication is forming blood clots in the lower extremity deep veins (DVT), which if they become detached, can travel to the lungs (Pulmonary embolism).
Wound healing problems due to compromised blood supply. It is recommended to avoid liposuctioning the central abdomen so as to preserve as much blood flow as possible to the skin. If there is excess fat in the central abdomen, I would consider performing the liposuction at a different time than the tummy tuck.
In conclusion, while it can be safe to combine the procedures, the surgeon must intelligently plan the operation to maximize the blood supply to the abdominal wall and belly button. It is important to have a thorough discussion with your plastic surgeon regarding the risks and benefits when considering these procedures.