Every surgical procedure involves a certain amount of risk and it is important that you understand the risks involved with liposuctioning and the various abdominoplasty techniques just described.  An individual’s choice to undergo a surgical procedure is based on the comparison of the risk to potential benefit. Although the majority of patients do not experience the following complications, you should discuss each of them with Dr. Zelt make sure you understand all possible consequences. During your initial consultation with Dr. Zelt, he will review these issues to ensure you are well informed before proceeding.

So what issues might you encounter following liposuction or abdominoplasty surgery?


It is possible, though unusual, to experience a bleeding episode during or after surgery. Should post-operative bleeding occur, it may require emergency treatment to drain accumulated blood (hematoma). Do not take any aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications for ten days before surgery, as this may increase the risk of bleeding. You will be given a list of medications, food supplements and additives to be avoided in the preoperative period to reduce the incidence of postoperative bleeding.


Infection is unusual after this type of surgery. There is a greater risk of infection when body contouring procedures are performed in conjunction with abdominal surgical procedures. Should an infection occur, treatment including antibiotics or additional surgery may be necessary.

Change in Skin Sensation

Temporary changes in skin sensation after liposuction occur which usually resolve. Diminished (or complete loss of) skin sensation infrequently occurs and may not totally resolve. This is occasionally seen in the lower most abdominal area.

Skin Contour Irregularities

Contour irregularities and depressions may occur after liposuction or abdominoplasty. Visible and palpable wrinkling of skin can occur.

Pulmonary Complications

Pulmonary complications may occur secondarily to both blood clots (pulmonary emboli) or partial collapse of the lungs after general anesthesia. Should either of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment. Pulmonary emboli can be life-threatening or fatal in some circumstances.

Fat embolism syndrome occurs when fat droplets are trapped in the lungs. This is a very rare and possibly fatal complication of liposuction. Should fat embolism or other pulmonary complications occur following liposuction, additional treatment including hospitalization may be necessary.

Skin Scarring

Although good wound healing after a surgical procedure is expected, abnormal scars may occur within the skin and deeper tissues. In rare cases, abnormal scars may result. Scars may be unattractive and of different color than the surrounding skin Additional treatments including surgery may be necessary to treat abnormal scarring.


Symmetrical body appearance may not result from body contouring. Factors such as skin tone, fatty deposits, skeletal prominence, and muscle tone may contribute to normal asymmetry in body features.

Delayed Healing

Wound disruption or delayed wound healing is possible. Some areas of the abdomen may not heal normally and may take a long time to heal. Some areas of skin may die. This may require frequent dressing changes or further surgery to remove the non-healed tissue.

Smokers have a greater risk of skin loss and wound healing complications.

Allergic Reactions

In rare cases, local allergies to tape, suture material, or topical preparations have been reported. Systemic reactions which are more serious may occur to drugs used during surgery and prescription medicines. Allergic reactions may require additional treatment.


Fluid accumulations infrequently occur in between the skin and the abdominal wall. Should this problem occur, it may require drainage in the office setting, usually with no anesthesia required.

Umbilicus (Navel)

Malposition, scarring, unacceptable appearance or loss of the umbilicus (navel) may occur.

Long Term Effects

Subsequent alterations in body contour may occur as the result of aging, weight loss or gain, pregnancy, or other circumstances not related to abdominoplasty.


Chronic pain may occur very infrequently from nerves becoming trapped in scar tissue after abdominoplasty.

Unsatisfactory Result

You may be disappointed with the results of surgery. Infrequently, it is necessary to perform additional surgery to improve your results.

Additional Surgery Necessary

Should complications occur, additional surgery or other treatments may be necessary. Even though risks and complications occur infrequently, the risks cited are particularly associated with liposuction and abdominoplasty. Other complications and risks can occur but are even more uncommon. The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected there is no guarantee or warranty expressed or implied, on the results that may be obtained.

Informed-consent documents are used to communicate information about the proposed surgical treatment of a disease or condition along with disclosure of risks and alternative forms of treatment(s). The informed-consent process attempts to define principles of risk disclosure that should meet the needs of most patients in most circumstances.

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