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Reader Question: Tummy Tuck and Skin Necrosis

Posted Sep 21 2009 12:00am

Reader Question:

I am having a tummy tuck and I smoke. I am worried about Skin Necrosis. What exactly is it and how can I not get it?

Skin necrosis is the loss of skin usually from a poor blood supply. This loss produces wounds that can take a long time to heal. It is more common in larger Tummy Tuck operations and in smokers. The process starts usually within days of surgery. The skin changes to a red and then dark red color over a few days after surgery. It may seem cool to the touch. Then it may blister and peel and then turn black over a week or two. Smokers who quit cigarettes are still at higher risk, but it may be reduced somewhat by quitting.  Necrosis varies in extent. In larger cases, areas near the pubes are affected. In lesser cases, areas of the scar can scab and take a long time to heal. In non-smokers this is very uncommon.  Many surgeons believe that back liposuction may contribute to the risk. Some surgeons do not perform back liposuction at the time of a tummy tuck to reduce this risk.

Best Regards,

John Di Saia MD

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