What is a “tummy tuck”?
A “tummy tuck” is a widely-used synonym for an abdominoplasty, a surgical procedure whose purpose, as described by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “removes excess fat and skin and, in most cases, restores weakened or separated muscles creating an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer.”
A tummy tuck should not be confused with various surgical weight loss solutions.
Which countries are the most popular destinations for this procedure?
Costa Rica, Brazil, India, Turkey, and Mexico.
What is the range of prices?
In the United States it’s $8,000,
In the United Kingdom the cost can vary between £4,500 and £7,500, depending on the extent of the tuck,
$10,900 in Israel,
$5,300 in Thailand,
$5,000 in South Korea,
$5,000 in Costa Rica,
$4,650 in Singapore,
$4,500 in Brazil and Mexico,
$4,200 in Jordan,
$4,000 in Turkey,
$3,900 in Malaysia,
$3,550 in Poland,
$3,500 in Colombia and India
$2,000 in Hungary.
What are the common complications if the procedure is performed abroad?
There are four major risks associated with tummy tucks:
- Seromas (fluid accumulation)
- Contour irregularities and asymmetry
The procedure itself takes anywhere between one to four hours, depending on how much skin has to be removed and how much contouring has to be done. But the recovery period also depends on the extent of the procedure. Most people will be in discomfort for up to a week and will not be able to return to a near normal routine for up to two weeks. It may take up to two months to resume strenuous activities and exercise.
While complications occur in only about two-percent of cases, they are most likely to result between discharge and recovery. Once the patient has returned home, therefore, follow-up has to be arranged with a physician who was not present during the operation and may not have full access to the patient’s complete charts.
An example of a botched tummy tuck
In February 2018, Laura Franks, a 36-year-old from the U.S. state of Georgia, underwent a tummy tuck and two other cosmetic procedures at a clinic in Colombia. Once the procedure was over, however, her wounds did not heal and her condition deteriorated. She spent hours in a hyperbaric chamber in an attempt to speed up her recovery and then underwent four different surgeries to remove dead and damaged tissue. She was also fitted with a “wound vac,” a type of bandage that is supposed to seal off the wound while it continues to heal.
“I literally felt like I was dying,” Laura was quoted as having said. “When I got no better, I was transferred to another hospital, where they immediately put me in isolation. I was screaming out in pain.”
Laura was finally discharged from the Colombian hospital more than a month later and immediately flew back to the U.S. There, she was diagnosed as having been infected by three different forms of bacteria, probably from contaminated instruments used at the Colombian clinic. She was put on specialized drugs and required skin grafts to repair her deformed stomach. Apart from the $4,500 her medical expenses cost in Colombia, she wound up having to pay an additional $9,000 in the U.S.