I’m Dr. David Stoker, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Los Angeles. One of the questions we frequently receive from both patients and writers out there is: What are the dangers of going to a surgeon who may not be the best at mommy makeover surgery in particular? Well, first, it’s important to understand what a mommy makeover is. It’s a combination of tummy tuck, breast surgery, and liposuction. So, that means it’s a lot of surgery. Of those procedures, the tummy tuck is the one with the most risk and the most recovery. But when you put all those procedures together, it does increase the risk and recovery. But of course, it is a very common cluster of procedures for us to perform, and when it’s done correctly, it can have a very low complication rate, and that’s what we do in our practice.
What specifically should you be concerned about? Well, I see a lot of patients for corrective plastic surgery in my practice. I believe that when somebody runs into a problem with another surgeon somewhere, they’re a lot more likely to do intensive research. And when they’re looking for experts in the field, they’re likely going to come across me. Why? Well, I’ve taught classes on this for almost 20 years at plastic surgery meetings. I have over ten thousand beautiful before-and-after pictures on my website to illustrate my expertise. I’ve done a lot of publishing, textbook chapters, and many journal articles both on safety as well as quality results. Even then, there are still risks no matter what you do. Even if we’re doing a manicure, there are some risks for patients. But what you want to do is minimize those risks.
The kinds of complications that you can get into, of course, can be severe, and they’re not fun to talk about at all. Death, of course, is the worst one. It’s never happened in my practice, but I guess it could. And we really want to minimize the risk of that. And there are so many things I do to decrease those risks that I think you get a lot of value in coming to me for plastic surgery. Other risks that can occur include pulmonary embolus or blood clots, hemorrhage or bleeding, and it’s possible to have skin necrosis or planning problems, such as poor scar location or even really thick scars. That can happen to any surgeon, but with optimal planning and technique, can be reduced.
For a lot of patients, those are some of the more common complications that we see. I believe the most obvious ones that you get when you go to a better plastic surgeon include a scar position and appearance. If you go to somebody who’s trying to cut corners, well, they might do a little bit of undermining on a tummy tuck, and you might think, “Wow, it’s a small procedure with a quick recovery,” but when you look down, there isn’t much improvement at all. There’s a fine line between being too aggressive and not being aggressive enough with the surgeries, and what you want to do is be with a surgeon who is vastly experienced and who is very qualified to do your operation. Do your research extensively, make sure you see a lot of before-and-after pictures that make you feel confident, make sure that they operate in a certified surgery center, and that the overall vibe that you get from the practice is that there are a lot of nurses and other licensed professionals as a part of it. They’re not cutting corners and understaffing their office and operating room, and that the doctor himself or herself is giving you the time, analysis, and care that you would expect in somebody undertaking a serious, expensive, and exciting opportunity like mommy makeover surgery.
Ultimately, your effort is going to be worth it. It becomes very expensive to do revision surgery. One of the saddest things about seeing somebody for revision surgery is that often they didn’t go to the best surgeon and were cutting corners to try to save money. But now, they are extremely sad and dissatisfied with the results, and it may cost three times as much as it would have otherwise. So, like many times in life, it’s best to do it the first time. Do your research, look for the things that I suggested, to make sure your surgeon is qualified. Good luck to you. This is Dr. David Stoker, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Los Angeles.