When Beauty Backfires: Turkey Tummy

Injectables and fillers can easily correct the signs of aging, but these treatments, as well as surgical procedures, can also produce unwanted problems. “With all procedures, there are risks,” says Beverly Hills, CA, facial plastic surgeon Babak Azizzadeh, MD. “Those risks are greater in the hands of practitioners who do not understand the anatomy of the face and body or those who lack adequate training.” Avoid becoming a case study of surgery gone wrong—know the most common mishaps, why they happen and how to fix them.

Caused by: Getting liposuction—when a tummy tuck is really needed

What it looks like: A lumpy, rippled, dimpled or saggy stomach that doesn’t match the rest of the body

Why it happens:  When the stomach takes on a less than taut look post-procedure, it’s because of poor skin elasticity (usually the result of poor patient selection), which can be corrected by excising the loose skin. When surgery is done on this area, both the amount of fat in the abdomen and the skin quality need to be respected—if the skin is not elastic, it can’t “shrink” back into place. “The skin and muscle sit close together so if fat 
is removed too superficially, every irregularity is seen,” says Douglas Hendricks, MD.

How to avoid it: Seek out a doctor who understands when a tummy tuck is needed versus liposuction, or both. “It’s about knowing how much fat to remove with the right technique so that the body is proportionate with enough 
fat for the skin to cling to,” says Dr. Hendricks.

How to reverse it:  Undoing a  rippled tummy can be difficult. “To smooth the area, we can reinject fat taken from another area to fill in the valley,” says Dr. Hendricks. “But no fat can be removed from the stomach. That will only make things worse.” According to La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD, a mini- or full tummy tuck may correct laxity.

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