News and Publications

Woman dies after going into cardiac arrest during ‘tummy tuck’ operation

Posted: 09/09/2016

A Florida woman has died after going into cardiac arrest at the end of a tummy tuck cosmetic surgery procedure. Maria Christian, 32, was transported to hospital after losing heart function but doctors were unable to revive her. Ms Christian leaves behind her husband and her two sons, aged two and twelve.

At the time of the operation, the clinic which performed the procedure said Ms Christian was found to be in good health. She had previously undergone two other cosmetic procedures at the clinic, including a buttock augmentation. The cause of death remains under investigation and Ms Christian's family continues to search for answers. During an initial investigation, police inspected the clinic's facilities and surgical rooms. However, no violations were found and the authorities confirmed that during Ms Christian's surgery, all standard preoperative procedures were administered, noting that 'all surgical procedures have inherent risks of complications and in some cases unpredictable complications can occur'. 

Abdominoplasty or ‘tummy tuck’ surgery is an elective, cosmetic procedure performed under a general anaesthetic and has a well-recognised set of risks associated with it. The procedure is used to make the abdomen thinner and firmer. It involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen in order to tighten the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall and is usually sought by patients with loose or sagging tissue after pregnancy or major weight loss. The number of abdominoplasties has increased in recent years, partly because of the greater number of patients undergoing body contouring surgery to remove excess skin and tissue after massive weight loss.

Researchers have previously assessed abdominoplasty complication rates and risk factors. Overall, major complications occurred in 4 percent of patients undergoing abdominoplasty, significantly higher than the 1.4 percent rate after other cosmetic surgery procedures. Although ‘tummy tucks’ are predominantly considered to be safe, as with any other type of surgery, problems may arise. The risks include blood clots, thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications or infection.

It is obviously essential that patients considering any type of cosmetic surgery educate themselves about the procedure and fully consider the possible risks. This tragic case is an example of how those risks can play out.

Arrow GIFReturn to news headlines

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP