Weight loss and Tummy Tuck Surgery

For people of all different shapes and sizes with a bulging abdomen, tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty surgery is very appealing. Who doesn’t want flatter and narrower waistline?

Abdominal protuberance can affect everyone irrespective of weight. Reasons for a bulging abdomen include combinations of loose skin, sagging skin, stretch marks, abdominal bloating or distension, disproportionate fatty deposits around the waistline, and bulging abdominal muscles. These characteristics can occur from weight fluctuations, pregnancy, aging, genetics, and/or an individual’s underlying anatomy. Many of these characteristics are not affected by an individual’s efforts at diet and exercise.

What makes a person a good candidate for surgery?

Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck surgery takes 2-3 hours under general anesthesia with a minimum 2 week recovery time. The best candidates are in good health, close to normal weight, and nonsmokers.

Patients who are overweight are at higher risk for surgery. That is why most doctors recommend that obese patients loose weight before tummy tuck surgery. A general guideline is if your body mass index is over 30, your plastic surgeon may ask you to loose weight before tummy tuck surgery, and advise avoidance of combination procedures such as a mommy makeover.

Calculate your body mass index here: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm

Just because your body mass index is 30 or above does not mean you cannot safely have a tummy tuck. Heavier patients can have surgery if they are in good health and are motivated throughout the procedure and the recovery process. Early and frequent walking is required and medication is prescribed to decrease risks of blood clots. Muscle tightening may not be advised in obese patients. A “panniculectomy” is the term used to describe the removal of skin and fat below the belly button without muscle tightening.

Maintaining a stable and realistic weight is important if embarking on a body contouring procedure. Weight gains after surgery can negatively affect the results, so it is important not to gain weight after a tummy tuck. Better and more dramatic results are seen in patients who loose some weight in conjunction with the surgery and during recovery. Weight losses in the range of 5-20 lbs usually do not result in the appearance of more loose skin on the abdominal wall. Massive weight losses such as 50 lbs can create more loose skin; therefore any anticipated massive weight loss should be completed and stabilized before your tummy tuck to allow a stable looking long term result.

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