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How Much Weight Can I Lose from Tummy Tuck Surgery?

How much weight (in loose skin/tissue) will I lose from a tummy tuck?

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Smaller Waist and Flat Tummy After Tummy Tuck

Patients  often lose many inches and go iown several sizes, but typically do not lose much weight as a result of a tummy tuck. But see my before and after gallery  of 40+ patients (link below). Most of my patients report a weight loss of less than five pounds, but the real difference is in their size and contour.  When viewing before and after images, pay close attantion to waist dimensions. Some plastic surgeons pay very cloe attention to making the waist smaller and tighter. Others, it seems, do not. 

Some patients lose more weight in the weeks and months after surgery as they are inspired to do more to stay fit  and healthy. The link to my tummy tuck before and after gallery will show you dozens of patients and their transformations after abdominoplasty surgery.  The satisfaction patients experience is not from a number on the scale, but the new ability to wear form fitting clothing, to tuck in a shirt or to wear a swimsuit with confidence.

It is quite amazing to see some before and after photographs where men and women have literally been transformed and learn that the weight loss has been fairly insignificant.
While on the topic of weight,. people who are close to their ideal weight typically receive the best results from body contouring surgery. Surgery does things that weight loss and working out cannot do, likewise, being fit and eating a healthy diet can provide health benefits that plastic surgery cannot provide.

The following are a few things that can distinguish some surgeons from others

1) Graduating from a top tier medical school at the top of their class.

2) Membership in Alpha Omega Alpha. This is the medical honors society. Alpha Omega Alpha is to medicine what Phi Beta Kappa is to undergraduate universities

3) Formal surgical training from prestigious medical universities. The minimum number of years of surgical training for plastic surgeons to be board certified is five years. Some physicians have as many as ten years of formal surgical training. There simply is no substitute for stelar academic and practical surgical training.

4) Very experienced surgeons with meticulous surgical technique and natural looking outcomes will have photgraphic evidence of their work. Patients should be able to view many photos of the surgery of interest, photgraphed from three different perspectives all with similar lighting, distance from the camera and cropping

The elite experience extends beyond the surgeon to the facility, and the surgical team. You should be able to see the surgical theater and know who else will be in the OR with you during surgery. The Joint Commission (JCAHO) is an organization that provides certification to hospital OR's. The Joint Commission and AAAASF are two of the organizations that can provide certification to surgical suites. Some plastic surgeons elect to have their surgery centers dually certified.

The anesthesia experience is critical to a safe and comfortable surgical experience. A board certified anesthesiologist can administer general or MAC anesthesia. My preference is to have a board-certified anesthesiologist at the bedside of my patients for the duration of surgery.

Plastic surgeons who cater to high profile individuals who place a high value on privacy will have a private first floor entrance and exit so patients never need to be in a public lobby or elevator for pre-operative or post operative visits.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Not a lot of weight loss from tummy tuck

This type of surgery is performed to remove excess, loose, hanging skin/fat and to tighten stretched muscles. While patients will lose some weight (~3 - 6 lbs), they don't lose a lot. However, they do end up with a flatter abdomen, tighter abdominal muscles, and better waistline.

Edmond A. Zingaro, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

A healing wound can burn calories.

The goal of the tummy tuck is to improve contour and remove inches. In some cases dramatic weight loss may occur following this procedure, however it really depends on the initial indications for the procedure. For example, if you had a gastric bypass procedure to lose weight then chances are  you have more skin and subcutaneous fat to be removed. That certainly differs from someone requesting a tummy tuck that has abdominal stretchmarks following childbirth.

Tummy Tucks should never be used as a method of losing weight. Weight loss may however be a secondary gain from this procedure. Not only from the removal of unwanted skin and fat, but also because of the demands placed on the body following this type of procedure. The increased metabolic activity related to wound healing as well as the decrease in appetite related to the anesthetic and narcotics given postop, all contribute to this weight loss to some extent. Psychologically, the surgery may increase ones desire to excercise and eat right maximizing ones results.

Nick Masri, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Not that much weight loss after a tummy tuck.

The tummy tuck operation addresses loose (droopy) skin, extra fat, and rectus muscles that have been pulled apart, (usually with pregnancy). We take off a substanital amount of tissue, but it does not weigh that much when placed on the scale. Remember bone and muscle weigh more than fat and skin. It will look like more "weight" was dropped by the patient as they will get into their clothes better and have a trimmer shape.

Jeffrey Roth, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Measure your satisfaction on your pant size not the scale

The amount of weight lost with a tummy tuck varies depending on how much weight you are carrying in the tissue that is to be removed (specifically the tissue between the pubic area and belly button). Generally this is 1-3 lbs although I have removed an excess of 10 lbs in a few patients. If your goal is weight loss, you can loose three pounds easily in a week with diet and exercise, but you won't lose THAT three pounds!

York Jay Yates, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

This depends on your body weight and shape before surgery

Tummy tuck surgery varies greatly from patient to patient. There are three components to the surgery that can be corrected. These are 1) excess abdominal fat 2) excess abdominal skin and 3) loose abdominal muscles. Most patients have all or only some of these indications and therefore each surgery is uniquely designed for each individual patient. Some patients will lose a significant amount of weight with this surgery and I have removed up to 20 pounds in some patients. However, most patients typically lose a more modest amount of weight but benefit greatly from the removal of loose skin and stretch marks with the simultaneous tightening of all of the abdominal muscles. Patients can expect to achieve a flat belly with tight muscles with a modest amount of weight loss depending on the amount of excess fat present before surgery.

David Rankin, MD
Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

The amount of weight lost depends on how much extra skin...

The amount of weight lost depends on how much extra skin and fat you have that needs to be removed. The best candidates for a tummy tuck have reached a weight that is within 10 lbs of their ideal weight before having a tummy tuck performed.

Consequently, the usual amount of weight found in the removed tissus is less than 5 lbs.

You won't really lose weight from a tummy tuck

You actually lose much less than you expected from a tummy tuck. The surgery is meant to reshape the abdomen and not for weight loss purposes. However, most people lose some weight - usually about 1-2 lbs.

That number dramatically increases with patients who have had massive weight loss from diet and exercise or gastric bypass. Those patients can lose much more from the surgery - the most I have removed has been 63 lbs and that was a panniculectomy and not a tummy tuck.

The surgery is meant to address the shape of your abdomen after you have lost weight on your own. If you don't have a stable weight or lifestyle as far as diet and exercise go - the surgery will be wasted if you gain the weight back.

Therefore, the ideal patient is one that has been stable at their weight, medically healthy enough for the surgery and with realistic expectations regarding the outcome.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.