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Is It Safe to Have a Tummy Tuck - Either Standard or Modified - While Obese?

I know I should lose 80-100 pounds. But I would really like to improve my overall appearance now. I would like both my upper arms and tummy worked on. I would feel MUCH better in (and out) of clothes and think it would inspire me to lose more weight. I understand I may need the surgery repeated if indeed I lose a significant amount. Honestly, it's not likely. I am newly married and would LOVE to fix the apron of fat and reduce my arms. I am in excellent health.

Doctor Answers 10

Fixing the Fat Apron with 100 lbs to Lose

    I think it is reasonable to perform a panniculectomy in which the fat apron is removed, but I do not think it an acceptable risk to perform a tummy tuck and arm lift on someone who has 100 lbs to lose.

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Losing weight before having a tummy tuck.

We require patients to be at their ideal weight for at least 6 months because once you lose additional weight, your results are compromised and you will need additional surgeries.  Once you start to lose weight you may feel a little better.

Best Wishes!

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Safe weight for a Tummy Tuck

Even if you are heavier than what is considered "ideal", you can absolutely benefit from a tummy tuck.  I think that you have the perfect goals in this scenario.  Those goals are to get rid of that "apron of fat".  The thing that you have to be okay with in this scenario is that if in the future you decide to lose a lot of weight (50 pounds or more), you may have to have another tummy tuck to tighten up the skin.  Since you understand this and are okay with this, I say good luck and proceed.

Tummy Tuck - While Obese?

The risks are much increased, the benefits much decreased in a patient who really needs to lose 80-100 pounds. 

A compromise procedure that a surgeon might consider would be a panniculectomy, where just the overlying skin and fat is removed. This can give a dramatic improvement in the right patient, with less excessive risk than a full TT. And it would compromise the possibility of doing a full TT after weight loss. 

As far as the arms go, I don't feel that making them a little smaller and adding a scar that may make you wear long sleeve shirts for a year is a good trade off. I would wait on that until you are able to get down to a better weight for yourself. 

When you ready for an in person consultation, RealSelf has listings of surgeons in your area. You should consider cross referencing the listings from the The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (plasticsurgery dot org). A listing in the ASPS website assures you that your surgeon is not only board certified,  but also is a member in good standing of the major plastic surgery organization in the U. S.


Thank you for your question, best wishes.


Having any form of surgery when you are considerably overweight has much higher risks for complications. Your results will also be better if you lose weight first

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Too risky for tummy tuck in obesity.

Surgery is not the way to initially address your concerns. The operation has complications that are greatly increased with obesity. I would suggest you lose the weight before proceeding with elective surgery (unless it is bariatric surgery).

Brian J. Lee, MD
Fort Wayne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Lose the weight

lose the weight first.  the morbidity and yes the mortality of the operation is high if you are truly 100lbs overweight.    bariatric surgery?

Jonathan Saunders, MD
Newark Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Tummy Tuck if Obese?

Although I understand your reasoning, I think the risks of doing any type of body contouring surgery while “obese” is too significant.  Perioperative morbidity/mortality is increased for  overweight patients who undergo any type of surgery.

 I would encourage you to seek medical help, the use of personal trainers, nutritionists… and work towards a long-term stable weight that will help you  achieve and  maintain  truly " excellent health”.

Best wishes.

Want your cake and eat it too

First you need to diet and get your BMI under 30. Obesity is a disease which means you are not healthy. Take control of your life, loose the weight and then discuss cosmetic surgery.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Panniculectomy vs tummy tuck

It is not right to do a full abdominoplasty when you are obese and you should be suspicious of any doctor willing to do that.  The risk vs benefit ratio is all wrong.  One thing you might do is be seen for a panniculectomy where the roll is cut off without doing a full tummy tuck. Forget the arms til you lose weight.  All you'll get there are bad scars and still have big arms.

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.