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Overweight and Considering a Tummy Tuck

I'm 5'3 and about 235 lbs. I'm looking to get rid of my hanging mid-section. I'm wondering if a tummy tuck would take care of the situation or would I have to have the lipo as well.

Doctor Answers 19

Not at this point

One misconception with abdominoplasty (tummy tuck surgery) and liposuction is that they will help you lose weight and obtain a flatter stomach. This is absolutely not true and in fact, the best candidates for these procedures are those who are within 10-15% of their IDEAL body weight. Given that you are 5'3" and 235 lbs means you are not there at this point. Like many patients, you probably carry a lot of tissue intra - abdominally, and the only way to reduce this is with weight loss. This will benefit you for many reasons - less anesthetic complications, lower risk of wound healing problems, and a much, much better result. Following the general theme of Dr Yuan's advice, really try to get yourself in optimal condition for surgery.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

When you do surgery is more important than what you do

The fact that you are 5'3" and 235 lbs. suggest that perhaps you are not in the optimal condition for surgery. That can be determined by your specific surgeon. In general, you want to be in as good a physical condition as possible. That means good diet habits, regular appropriate exercise or activity level, minimal vice habits like drinking and cigarettes, and good general health. Weight is not an absolute determinant of the appropriateness of surgery for you. If you should lose weight but can't or haven't, then that is a different situation than if you have lost weight and have stabilized or if you have lost weight and gained it back or have recently gained excess weight.
First, try to get in the best possible shape and state of health, what I call the healthy, stable lifestyle, then have a surgeon take a look at what anatomy you have and what realistic goals you desire. The specific surgical treatment will be determined by those factors. This can be any combination of liposuction and skin excision with a variety of abdominoplasty techniques. Good luck.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) removes fat as well as skin.

Your abdominal contour will be enormously improved with a tummy tuck although you need to understand that there will be a lengthy scar as a consequence.  Liposuction of the anterior abdomen probably will not need to be done and indeed should not be done concurrent with the tummy tuck.  It could damage the skin and cause some skin loss.  If it needs suctioning, this should be done sometime later after healing is complete.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Panniculectomy would help you.

You have two separate problems. You have hanging skin in your stomach, and you are overweight.

A panniculectomy is a kind of tummy tuck which is safer because there is no lifting up of flaps. The hanging skin is simply removed. Of course, you will still be overweight afterwards.

I don't think liposuction has an important role for you.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

The timing of the procedure will determine your results

I agree with the other surgeons that you are not an ideal candidate for a tummy tuck at this point. For me, I think that it would give you a minimal improvement, and certainly less of a result compared to if you lost weight first and then had the procedure. In that situation, the risks, in particular of wound healing complications, would be less.

I think that while you could certainly find a surgeon who would perform the procedure for you, you need to carefully consider what your goals are and if the procedure can get you to those goals safely.

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

No, you are not a good Tummy Tuck candidate

You should strongly consider either gastric bypass or a gastric restricting device to lose a large amount of weight before considering a Tummy Tuck. You are definitely NOT a candidate for liposuction alone.

Of course, if you can lose a significant amount of weight, at least 75 lbs, through dieting and exercising, that would be best. After that weight is gone, you can re-explore your options of a Tummy Tuck and liposuction.

David E. Berman, MD
Sterling Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Tummy Tuck Without Liposuction

Judging from your photos, a tummy tuck alone may be enough to achieve the body contour you want. However, liposuction is frequently performed in conjunction with a tummy tuck as it can safely remove any "hard to reach" unwanted fat deposits, giving you a nicer body contour. 

My only concern is that your weight is a little high, increasing the risks associated with surgery. There is a statistically significant association between increased BMI, an increased number of complications and poorer surgery outcomes. It is safer for you and your surgical outcome would be more satisfying if you could reach a stable BMI of about 25. 

Tummy tuck not a great solution for morbid obesity

The real concern here is your health. This is not a cosmetic issue. If the hanging skin is a problem with infections and skin breakdown than a panniculectomy which is not a cosmetic operation is an option. However, you should be worried about your cardiac health, risk of diabetes, osteoarthritis, etc. A panniculectomy may reduce your weight by 10-15 pounds at most and this will do little to improve your situation.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Tummy Tuck for Overweight Patients

Although you are overweight, you do have lax skin on your abdomen that can be removed with a tummy tuck.

A tummy tuck will address the issue of the excess skin and the skin fold (and associated skin problems such as sweating, recurrent infections, foul odour).

However you need to understand that if you loose weight in the future, you will once again need a tummy tuck.  For that reason many plastic surgeon tend to turn away patients like yourself and recommend weight loss first.

In our clinic we take the time to explain to our patients the limitations of the surgery, make sure that patients have realistic expectations, and understand that because of their size they have an increased risk of complications such as infection, fluid collection, and delayed healing.

Should you decide to proceed with a tummy tuck, you must understand that it will not make you look thinner, it will not flatten your tummy (or perhaps just a little bit), but it will take away the excess hanging skin.

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 273 reviews

Not ideal to get a tummy tuck when you are overweight

Ususally someone at your weight someone doesn't have a abdominoplasty or tummy tuck. You may want to consider panniculectomy--getting rid of the hanging tissue in the mid section. This is only if the mid section is large and causing problems due to irritation of skin, sweat accumulation or skin breakdown underneath the area. This would improve the quality of life, but not the overall look. 

At this weight, I would recommend to loose about 50-60 pounds before doing the abdominoplasty otherwise the results would only be marginal. And because of the weight you are at a high risk for post operative complications. 

Usha Rajagopal, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

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.