I am 22 years old and after losing a significant amount of weight I developed many stretch marks on my stomach and very loose skin. Even though I haven't had children and don't plan to until I'm in my mid thirties, would a doctor still be willing to perform a Tummy tuck on me considering I would be 23 when I would like it done?
Too Young for Tummy Tuck?
Doctor Answers (10)
You will probably need a repeat tummy tuck after you have chidren.
I think it is perfectly OK for someone in your situation to have a tummy tuck. You will look and feel better, and enjoy your young body more. It is a kind of reward for losing all that weight.
The down side is that pregnancies will probably undo the result, and you may need another abdominoplasty when you are done having kids.
Surgery less chronological age dependent
Cosmetic surgery is dependent on emotional age insofar as maturity and ability to grasp the pros and cons of surgery and the ability to handle complication and it is anatomy dependent. If you have loose skin that is not going to retract or tighten by itself, thenyou may be a candidate if you are mature enough to understand the ramifications of the surgery.
Young for a standard tummy tuck: alternatives.
There are alternatives that may be good for you.
You are correct that you are probably too young for standard tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). Your first choice may be a non-surgical approach. Exercise can improve the tone of the muscles of the abdominal wall, but probably not the skin tone. If there is generalized fat excess, weight reduction can improve this (and improve results of tummy tuck, if you have one later). Laser or light based skin tightening treatments may help.
After in-person consultation with your plastic surgeon, you might choose a modification of the standard tummy tuck; tighten and remove only excess skin, or liposuction and limited skin removal. You'll know more after your consult, but there are alternatives.
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Yes, you could be a candidate
Sagging skin on the abdomen can come from a significant amount of weight loss or from multiple pregnancies. Patients who have had either situation can be candidates for an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). Find a good plastic surgeon in Hackensack or Newark and have a consultation. If you are in good medical health, have excess skin and fat that can be excised, and understand the risks and benefits of the procedure, then you should be a good candidate. It is true that some of your stretch marks will likely remain, but your abdomen will be a lot tighter. Good luck.
A tummy tuck isn't necessarily an age dependent procedure. It sounds like you had "baby fat" that you've since lost. Congratulations. A tummy tuck may be very appropriate. However, depending on how much skin that can be removed all of the stretch marks may not be able to be remove. I think though that it would be an improvement.
What you're describing indicates that you are educatd about the issues here. Optimally, a tummy tuck is done after you are done having children so as to not stretch out the result. I have personally performed the procedure on a couple of early 20 year-olds who had massive weight loss and were far from having children and felt their quality of life would be much better by not waiting. As long as you fully undrstand the potential consequences of this reverse order, it is fine to proceed.
The question is if your belly is affecting your qaulity of life now
Most of us would agree that in an ideal world, you would have your tummy tuck after you're done having kids. However, with the growing number of patients like yourself who have experienced massive weight loss, the question we need to ask is if the excess hanging skin and fat is affecting your quality of life in a significantly negative way. For most folks, the answer to this is "yes". We then need to weigh this against the downsides of having the tummy tuck before your pregnancies, the biggest downside being that you will likely need it redone after you're done with childbearing.
My guess is that you would be a good candidate for a tummy tuck and that it could dramatically improve your quality of life. As long as you understand the risks of the procedure in general as well as those specific to a young woman who may become pregnant in the future, I think you're in good shape.
Tummy tuck after massive weight loss in a young patient
Our teaching as plastic surgeons is not to perform a tummy tuck on women who are contemplating becoming pregnant again. The reason presumably is that a pregnancy will negate the results of an abdominoplasty, and it might have to be done again.
Yet most of us have had patients who have had successful pregnancies after abdominoplasty when they had unexpected pregnancies. In fact I am not aware of any studies indicating the contrary. Women with tight fascias have children and women with loose fascias have children without incident all the time.
So the question is do you want to look the way you are for the next 15 years of your life? In the massive weight loss patient, this will be an obvious quality of life issue. If the possible need to redo the surgery is less concerning than the benefit you would achieve looking good for the next 15 years of your life, that is a very important factor.
My colleague below has given a nice summary of some of the main risks and benefits of surgery.
We must all be doctors, not just robots, and every case is individual.
I think you might be a fine candidate for an abdominoplasty.
Tummy Tuck before pregnancy
Provided you are healthy, the issues to be weighed are the immediate benefits to you of achieving the body contour you want through surgery, your thoughts on the probable timing of your first pregnancy, and the likelihood that after your family is complete you will need to have your tummy tuck touched up.
If you think it is going to be many years before you pursue a family, you would really like to have the improvement in your contour now, and be able to enjoy it between now and your first pregnancy, and are not deterred by the possibility of needing touch up surgery after you complete your family, I think you would have a high likelihood of being very satisfied with your experience and outcome.
If, on the other hand, you either think you will be pregnant within the next few years, or would be upset to have to undergo the procedure again after babies, or if the improvement is just not that important to you (not enough to undergo surgery), I would say you would probably be better off waiting until you have completed your family.
Of course, only you can answer these questions... Think about what you want for yourself now, over the next few years, and in the long term. Visit with a reputable and Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. You'll know what is right for you.
Timing of a Tummy Tuck
It's likely that you can find a physician who would be willing to perform an abdominoplasty on you, however you should be fully informed on the risks you may potentially incur. As a young, presumably healthy woman, you would probably be an excellent surgical candidate and recover quickly. You still run the risk of the anesthesia, bleeding, infection, injury to blood vessels, nerves, scars, delayed wound healing, unsatisfactory appearance, need for further surgery, as well as the expense and recovery time.
Fast forward to your thirties, when you are in the midst of family planning. You should know that a woman can take a pregnancy to full term, after having a tummy tuck. I have had two patients who had "surprise" pregnancies after abdominoplasties and had healthy babies, however their aesthetic results were lost, as the stretch marks returned along with the abdominal wall muscle laxity. So please consider carefully and weigh the risk, benefit ratio. It's tempting, however there are some downsides of proceeding now. Good luck.