Advice for Overweight Female Considering Tummy Tuck?

Am I a good candidate at my given size? I am 5'4", 220 lbs, and 20 years old, planning to have tummy tuck in about 5 years after my second child. However, I am very well proportioned and have a good deal of muscle mass vs fat mass. I know my BMI is probably around 38 or 39. I know I have enough time to lose more weight, but worst case scenario after my second child, say I still weigh the same. Is this a good idea? I am in very good health by the way.

Doctor Answers 12

You have plenty of time to loose weight

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Dont worry now -- have your child and work on wieght loss. You will look the best at your lowest weight. Dont spend a lot of time an energy as you are thinking of doing this in 5 - 6 years. Get your weight under control.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Advice for Overweight Female Considering Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question. Generally speaking, it is always best to achieve long-term stable weight prior to proceeding with  body contouring surgery. Doing so, will increase the safety of the operation, will likely improve the outcome of the operation, and will decrease chances that additional surgery will become necessary subsequently. 

In my practice, I do not ask specific patients to achieve a specific weight prior to proceeding with tummy tuck surgery. I simply ask patients to achieve a long-term stable weight where he/she feels comfortable and does not expect significant fluctuation postoperatively.  As you know, recruiting other professionals such as personal trainers, nutritionists, physicians who specialize in weight loss concerns etc. may be helpful to you. 

 Having said the above,  occasional patients do benefit from panniculectomy surgery as a “jumpstart” to achieving their final goals. You may find the attached link, dedicated to patients who have experienced significant weight loss, helpful to you as you consider your options. Best wishes.

Advice for overweight female considering tummy tuck

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It would be best for you to be within 10 pounds of your ideal or realistic body weight before you undergo an abdominoplasty. More weight you lose better contouring he will have.In the performance of a full abdominoplasty, an incision is made from one hip to the other. The incision is carried through the skin and fat layer and stops at the muscle layer. At this level the skin and fat layer is elevated off of the underlying muscle layer. This elevation is continued up to the belly button. An incision is then made around the belly button to keep it in it's normal location allowing the skin and fat layer to continue to be elevated up to the rib margin. Very often tightening of the muscle layer is then accomplished before removing the excess skin. The loose skin and fat layer is then pulled down snugly and the excess skin and fat is then removed. The belly button has not been moved or removed. It is still in it's normal location underneath the skin and fat layer. An incision is made over the belly button and it is pulled up to the surface and re-stitched in it's original location.

My simple and illustrated video may help you--learn more about tummy tucks and other body contouring procedures.

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 128 reviews

Tummy tuck in patients above their ideal body weight

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You're not a great candidate for a tummy tuck at your current height and weight. That being said, many patients are not able to reach their ideal body weight prior to surgery. They still get improvement from surgery, but the results are not as good as they would be if they lost weight prior to surgery. There are some examples in the photo gallery on my Web site.

My best advice is to finish having children and then try to lose as much weight as you can. Although it won't be easy, the results of surgery will be tremendously enhanced.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

Tummy Tuck being overweight

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Your IBW is closer to 125lbs as you obviously are aware. At this point your weight is not a cosmetic issue but a medical one that has serious consequences for you and your new family. Your weight puts you at a particularly high risk of cardiovascular diseaase including heart attack as well as diabetes. Your BMI indicates that you are a higher operative risk for all surgery including the potential for fatal pulmonary embolism. Remember that in the average tummy tuck, we typically remove about 1-4 pounds of tissue. 10-20 pounds is not common. Therefore, will you be happy if you have a tummy tuck and turn out with less loose skin but still weigh 215 lbs. Only you know the answer to that question. IF you are realistic and you desire the procedure and are willing to accept the higher risk, then it may be an option for you.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Tummy tuck will not be as good if you are over weight.

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Your present height and weight are not in your favor. If you have a tummy tuck at this BMI, you are at higher risk for infection, wound separation, blood clots, etc. Your result is also not likely to make much of a difference to your shape. So you are better off losing at least 50-75 pounds and then re-evaluating. Don't do it at this weight.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Weight is a relative indicator

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The most important thing is to be as fit as possible. This requires you to look at your diet, exercise routine, activity level, and overall habits. Once you are fit and can maintain a healthy, stable lifestyle, then look at your appearance and tailor your treatment to fit your anatomy and desires, keeping in mind that not all patients are good surgical candidates and not all aesthetic problems have good surgical solution. Different people will have different physiques with the identical lifestyle. Take the next five years or so to do the things to get into as healthy a lifestyle as possble. There are no shortcuts and your entire body and physiology will be better for it. It is hard to predict what should be done in the future.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Tummy options in high BMI

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When it comes to evaluation of a high BMI patient we go through the options and try to come upon something that will be realistic for that patient. Ultimately we want a patient who is happy with their result and has achieved an appropriate procedure.

So what are the options?

1. Diet and exercise-the absolute best option because it means that you are actively trying to improve yourself, and that you will probably continue to improve even after a surgeical procedure. You could also get to the result you want with diet and exercise.

2. Liposuctioning-will help get rid of fat but does nothing for the muscle layer and probably nothing for the skin. In the high BMI patient at best it may be the kick off to get the patient going in diet and exercise.

3. Tummy tuck-probably best if there is alot of excess skin. If there is no skin drooping you will probably not see much improvement with a tummy tuck. You would need to get the fat out first.

Ultimately you should make a 3 month plan to loose weight. If successful even partially you will be more appropriate for a tummy tuck.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Over weight female tummy tuck

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Your situation is very common with the population that I see regularly. I have a complete discussion with patients like your self regarding results and complications. Most of the decision will depend on how realistic is it that you will lose weight. If you have not tried very hard and think you can be successful then it is best to put it off until you have tried more. If you have worked and worked and now find your self at a dead end then you may choose to take the risk. After a thorough discussion, some patients decide that they are a good as it will get and want to proceed and some say they will try some more. I do not have a BMI cut off for those who I will do surgery and those I will not.

Higher BMI's do have a higher chance of wound healing problems as well as life threatening complications. Do all you can to get to a reasonable and healing living weight and then you will have the best long term out come and cosmetic results.

Best Wishes

Dr. Peterson

Marcus L. Peterson, MD
Saint George Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck with High BMI

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Although it is possible to undergo a TT at your present BMI, you will be far happier if you first lose a siginificant amount of weight. You will get a much better result if you are at or near your ideal body weight. The complication rate is also much higher with your present BMI. Neither TT nor lipo are procedures designed for weight loss.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

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.