What does your BMI need to be at before tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 24

What does your BMI need to be at before tummy tuck?

What does your BMI need to be prior to a tummy tuck? That is a very good question. Generally, the rule is a BMI of 30. However, everyone is different and everyone carries their weight differently. You will have to undergo a personal examination by a board certified plastic surgeon to have your question answered definitively.

If a patient has excess loose skin to the point of having an apron of skin hanging down (called a panniculus), a simple excision of this panniculus could be done with a BMI of 40 or less. The patient would then have to lose weight down to a BMI of 30 to have their full tummy tuck, with muscle plication, etc.. A panniculectomy, in my experience, in this situation has given patients an incentive to lose more weight, and this plan has been successful in my practice.

I greatly prefer, however, for a patient to have a BMI of 30 or less because the entire tummy tuck procedure, with liposuction and muscle repair can be performed, and their recovery is easier and complication rate is lower.

I hope this has helped you with your question. Best of luck to you, and stick to lean meat and healthy vegetables, and you should have no problems losing weight. Stay away from simple carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, and certainly desserts.

Savannah Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Best BMI before an Abdominoplasty

Hi Kay, You ask a great question. Generally, I recommend a BMI of 30 or less, but there are exceptions. Abdominoplasties are individualised to the patient's anatomy and desires. If the problem is excess skin alone, then removal of the skin may be best for you. In that case, BMI not so important. If it's excess skin and excess fat over your body wall, then liposuction (I prefer Vaser) with skin removal may work well. If the problem includes body wall looseness, then plication is warranted. When BMI rises toward 35, the risks of surgery might might be too high for any major surgical procedure. So the answer to your question is a bit more complicated than a simple number alone. Take the time to get a consultation from a board certified plastic surgeon. They will help clarify what can be done and what should be done.

Peter D. Geldner, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Tummy tuck and BMI

A good candidate for tummy tuck is someone who has 1) excess abdominal skin/fat without excessive amount of intra-abdominal fat, 2) reached his/her stable, goal weight, and 3) is medically and physically optimized.

My goals for my patients are 1) giving them a good cosmetic result and 2) keeping them healthy and safe. 

With a high BMI, surgical and post-surgical complication can be increased; cosmetic result may not be as desired.  Usually, I would like my patients to have BMI less than 30.  However, each patient's body can be different; where each carries weight can be different.

Please consult a board-certified plastic surgeon to be evaluated in-person and to learn about the procedure and recovery process.

Best regards.

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

BMI & Surgery

I like my patients have a BMI of 30 or less in order to ensure the safest possible surgery. Hope this helps.


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Tummy Tuck - Weight Loss First

Thank you for your question and photos.  I believe it is best to be within 10 - 15 pounds of your ideal body weight prior to surgery for optimal results. Please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in body contouring for an in-person examination. Ask to see a lot of before and after pictures of their work to understand what can be achieved. Hope this helps and good luck.

Steven J. Rottman, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews


Thank you for your question and photographs.

Every doctor will have a slightly different protocol based on their beliefs and experiences. I recommend that my patients have a BMI of 30 or less to have the best and safest results. If your BMI is higher than that I would recommend getting it down to at least 30 because anything above 30 is considered in the obese range which isn’t optimal for undergoing elective cosmetic surgery and it puts you at a higher risk of delayed healing. I also recommend that my patients remain at their goal weight for at least 6 months before having surgery done for optimal results because weight fluctuation can cause a change in your results.  It is important to remember to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle through diet and exercise, even after surgery for best results and to reduce your chance of health related issues. Best of luck in your endeavors!
James Fernau, MD, FACS
Board Certified ENT
Board Certified Plastic Surgery
Member of ASPS, ASAPS, ISAPS, The Rhinoplasty Society, AAFPRS, OTO/HNS, ASLMS, International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics & Science

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Find the right surgeon and have a consultation to help decide

Far more important than deciding if TT is for you is the skill and experience of your plastic surgeon. Choose your surgeon rather than the technique and let him explain why one technique may be better than another and if you need a tummy tuck. Many board certified plastic surgeons provide a free first time consult and you should take advantage of that! See the below link on some suggestions on finding the most qualified Plastic Surgeon for you!

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty/Liposuction/Vaser High Definition Procedures/Tummy Tuck Revision

I appreciate your question.

For health and safety reasons, best to be at a BMI less than 30 or within 10 pounds of your goal weight and stable at that weight for 6 months prior to surgery for optimal results.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.

Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon



Jaime S. Schwartz, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

BMI and surgery

Thank you very much for this interesting and important question.

Trying to lose weight before a surgical procedure its a very delicate matter, since in many cases a restrictive diet can cause problems, such as anemia, electrolyte disturbances, decreased protein, etc ... retarding the healing process and damaging the surgery.
For these reasons, if your purpose is to lose weight, i recommend you have a BMI less or equal to 30.
In this regard, you must to have a support with a nutritionist, so you can achieve the desired goal, in the most healthy way, without incressing complications risks in the plastic surgery to perform.

Kind regards 

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 271 reviews

BMI before tummy tuck

Confirm with you board certified plastic surgeon since everyone has slightly different pre operative instructions.  I like to recommend my patients be under 30 before surgery. 

N. Bill Aydin, MD
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 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.