Am I good candidate for liposuction to avoid getting a tummy tuck at 5 ft and 140 lbs assuming I lose 10 lbs? HELP! (Photo)

I am a mother of 3. I've always been slim until I started birth control. I am 5ft and weigh 140lbs. Looking to weigh 130 before Sx. I'm trying to avoid a TT b/c I have no stretch marks but my stomach is starting to really protrude. I eat healthy and exercise moderately. If I lose 10 more lbs would I be a better candidate to get Lipo? I really want to have an hourglass shape without getting TT. Can this be done?

Doctor Answers 11

Liposuction or a Tummy Tuck?

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Good question!  You would need to be examined in person to determine how much fat alone contributes to your problem however after three children you almost certainly have muscle relaxation and skin stretching.  Liposuction alone may thin your trunk enough that loose skin and muscle relaxation may not bother you but this isn't certain.  Discuss your choices with a Bd Certified plastic surgeon (ABPS) after you've reached your weight target so you can make the best decision.  Good luck and enjoy your results.

Jon A Perlman MD FACS
Diplomate, Am. Bd of Plastic Surgery
ABC TV Extreme Makeover Plastic Surgeon
Beverly Hills, Ca.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Tummy tuck with liposuction

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Hello dear, thanks for your post and provided information as well.

Based on your pictures I recommend to combine liposuction and tummy tuck. The combination of a liposuction with the a traditional tummy tuck has become a very common procedure. It is safe to combine the two procedures mainly to address the hip and flank areas. This is a very effective way to extenuate the contour of the waist along with the abdominoplasty. It is also important to realize that there is usually a limit on how much fat can be remove in a combined procedure.In general you may be a good tummy tuck candidate if:You are physically healthy and at a stable weight You have realistic expectations You are a non-smoker You are bothered by the appearance of your abdomen. Also The fat transfer, often called Brazilian butt lift has become extremely popular because it allows your plastic surgeon to transform your entire shape. You improve your waist, hips and of course your buttock.

Good tummy tuck candidate if:

You are physically healthy and at a stable weight

You have realistic expectations

You are a non-smoker

You are bothered by the appearance of your abdomen

Tummy tuck surgery is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.

I recommend to book a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area to discuss the best options for your goals.

Good luck :)

Tania Medina de Garcia, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 442 reviews

Body Countouring: Information

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Dear Ms. AlmonteQueen,
Thank you for your, story, question and photo.

I see some abdominal skin irregularities and I believe some stretch marks.

My responses:
1)we all have both internal fat (located n your internal organs and pushing your belly outward) and external fat (on top of your muscles).Internal fat can not be treated by either liposuction or tummy tuck...only weight loss.

2)Your result will be best when you reach your goal weight. We often calculate body mass index (BMI).
You appear to be in the safe BMI zone.

3)their are three types tummy tucks:
a) traditional (muscle repaired from breast bone to pubic bone)
b) mini (muscle repaired from umbilicus (tummy button) to pubic bone)
c) extended (like traditional tummy tuck but extends around at to hip area
all will remove excess fat and skin of the lower abdomen. The remaining skin is stretched tight resulting in smooth skin.

4)liposuction will remove only external fat but may leave your skin loose and hanging.
liposuction will not repair separated muscles.

5)both liposuction and tummy tuck are often done together, except in the upper abdomen (May reduce blood flow and cause healing/flap problems at the tummy tuck incision.

6) the types of liposuction are:
a)traditional suction asst. Liposuction (SAL)
b) ultrasonic asst. liposuction (UAL)
c) power asst. liposuction (PAL)
d) laser asst. liposuction (LAL)
e) water asst liposuction (WAL)
are all effective and are secondary to the experience of the Plastic Surgeon.

7)non surgical methods to help "shrink skin" after liposuction use RF:
a) Vellashape III
b) Thermi tight

1) based on limited information,not being able to evaluate you in person and to attain the "hourglass" figure I would recommend a tummy tuck with flank liposuction.
2) Please make a appt. with experienced Plastic Surgeon who is Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (denoting by membership as having met additional criteria and a focus on Cosmetic Plastic Surgery).

My best wishes,

Liposuc or tummytuck....That is the question

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This is a frequently asked question and I can understand why. Most women are usually concerned about the scar of a tummy tuck and would rather have a couple of small incisions for liposuction. However, in order to make a recommendation of tummy tuck vs liposuction many things must be taken into consideration.

1. Is there loose skin?- If there is loose skin, excess skin, skin that hangs over your waist, skin that hangs over your belly button etc...Liposuction alone will get rid of the fullness/fat but the loose hanging skin will worsen. Also, stretch marks to the abdomen are a sign that the skin has lost its elasticity and suggests that after liposuction alone, the skin may not retract, therefore leaving you with extra, loose skin. In these cases, at least a mini tummy tuck, and usually a full tummy tuck will be needed

2. Are the abdominal muscles spread apart?- This can be determined by performing a physical exam. This is typically seen in women who have been pregnant and is more common in women who have had multiple pregnancies. The only way to take care of this is through a full tummy tuck so that the muscles can be sewn back together making your abdominal wall tight so it doesn't have that "pooch" anymore.

3. Is there only fat?- if none of the above seems to be an issue and there is just excess fat, then liposuction alone can be done.

4. Should I lose weight before my surgery?- Losing weight before a fat reduction or skin tightening procedure can be a beneficial thing in my opinion. First and foremost it must be done in a healthy manner because if you are dieting in an unhealthy manner this can lead to becoming malnourished which will lead to wound healing issues. Weight loss can get rid of fat in a place that a plastic surgeon cant get to...The fat around your organs! This fat can lead to fullness of the abdomen and obviously liposuction will not address this type of fat. So, if you lose weight, you can reduce the fat around your organs therefore reducing the fullness of your abdomen which should lead to a better result!

The only way to determine the best procedure for you is to be evaluated by a board certified plastic surgeon. This way a physical exam can be performed to determine how much sub-cutaneous fat is present, if the abdominal wall is weak and how good/bad the skin quality is. Based on what you are describing as your expectations from surgery you would probably best achieve that by a full tummy tuck. In my practice I usually combine liposuction and tummy tuck in the same procedure to achieve the best results. If you want an "hourglass" figure, meaning you want good curves on the sides of your body then lipo alone may do the trick. However, if you want to have a flat stomach from the side view, then I think tummy tuck may be your best option. I hope this helps and good luck with your weight loss!

Ankur Mehta MD  

Ankur Mehta, MD
Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Liposuction or a tummy tuck

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Hello and thank you very much for your photos and questions.

Based on your pictures alone it would seem that you can avoid a tummy tuck at this time, and use liposuction to slim and sculpt your abdomen and waist.  A more healthful diet and exercise in combo with the liposuction should give you a  pleasing result.

I think a tummy tuck may too invasive at this time. 

Please see a board certified plastic surgeon when moving forward.

All the best,

Dr. Obeng
Beverly Hills, CA 

Michael K. Obeng, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon


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Thank you for your question and photos.  Please keep in mind that liposuction will only only remove fat from your body.  Depending on the elasticity of your skin and whether or not you have muscle separation, a tummy tuck might be the more ideal procedure for you.  However, this can only be determined during an in-person evaluation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

All the best,

Dr. Results
Miami, FL

Avoiding an abdominoplasty

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In order to help determine how someone can achieve a better looking abdomen a proper assessment and understanding of the various components of what determines how the abdomen looks is important. There are basically four components that need to be assessed when looking at someone's abdomen.

These are skin laxity, muscle separation from previous pregnancies, intra-abdominal or gut fat and subcutaneous fat.

An abdominoplasty basically treats skin laxity and muscle separation from pregnancies.

Subcutaneous fat is best treated with liposuction.

Intra-abdominal fat can only be lost through weight loss.

The combination of excess intra-abdominal fat and muscle separation almost universally leads to a protruding abdomen.
Based on your pictures I would say your primary diagnosis is muscle separation from your previous pregnancies.

Based on your stated wait you're also somewhat overweight with a BMI of 27.5.

A 10 pound weight loss will put you at a BMI of 25 or the high-end of normal weight. There is no way around your muscle separation from having had your children.

Keeping your weight down and strengthening abdominal muscles is by far your best bet to try to control this without surgery.

based on your pictures you do have a substantial amount of subcutaneous fat.

Liposuction could potentially give a nice improvement.

You would still most likely have some bulging of your abdomen because of the muscle separation.

Typically the waist and flanks respond best to liposuction in patients like you since these areas tend to mostly be a subcutaneous fat issue.

It's generally always best to get your ideal wait before pursuing cosmetic surgery.
While this is not something you brought up on your own you may want to consider a Brazilian butt lift.

Your body contour would be perfect for that procedure.

Forgive me if my unsolicited advice comes across as offensive.

A few thoughts on the weight loss.
While liposuction is generally not prescribed as a treatment for obesity most patients will get liposuction are somewhat overweight.
From having met thousands of people interested in liposuction I have had ample opportunity to talk to many people about their struggle with weight.
A few repeating patterns seemed to emerge.
Perhaps the most common one is people not eating frequently enough. Losing weight by not eating is a fallacy. In reality we tend to over eat when we eat after having gone hungry.
Another common misunderstanding is the relationship between weight and exercise. Most patients are not successful at losing weight by exercising without changes in diet. Weight is 90% diet. Exercise has to do with fitness.
Think of diet and exercise as two separate entities with two separate purposes.
That said I encourage everyone to exercise on a regular basis.
The majority of people get hungry from working out and tend to over eat afterwords. Sometimes feeling justified to do so after a strenuous workout.
The number of calories burned during a typical workout session is far less than people believe.
Any successful weight reduction program has to be based on permanent change. Any temporary diet plan will ultimately fail if not followed by permanent changes in behavior.
Understand the role that insulin plays in obesity and what causes insulin surges. If you read the late Dr. Atkins book you will learn that his obsession was with controlling insulin much more so than with eliminating carbohydrates.
Learn what glycemic index and glycemic load's are. Avoid eating meals that give a high glycemic load. This is somewhat similar to saying avoid eating large carbohydrate based meals though understanding what foods constitute as bad carbohydrate meals is critical. This will be learned after mastering the concepts of glycemic index and glycemic load.
Here are my rules to keep weight under control.
1. Never go hungry
2. Never eat a large meal.
3. Never, never, never eat a large meal when your hungry.
4. Avoid large carbohydrate based meals.
5. Don't expect exercise to get your weight down and don't blame the lack of exercise for not being able to maintain your weight.
6. Step on the scale every day after you get out of the shower in the morning.
7. Except weight fluctuations. None of us stay at the same weight or continue to go down in weight. Don't beat yourself up if you gained a few pounds. It's the long term, rest of your life, progress that matters.
I hope that is of some help.
Good luck,
Mats Hagstrom

Mats Hagstrom, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Lipo vs. TT

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Hi AlmonteQueen

I would say get to your target weight and be stable at that weight before judgement can be made.

From your history of pregnancies and your appearance, I do not feel you can achieve your goals at all.  Sure you can reduce your size, and maybe improve your shape.  The skin elasticity and the weakened strength of the abdominal wall will limit your results.

Stretch marks are not a reason to get or avoid tt.  To an hourglass figure, you will need to address excess fat and skin, and the strength layer must be tightened.  If you want to lower your expectations, you may be happy with what lipo alone can do.



Tuck vs Lipo

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I think your BEST surgical option is lipo (BEST overall option is to burn the fat off yourself).
With a well done lipo you will achieve the MOST overall shape change in one less risky operation with less recover and I suspect you would be "happy enough" with your skin that you would not do more surgery.
IF you are unhappy with the skin in front after a full recovery, you could then explore what option might be best to address that. My bet is you wouldn't.

Am I good candidate for liposuction

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Thank you for your question.  By your photos, you appear to be a good candidate for liposuction.  However, keep in mind that you may be left with some excess skin, especially on the abdomen, following liposuction.  Everyone has a different definition for "healthy eating".  When trying to lose weight, it doesn't so much matter what you eat....what matters is how much you eat.  Speak with a nutritionist to figure out your basal metabolic rate so you know how many calories you should eat per day to lose weight.  Consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options. Best wishes!

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.