I want a Tummy Tuck & my BMI is over 40. Should I have reservations that one doctor will do the surgery and another will not?

I lost 100 lbs from gastric bypass in 2012. I had a consultation with a plastic surgeron and he is going to do my pannalectamy and abdominalplasty. My bmi is 43.3 and another surgeron said she wouldn't touch me unless I was under 175 lbs. I have bad rashes and the extra skin is killing my back. 

Doctor Answers 7

BMI 43.3

Congratulations on the weight loss.
A BMI greater than 30 does increase your chances of postoperative complications, I would suggest against those surgical procedures at your current weight.
All the best!
Dr. Tony Perkins.
Plastic Surgery of Short Hills

Short Hills Physician
4.9 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

BMI for tummy tuck

Hi there, 

Firstly well done on the weight loss!!!!! Bariatric surgery can be a hard road and takes lots of commitment. It is in no way an easy solution for weight loss.

Now to your question, whilst BMI is not a hard and fast indicator for surgery, at a BMI of 43 you would be at significant risk for complications both surgical and anaesthetic. Also, and just as important, you are not going to get a great aesthetic result at your current weight.

I know at times the weight loss can seem like an insurmountable hurdle, but if you can get your weight down further you are going to do much better from your operation. 

So don't give up, keep at it, you are on the right track. When you reach your target weight  go back to the surgeon who said he wouldn't touch you until you were under 175 lbs!!!!!

Best of luck


Richard Bloom, MBBS (Hons), FRACS
Melbourne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Tummy tuck surgery with BMI over 30

I believe you know the answer to your question.  It sounds as though one surgeon gave you honest advice and is looking out for your health.  Doing abdominoplasty or panniculectomy with a BMI over 30 is known to produce complications.  Trust your instincts and go with the surgeon who seems to have more knowledge and is concerned about your health.

Bmi 43

Any elective surgery with a Bmi over 35 puts you at increased risk for serious complications such as infection, blood clots, and even death. You should get your Bmi down to a safe level before having elective cosmetic surgery.

Laura A. Sudarsky, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews


You have to know that just being a BMI 43 patient the risk of very serious complications is a reality. 
I totally understand about the urgent for you to finally get rid of the saggy skin on your abdomen but you have to acknowledge that YOU want a successful surgery, no local or systemic complications that may put your life at jeopardy, WE as care providers want exactly the same for you. 
You should be at least on a BMI no higher that 30-33
be encouraged. Yes you can!!!!
send you a hug of encouragement. 
Dr. Cardenas

Laura Carmina Cardenas, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 210 reviews

2 doctors three opinions

We take many things into account when dealing with massive weight loss patients. For me, I will do a pannulectomy but a real TT is usually reserved for patients with BMIs closer to 30. With a BMI of 43 you are at much greater risk of post op issues.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

BMI and tummy tuck

BMI is one part of the equation.  Many patients who have undergone bariatric procedures will also have anomalies in their bloods, including significant anemia from malabsorption.  Therefore, my first issue would be your bloods and whether you could pass a medical clearance without addressing iron deficiencies, etc.  I would much rather know this up front than to be cancelling a major operation a few days in advance, after everything has been arranged.  Extra skin will not "kill your back".  I know that it is uncomfortable and that the overhanging panniculus will produce rashes.  An BMI of 40 puts you at much higher risk of surgical and anesthesia complications which would have to be taken into account by the surgeon in making the decision of whether to operate.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 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.