Is BMI a Factor for Full-tummy Tucks, Like It is for Mini-tummy Tucks?

Is a mini-tummy tuck procedure only advised for patients with low BMIs? How about full- tummy tucks? Does a full-tummy tuck give options to more people? Is the weight and BMI criteria more flexible?

Doctor Answers 14

High BMI increases risks of complications with tummy tuck

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Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a body contouring procedure that does the things that you can't do with diet and exercise: tighten loose skin, repair muscle separation (rectus diastasis) and remove localized fat that is out of proportion. Overweight patients have a higher risk of both major and minor complications so electing to do a tummy tuck in that situation changes the risk/benefit ratio.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

BMI is a factor for all surgeries

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BMI is a factor for any type of surgery you have, therefore it is still considered when for full tummy tucks. It's best to be within the normal range or a little above, but being in the obese range would make the surgery riskier and your results may not be as satisfying.

BMI and Tummy Tuck

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For any body contouring procedure, patients closer to their target weight will reduce their potential for complications and increase the likelihood of a successful result. The actual BMI is used more or less by surgeons depending on the individual preferences of the surgeon.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

BMI and abdominoplasty

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Overweight and obese patients have a higher complication rate than patients who are HWP.  Also, high BMI patients do not get nearly as nice of results as those who are HWP.  If an overweight or obese patients has a lot of intraabdominal fat, body contouring will not be very helpful and is not likely worth the risk for the small benefit gained.

As for mini tummy tucks, it is a rare patient who is a good candidate.  The problem needs to be limited to below the umbilicus and I have had to convert a few minis to full tummy tucks as patients have aged. 

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

BMI and Full vs Mini Tummy Tuck?

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Whether you are advised to have a full vs mini tummy has to do with many factors other than your BMI. If you have significant skin laxity both in your upper and lower abdomen, and/or separation of your rectus muscles (muscle wall bulge), then you will more likely need a full tummy tuck rather than a mini tummy tuck. The mini tuck is usually only applicable to the person with only a modest amount of laxity in their lower abdomen and miminal muscle wall bulge.

If you have a significantly elevated BMI, then you really aren't a good candidate for any type of tummy tuck because the complication rate increases rapidly with elevated BMI. In addition, the quality of the result is compromised for those with elevated BMI.

BMI and tummy tuck

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Certainly it is better for a patient to be at their goal weight before undergoing a tummy tuck, but if you are close it is probably ok.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

BMI a factor for surgery tummy tuck and others

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Increasing BMI is a risk factor for full tummy tuck, mini tummy tuck and many other surgeries. It is not only a risk factor for complications, but having a high BMI is also a set up for either a bad outcome for a poor cosmetic result.  For optimal cosmetic results, weight loss is recommended to achieve better aesthetic outcomes.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

BMI an important factor to consider with major surgery

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A person's BMI should be a consideration when "significant" surgery is being contemplated (such as your example of a full tummy tuck versus a mini tummy tuck). It reflects directly on a person's anesthetic risk as well as on those associated with surgery. A high BMI translates into a higher rate of complications than someone at a significantly lower BMI. The aesthetic outcome is also affected by this as well.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

BMI & Tummy Tucks

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Actually the BMI is more important, in my opinion, for a full tummy tuck than it is with a mini-tummy tuck.  In fact, I sometimes suggest a mini-tummy tuck for patients with a BMI >30.  A full tummy tuck is a procedure which is most beneficial to women who have normal BMIs, but have excess skin.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Body Mass Index and Tummy Tucks

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In general mini tummy tucks are for people who have only a little excess skin and minimal fat that needs to be removed for improvement in their abdominal contour.  Most patients that I see in my Austin, Texas plastic surgery practice fall into the full tummy tuck box.  A full tummy tuck usually tightens abdominal muscles and repositions the belly button as well as removing extra skin and fat.  This is typically more appropriate for heavier patients.  BMI is an important thing to consider.  The greater the BMI or weight the greater the risk of complications like wound healing issues and medical problems.  Some patients need to lose weight before a tummy tuck in order to have a safe operation and limit the risk of post-operative problems.  I'd recommend seeing a board certified plastic surgeon and see what they recommend.  Best of Luck, Dr. Kerr

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.