How much weight do I need to lose and where do I start to find out if I need more help for my abdominal muscles? (Photos)

I'm 5' 3" and I weigh 251 and I just had my 3rd Csection. I know that I'm extremely overweight and I know i need to lose some weight but I think my ab muscles are stretched out or something. I really want to get a tummy tuck and some liposuction done along with my breast enhancement. How do I go about knowing how much weight I need to lose and do I need extra help for my abs. I should also include that my kids were big babies, 8 lb 5 oz, 9 lbs and 9 lbs and 6oz.

Doctor Answers 7

What Weight Should You Be for a Tummy Tuck?

This is a good question because a lot of woman want to know the answer but are afraid to ask.  While many will talk about BMI and weight, th problem is that it does not take into account differences in body frame.  In additiom, following your weight can be discouraging.  For instance, let's say you work out really hard over the next two weeks and put on 2 pounds of muscle but you diet during the say time and lose 2 pounds of fat.  That is a 4 pound positive body change but it is a big zero on the scale.  

A better measurement of progress is measuring your girth.  This is your abdominal circumference measured right at your umbilicus ir belly button.  A girth of 38 inches would be a great initial goal for someone like you.

i hope that helps.

Best regards.

Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

How much weight do I need to lose and where do I start to find out if I need more help for my abdominal muscles?

Thank you for the question and pictures.  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.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Ideal Weight for Surgery


Although it was arbitrarily chosen, people with a BMI of 30 or less were found to have much fewer complications than those above that number. Your current BMI is 44.5. You would need to weigh 170 to have a BMI of 30. Even with safety issues aside, your aesthetic outcome of a tummy tuck would not be ideal if you didn't at least get down to or below 200 pounds. As for you muscles, having three children ensures you'll need muscle repair. Best of luck!

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

How much weight do I need to lose

The function of muscles relies on their ability to stretch and contract so even though you may have a muscle diastasis (midline separation) from pregnancy, your muscle function will remain normal. Liposuction works at its best for patients at their ideal weight. Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) is not worthwhile for patients with a high BMI. At your height you need to loose close to 100# (get below 160) before you would be considered a safe candidate for these procedures and before you could get a surgical result you and your surgeon would be happy with. 

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

How much weight do I need to lose and where do I start to find out if I need more help for my abdominal muscles?

The best long term cosmetic results with the least likelihood of potential complications are achieved in patients who weigh within 10 pounds of their ideal weight and have a BMI less than 30.

If a member of my family underwent these procedures, they would be performed by an experienced plastic surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. If you are serious about undergoing these procedures, you should have a thorough consultation with a plastic surgeon having those credentials, who will fully explain what is entailed in the procedures, including both the positives and potential problems. You should be complimented on the fact that you are seeking valid information before jumping into any procedure.

Robert Singer, MD FACS

La Jolla, California

Robert Singer, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

The correct weight.

Thanks for your questions, your photos and  your candor. At  5'3" 251 pounds your BMI is very high. This puts you at a high surgical risk which is the last thing you want to be. You will need to get to a healthier weight through diet, exercise and a change in lifestyle.  I am a big fan of programs that offer a sensible diet, but also a support system such as weight watchers, jenny craig, There is no easy route. calories in must be less than calories burned.

Muscle tightening will only hold up if the intra abdominal contents are smaller. Check in with a PS now to help make a forward thinking, safe and gratifying plan for your future.

Best wishes.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

How much weight do I need to lose and where do I start to find out if I need more help for my abdominal muscles? (Photos)

   The recommended BMI is less than 30. This is the recommendation of the American society of plastic surgery. The reason simply, is increased chance of complications. These include but limited to, pulmonary embolus, deep venous thrombosis, delayed wound healing and increase infection rate.

  there are different types of tummy tucks which one is right for me and how are they different from the other? There is a mini tummy tuck, tummy tuck and a vertical abdominoplasty. The appropriate procedure depends the amount and location of the excess skin. That's what your plastic surgeon will have to determine after the actual physical exam.

Choose a board certified plastic surgeon who has done a ton of Tummy Tuck and has privileges to do this surgery at a local university hospital. This says his credentials have been checked out by fellow Drs. All surgeries carry risk, talk to your plastic surgeon and choose one wisely.

Many surgeons, including myself, offer online virtual consultations where you send us your photos and we can estimate the cost. I, like many surgeons, also offer free consultations so that you can be examined and given the most accurate quote possible. Please be mindful that the in person physical exam is the most important and could potentially alter your treatment plan.


Mel T. Ortega, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 902 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.