How Much Weight Can I Lose from Tummy Tuck Surgery?

How much weight (in loose skin/tissue) will I lose from a tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 232

Smaller Waist and Flat Tummy After Tummy Tuck

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Patients  often lose many inches and go down several sizes, but typically do not lose much weight as a result of a tummy tuck. Most of my patients report a weight loss of less than five pounds, but the real difference is in their size and contour.  View dozens of before and after images  to see what kind of change can be achieved. When viewing before and after images, pay close attention to waist dimensions. Some plastic surgeons pay very close attention to making the waist smaller and tighter. Others, it seems, do not. 

Some patients lose more weight in the weeks and months after surgery as they are inspired to do more to stay fit  and healthy.  The satisfaction patients experience is not from a number on the scale, but the new ability to wear form fitting clothing, to tuck in a shirt or to wear a swimsuit with confidence.

It is quite amazing to see some before and after photographs where men and women have literally been transformed and learn that the weight loss has been fairly insignificant.

While on the topic of weight,. people who are close to their ideal weight typically receive the best results from body contouring surgery. Surgery does things that weight loss and working out cannot do, likewise, being fit and eating a healthy diet can provide health benefits that plastic surgery cannot provide.

The following are a few things that can distinguish some surgeons from others

1) Graduating from a top tier medical school at the top of their class.

2) Membership in Alpha Omega Alpha. This is the medical honors society. Alpha Omega Alpha is to medicine what Phi Beta Kappa is to undergraduate universities

3) Formal surgical training from prestigious medical universities. The minimum number of years of surgical training for plastic surgeons to be board certified is five years. Some physicians have as many as ten years of formal surgical training. There simply is no substitute for stelar academic and practical surgical training.

4) Very experienced surgeons with meticulous surgical technique and natural looking outcomes will have photgraphic evidence of their work. Patients should be able to view many photos of the surgery of interest, photgraphed from three different perspectives all with similar lighting, distance from the camera and cropping

The elite experience extends beyond the surgeon to the facility, and the surgical team. You should be able to see the surgical theater and know who else will be in the OR with you during surgery. The Joint Commission (JCAHO) is an organization that provides certification to hospital OR's. The Joint Commission and AAAASF are two of the organizations that can provide certification to surgical suites. Some plastic surgeons elect to have their surgery centers dually certified.

The anesthesia experience is critical to a safe and comfortable surgical experience. A board certified anesthesiologist can administer general or MAC anesthesia. My preference is to have a board-certified anesthesiologist at the bedside of my patients for the duration of surgery.

Plastic surgeons who cater to high profile individuals who place a high value on privacy will have a private first floor entrance and exit so patients never need to be in a public lobby or elevator for pre-operative or post operative visits.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Not a lot of weight loss from tummy tuck

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This type of surgery is performed to remove excess, loose, hanging skin/fat and to tighten stretched muscles. While patients will lose some weight (~3 - 6 lbs), they don't lose a lot. However, they do end up with a flatter abdomen, tighter abdominal muscles, and better waistline.

Edmond A. Zingaro, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

A healing wound can burn calories.

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The goal of the tummy tuck is to improve contour and remove inches. In some cases dramatic weight loss may occur following this procedure, however it really depends on the initial indications for the procedure. For example, if you had a gastric bypass procedure to lose weight then chances are  you have more skin and subcutaneous fat to be removed. That certainly differs from someone requesting a tummy tuck that has abdominal stretchmarks following childbirth.

Tummy Tucks should never be used as a method of losing weight. Weight loss may however be a secondary gain from this procedure. Not only from the removal of unwanted skin and fat, but also because of the demands placed on the body following this type of procedure. The increased metabolic activity related to wound healing as well as the decrease in appetite related to the anesthetic and narcotics given postop, all contribute to this weight loss to some extent. Psychologically, the surgery may increase ones desire to excercise and eat right maximizing ones results.

Nick Masri, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Not that much weight loss after a tummy tuck.

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The tummy tuck operation addresses loose (droopy) skin, extra fat, and rectus muscles that have been pulled apart, (usually with pregnancy). We take off a substanital amount of tissue, but it does not weigh that much when placed on the scale. Remember bone and muscle weigh more than fat and skin. It will look like more "weight" was dropped by the patient as they will get into their clothes better and have a trimmer shape.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Abdominoplasty for contouring, not weight loss

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Abdominoplasty procedures are commonly referred to as 'tummy tucks.' In these procedures, excessive skin and fat are removed in the area between the pubis and the umbilicus. Additionally, the abdominal muscles are tightened in order to reduce the protrusion of the abdomen.

The amount of fat removed is dependent on the amount of skin laxity in the area. This often depends on the degree of stretch marks present along the abdomen.

An abdominoplasty is thus a recontouring procedure of the anterior abdominal wall rather than a weight loss surgery.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

This question reflects a common misconception about...

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This question reflects a common misconception about 'tummy tuck' abdominoplasty surgery.

An abdominoplasty is not a means for weight loss. It IS a way to recontour your abdominal wall and flanks AFTER losing a significant amount of weight. Surgical results with abdominoplasty are optimized in patients that have made an effort to lose as much weight to approximate their ideal body weights.

So the real question should be: how much weight should I lose BEFORE I have an abdominoplasty?

In reality, you really don't lose a lot of weight from an abdominoplasty, no matter how much fat and soft tissue is removed during the procedure.

Most Kindly,

Dr. Sattler

Measure your satisfaction on your pant size not the scale

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The amount of weight lost with a tummy tuck varies depending on how much weight you are carrying in the tissue that is to be removed (specifically the tissue between the pubic area and belly button). Generally this is 1-3 lbs although I have removed an excess of 10 lbs in a few patients. If your goal is weight loss, you can loose three pounds easily in a week with diet and exercise, but you won't lose THAT three pounds!

York Jay Yates, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 189 reviews

Weight loss after tummy tuck varies

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How much weight is lost after a tummy tuck depends on the size of the "pannus", or the extra skin and fat that is removed.  This can be ten pounds or more for a massive weight loss patient, but for an average patient who is having a tummy tuck to "fix" what pregnancies caused, it is usually not enough to make much of a difference in weight immediately after surgery.  However, I have found that patients do tend to lose some weight after a tummy tick on their own, often finding that the tightening of the abdominal muscles makes them feel full much more quickly.

This depends on your body weight and shape before surgery

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Tummy tuck surgery varies greatly from patient to patient. There are three components to the surgery that can be corrected. These are 1) excess abdominal fat 2) excess abdominal skin and 3) loose abdominal muscles. Most patients have all or only some of these indications and therefore each surgery is uniquely designed for each individual patient. Some patients will lose a significant amount of weight with this surgery and I have removed up to 20 pounds in some patients. However, most patients typically lose a more modest amount of weight but benefit greatly from the removal of loose skin and stretch marks with the simultaneous tightening of all of the abdominal muscles. Patients can expect to achieve a flat belly with tight muscles with a modest amount of weight loss depending on the amount of excess fat present before surgery.

David Rankin, MD
Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 168 reviews

Weight loss from a tummy tuck

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While a tummy tuck can change the contour of your abdomen dramatically, it does not change your weight significantly. In women who have a very thin frame, the removed portion of skin may only be 1 lb--even if it is 8 by 12 inches in dimension! For larger women, a very large removal might only be 8 lb. Thinking about it, I'd say most tummy tucks remove about 1 to 4% of the patent's body weight. You should not think of a tummy tuck as a weight loss procedure, but rather a re-shaping procedure.

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.