What Should my Ideal Weight Be Before I Have a Tummy Tuck?

Im 5'5 about 178lbs. I was 209lbs. I have an apple body shape & I'm scheduled to get a tummy tuck in about 7 weeks. My goal weight is 165lbs but I dont know that I will make it. Based on my schedule, I took this summer off to have this surgery & I don't want to cancel it.

Doctor Answers 18

Tummy tuck planning?

Thank you for the question and picture.

There is no magic number of months to wait.  You will know physically (when you are at your baseline weight) and emotionally when you are ready to proceed with this major operation.  This planning would involve making sure you have enough help for your children(if relevant) and yourself during the recovery period (approx. 3-4 weeks).  

I do however have another  word of advice for you. Patients who are about to undergo tummy tuck surgery spend a lot of time thinking about the physical preparation for the procedure (for example weight loss issues) but do not spend a lot of time thinking about the emotional aspects.
It is not uncommon for patients who undergo the procedure to experience severe “mood swings”. These emotions may range from depression ( “why did I do this to myself”) to elation  (which may lead to over activity). I think it is helpful to be aware that these emotional swings do occur postoperatively. 
Suggestions I have for patients undergoing this procedure: 1. Make sure you have a strong support system in place who have time/patience to take care of you. 2. Be patient with the healing process, understanding that it will take several weeks to months to feel “normal” again. 3. Be prepared to distract your mind with things of interest such as books, magazines, and movies. 4. Expect less of yourself; do not go back to work too early and let others take care of you (for a change). 5. Keep in close communication with your surgeon and do not hesitate to communicate questions/concerns and the emotional swings that you may experience. 6. Keep in mind the end result!

I hope this helps.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,486 reviews

What Should Your Weight Be Before Tummy Tuck

The ideal weight for a tummy tuck depends on where you tend to store fat.  

1.  If most of your weight is in the mid-section especially up high in your upper abdomen then you need to lose more.  

2.  If most of your weight is in your hips and thighs then you don't need to lose as much.

The important fat to lose is the part stored inside the abdomen.  If there is two much intra-abdominal fat it can make the tummy-tuck more risky.  It also makes it harder for the surgeon to give you a good result because he/she can't tighten the abdominal wall as much. 

As you lose weight you will see the upper abdomen start to deflate where it goes in slightly instead of bulging out.  This is a good sign that you have lost enough weight.  The fat down low in the apron area doesn't't matter much because it gets removed anyway.  The actual number of pounds and weight is not as important as getting rid of that fat inside the abdomen.

Looking at your photo it still looks like your upper abdomen is bulging some and you need to lose another 10-15 pounds which is what your goal is anyway.   I think it would be better to delay surgery and make it as safe as possible rather that have it when you still have too much intra-abdominal fat.

It also helps to go back to your surgeon for a quick check to see if you are ready.  Sometimes the upper abdomen looks like it is bulging because of fat, but during examination the surgeon can determine it is just a very relaxed stretched out abdominal wall from pregnancies.

Be careful because there are non-plastic surgeons out there doing tummy tucks.  There is even an oral surgeon in my city who does tummy tucks.  Make sure you are being cared for by a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

David L. Mobley, MD, FACS
Sarasota Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Weight loss before tummy tuck

I am not sure that roughly 10 more pounds of weight loss will make much difference...a little, perhaps, but not much.  I do not attempt to do liposuction fat removal at the time of a full tummy tuck...I believe that it poses additional risks to the blood supply to the skin, and can lead to skin loss, delayed healing, and worse scarring.  Some surgeons are more comfortable with doing this, while I am not.  In any event, what this means is that the patient will have the same fat thickness after the tummy tuck as before, but of course the overhanging skin (and the fat connected to it) will be removed, and the skin (and underlying fat connected to it) that remains will be tighter and flatter.  Nevertehless, if a patient is a bit "thick" and of course "loose" before, they will still be a bit "thick" but much tighter after the tummy tuck.  As long as they realize this, and it is safe to do the tummy tuck, then that is fine.  If a patient wants to be significantly thinner as well as tighter, then they can either loose the weight before the tummy tuck, or we can reduce the fat with aggressive liposuction first, and then perform the tummy tuck after a few months when the tissues have softened and healed.  If you are comfortable with your current weight, and realizing that you are within about 10 pounds of your goal, I would think you could proceed with your tummy tuck (this is of course based on my not having examined you!).  Further weight loss of 10-15 pounds later should not adversely effect your result...you will be thinner, and it would be unusual if you became noticeably "looser".  If you were planning on losing 20-40 pounds, I would think you should do that BEFORE your tummy tuck.

Robert M. Grenley, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Stable weight

It is important for you to get to a sustainable weight.  Be careful not to starve yourself before surgery as you will just gain it back after surgery.  Making better eating and exercise choices will help you get the desired results.  Sometimes the tummy tuck with liposuction contouring will give the patient that extra boost.

Hilton Becker, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Tummy Tuck

Do not go into your surgery unhealthy.  Losing weight can make you weak and not able to heal properly.  Talk to your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and obtain their opinion.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Ideal weight

It is always best to be at your ideal weight whenever you have any skin reduction surgery.So if you don't make it and you have to postpone it ok of have it done and lose an extra 10 pounds or so and I don't think it will make that big a difference.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

A stable weight is your best weight for tummy tuck

If you have chosen a goal you simply cannot reach you should reset to a realistic expectation and weight you can and will maintain after tummy tuck. Still, the two to three pounds a week for the next seven weeks would put you right where you want to be. Calorie restriction and 45 min. on the treadmill daily just might help you make weigh in.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Ideal weight before tummy tuck

Congratulations on losing so much weight! I would recommend waiting until you reach your ideal weight before getting a tummy tuck. This is because depending on your body type and size, you may find that losing that last 13 pounds further affects your body contour. You should reach your goal weight and then get the tummy tuck, since you can address all of the loose skin you may have developed. That way, you will be happier with the results and they won't be negatively affected by your further expected weight loss.
If another 13 pounds is actually unrealistic for you, and you're just "pushing it", then it might be better to pursue a tummy tuck now if you've been at this weight for a while. However, please ask your surgeon for their advice.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Ideal weight loss and cosmetic surgery.

Recommendations for cosmetic surgery typically involve losing excess weight first, then stabilizing your weight prior to undergoing body contouring procedures. This allows for more predictable results, safer anesthesia, and usually longer lasting results. No result from body contouring is permanent, however large weight fluctuations up or down following surgery can ruin the results from an otherwise great operation. If a person does plan on losing weight following a tummy tuck, it is important that they realize that they may have loose skin and wish to have a revision after the weight loss. Typically, the revision is a much smaller operation than the original tummy tuck procedure. It is important to note that weight loss should be done in a controlled fashion without starvation diets or fasting. Appropriate nutrition is critical in healing the incisions from a large operation such as a tummy tuck. Thus, although losing weight is advantageous in body contouring, weight stabilization is just as important to ensure that proper healing occurs following the operation. I commonly look for a stable weight for at least 6 months prior to surgery to improve predictability of surgery and lower complication rates.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

How much weight should be lost before a tummy tuck?

Body contour surgery will always be safer with a better aesthetic result when a patient's weight is close to a normal BMI.  Some patients are able to reduce significantly before surgery and then plateau.  I have seen these patients complete their weight loss after the surgery is performed because they are motivated and they seem to get full more quickly since the abdomen is tighter.  With small weight losses, usually the skin stays tight and the results are good.  A major weight loss after a tummy tuck may cause loose skin.

Elizabeth S. Harris, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 20 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.