Am I a Good Candidate for Liposuction or Tummy Tuck?

I have lost 20 lbs. since January (starting wt: 164lbs) but lost only one inch on the belly. I'm 30 years old, non-smoker, 5'2", 145 lbs, currently with a 38A bust, (33 in. ribs - 35 in. belly button - 38 in. fattest part - 37 in hips.)

Everyone has asked when my baby is due for years. I am so frustrated. I am sticking with my diet (1400-1600 cal) on which I lose between 1-2 lbs a week and hope to drop more weight naturally.

How much could I realistically get rid of with a tummy tuck or liposuction? Am I even a good candidate?

Doctor Answers 9

Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction

Thank you for your question -

From the picture it appears that it is likely you will need an abdominoplasty. The way to think about the process is to consider the following parts of your abdominal contour:

  1. Intra-abdominal contents (organs, bone) - this part you can't change
  2. Muscle separation - Separated muscle can cause significant weakness resulting in abdominal bulge of the intra-abdominal contents. This requires a tummy tuck to correct.
  3. Subcutaneous fat - this is typically what liposuction targets but is also resected at the time of tummy tuck
  4. Skin - Again, an abdominoplasty is required for this.

Analyzing your picture, you have a significant excess of skin and likely have significant separation of your rectus muscles. Without fixing these two you are likely to have a poor result.

Work on getting close to your ideal body weight and then schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.

I hope this helps.

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Candidates for Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Thank you for the detailed info.

It appears that you have significant muscle laxity which would not be treated with liposuction alone. However, you skin seems to be in relatively good shape.

You should first determine if you have a diastasis recti (muscle gap).

  • Lay on the floor with your hands at your sides. Then lift your head off the floor without using your hands as if you were almost attempting a partial sit-up. Now feel your abdomen. Do you feel a longitudinal gap between your six pack muscles? It feels like a soft valley running from your solar plexus down to your pubis, right through the middle of your belly.

If so, then you will achieve a better result with a muscle repair. This does not necessarily require a tummy tuck. In fact, if your skin is in good shape, there are many variations and you can achieve a muscle repair with a short incision combined with liposuction. Alternatively if you have mild skin laxity or laxity limited to the area below the belly button, you good get excellent results with a mini or hybrid abdominoplasty.

If your muscles are intact, consider a muscle training regimen emphasizing core strengthening such as Pilates or Yoga. This can achieve dramatic results and make you an excellent candidate for liposuction alone.

I hope this helps.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

A tummy tuck would probably be better for you

Liposuction and a tummy tuck are not methods of weight loss, however both can help you recontour your midsection to achieve a sleeker profile. Judging from the info you've provided and your photo, you'd probably benefit more from a tummy tuck. This would eliminate excess fat as well as tighten sagging skin and correct any muscle separation if necessary. However, you should be at a stable and ideal weight before pursuing surgery, so continue to diet and exercise until you reach that point before booking an appointment with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon. Best of luck, and keep up the great work!

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

You will need a tummy tuck

Keep working on the weight loss plan and get down as far as is reasonable. Then go to an excellent Board Certified plastic surgeon for an evaluation. From your photos, it looks as though you have dramatically lax abdominal muscles and this would only be improved by a tummy tuck. When the muscles are tighter, there will be substantial extra skin which will be removed in the tummy tuck. Good luck!

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Am I a Good Candidate for Liposuction or Tummy Tuck?

 Thank you for the question. The tummy tuck and abdominoplasty terms refer to the same operation. Generally, this operation involves removal of excess skin/adipose tissue of the lower abdominal wall and re approximation of the abdominal wall muscles that may have spread with pregnancies and/or weight gain/loss. Liposuctioning is often used as a tool during the procedure.
Generally speaking, the “ideal” patient for tummy tuck surgery is one who has completed pregnancies, is psycho socially/emotionally/financially stable, has an excellent social support system surrounding him/her, is capable of arranging enough recovery time, does not smoke and who has reached a long-term stable weight.
Liposuction surgery, on the other hand, refers to an operation that essentially suctions out adipose tissue. The operation does not involve any skin removal or re approximation of abdominal wall muscles. The best candidates for liposuction surgery of the abdominal wall are patients with good quality skin elasticity and a moderate degree of diet and exercise resistant adipose tissue superficial to the abdominal wall muscle layer. Patients who are significantly overweight, have significant abdominal wall laxity, and/or have lost a significant amount of skin elasticity are not generally good candidates.
My best suggestion: seek consultation with board-certified plastic surgeons who can demonstrate significant experience helping you achieve the type of outcome you will be pleased with. You may find the attached link, dedicated to tummy tuck surgery concerns, helpful to you as you learn more. Best wishes.

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

Am I a good candidate for liposuction or tummy tuck?

Thank you for your question and photos!  I hope that these answers help!  Tummy tuck is an excellent method for shaping the belly and create a flatter and sculpted abdomen after the procedure.  Looking at your photos, I do believe that you would be an excellent candidate for this procedure in order to remove the excess skin/soft tissue of your lower abdomen and contour the areas of your belly.  

I would highly recommend continued diet and exercise prior to any consideration for body contouring as getting down to your ideal weight prior to the procedure will certainly give you the best results.  Also, a continued healthy and active lifestyle will be needed in order to maintain the benefits that the procedure has given to you.  Also, I would recommend performing this procedure after you have completed child bearing, as your appearance may return with each pregnancy.  

Once you are ready for the procedure, I would likely recommend a full tummy tuck with abdominal wall tightening along with some liposuction to the hips/flanks for additional contouring.  You should consult with a plastic surgeon at anytime to go over options and then likely return once you have achieved your ideal weight  in order to assist you in deciding which procedure(s) would be right for you.  Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Best Weight for Tummy Tuck and Lipo is a stable weight

Congratulations on your weight loss. Once your weight has stabilized for some months that

would be the best time to do a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) procedure.

Abdominoplasty candidates have excess abdominal skin which may sag, a disproportionate

or protruding abdomen as you have hinted out, weakened or separated abdominal muscles,

or excess fat concentrated in the abdomen. As there is significant weight of the intra-

abdominal contents you need good abdominal muscle tone to look your best, with or

without a tummy tuck so doing core exercises like crunches is something you need to do

prior to surgery and after for best results otherwise your belly will bulge at some point.

So, my advice is - start crunches and core exercises and see a board certified plastic

surgeon. I suspect you will have a result you are pleased about.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Too much excess skin not good for liposuction.


No question that well done surgery will make you look better.  But you look like you have a lot of excess skin and probably separated muscles.  So tummy tuck better than liposuction. 

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Tummy tuck will give you the results you want

You would be a good candidate for tummy tuck. This will tighten the loose skin, tighten the muscles (like a corset) and remove any excess fat that is present. You can expect to have a flat and probably even a concave stomach afterwards. No one will think you are pregnant after a tummy tuck. Hope this helps.

Robert B. Pollack, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 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.