Tummy Tuck or Body Lift? (photo)

I weigh 220 and was 260 at my biggest. I'm 5'10 and large boned. Doctors refused me for the lap band. I'm told muscle weighs more then fat. I have a large painful buldge when I tighten my stomach muscles. I also had a fusion of cervicle 5,6 &7, so situps are very hard to do with both. I want to have work done this year. It hurts when I'm ask'd when is the baby due. Can I have surgery without being 160lbs? Please advise.

Doctor Answers 16

Tummy tuck vs body lift

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Thank you for your question. A consultation would help determine which of the following procedures is the right one for you:

1) Traditional tummy tuck: Reduces a great amount of skin laxity, tightens the abdominal wall muscles and keeps the incision hidden in the underwear line.
2) An extended tummy tuck: Same as a tummy tuck, but helps to reduce more skin laxity around the flanks.
3) A corset tummy tuck: Adds a vertical scar and breast fold scar, but reduces a significant amount of vertical skin laxity in addition to the horizontal skin laxity and creates the most hour-glass type figure. Downside is more visible scar
4) A belt lipectomy (or lower body lift) helps lift the outer thighs and buttock in addition to the benefits of an extended tummy tuck.

Based on the photo, options 1-3 may help you achieve your goals.  You don't have significant laxity in the back.  Liposuction is usually added to all of the procedures to help improve the results. I would recommend visiting with a board certified plastic surgeon who can spend time with you to explain the different options in more detail.

Tummy Tuck or Body Lift?

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I would suggest an abdominoplasty. From your pictures, I see a significant amount of excess skin and fat of the central abdomen. However, the main problem is your abdominal muscle wall weakness. I would therefore suggest an abdominoplasty with a significant concentration on abdominus rectus muscle reconstruction. Your abdominal muscles should be repaired and brought together to flatten your tummy. I believe most of your "tummy" is due to muscle weakness rather than a significant amount of fat.
The reason I don't think you need a body lift is because you do not have a significant amount of excess skin and fat over the hips and buttock region. No, you do not have to weigh 160 pounds for this. Good luck with your reconstructive plastic surgery journey.


Dr. Katzen

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 254 reviews

Tummy tuck versus body lift, timing of surgery

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What's the best type of surgery, and when's the best time to do it?  Tough questions, lots of answers.  The timing of this type of surgery depends in part on what type of result a person expects.  Someone with a BMI of 32 (5'10", 220 lbs) will probably have a different result than someone with a BMI of 23 (5''10", 160 lbs).  The operations may be different as well.  If you wait until you weigh 160 pounds, you are likely to have more loose skin and might benefit from a more circumferential approach to remove it (ie, body lift or belt lipectomy).  So, undergoing surgery at a BMI of 32 you might end up with a nice result, one with which you are happy, but the result also may not be quite what you really want long-term.  Undergoing surgery at a BMI of 23 may end up with a better result, but possibly may require more surgery, more expense, and be a year away.  Visiting with a plastic surgeon experienced with this type of surgery is the best way to have your questions answered.  The best time?  The best operation?  The best result?  Great questions, lots of answers.

Kelly R. Kunkel, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck or Body Lift?

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   The tummy tuck is probably a better choice for you as most of the laxity is in the front, and the abdominal wall can be repaired as well.  Find the plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of tummy tucks each year.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Abdominal contouring

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A physical exam is really needed to make any recommendations.   You may benefit from a tummy tuck with liposuction of your waist.   But if you have excess skin laxity in in your lateral thighs and flanks/buttocks, you may also benefit from a body lift.   Additional weight loss will also help you to achieve a better result.  Best of luck.

Tummy Tuck or Body Lift

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You may very well benefit from a tummy tuck but you need to understand that correcting that painful bulge requires you to lose some weight before you undergo the procedure otherwise the separation will recur, effectively rendering your operation useless. You should at least get down to 180 lbs so your BMI is 32 or less. 

Tummy tuck or body lift

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I think that you need to be examined in person. If you have a true hernia, then this would have to be treated in conjunction with a general surgeon.

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

Tummy TUck

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A tummy tuck with flank lipo or a lipoabdominplasty would be most helpful. You do have a few unique anatomical findings. The back fusion history appears to have weakened your core muscles.  A tummy tuck would help tighten the rectus muscles. You can expect improvement but  not complete correction. Good luck.

George Bitar, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Body lift vs tummy tuck

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The large painful area that you are describing is very worrisome for a hernia.  I would make sure you talk to your surgeon about this.  A tummy tuck alone will get rid of the extra skin on the front side but you appear to have have some skin wrapping around to the backside too.  This extra skin would only be removed with a body lift.  Good luck with your decision.

Tummy Tuck or Body Lift?

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Just on the info posted I would consider a TT with a general surgeon doing the ventral hernia repair with a mesh. Best to have a scan of the abdomen to see the size of the ventral defect first. Than have a team approach to your surgery. 

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.