Tummy Tuck Before and After Main Photo - Representative of Most Results?

When you go to the tummy tuck forum, it pulls up a main photo of someone that "before" had lots of loose skin and fat and the "after" photo shows a very nice flat tummy with great shape. Do you feel that this photo shows realistic results for most people considering a tummy tuck? I tried to find the one I felt most like me, with the PS and online. This person had much more loose skin and fat than me. Am I wrong to expect a similar result?

Doctor Answers 17

"SOME Surgeons Only Show Their Best Results....."

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I have to disagree with many of the comments about All Surgeons placing only their "Best" results on their website. In my practice we place just about all of my patients photos on my website. The only ones that we do not place are from patients who do not give us permission to use their photos or patients who have identifying tattoos. We also do not show any faces.   I believe it is important to show all results so that patients have realistic expectations. I don't want patients to come back and ask why everyone else looks so much better than they do. We show all degrees of results, as well as good scars and bad scars.   No surgeon is perfect. Not all patients heal the same, some patients follow our instructions and others don't  Results will  vary.

Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Using photos to judge or predict your possible result

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Realself has obviously selected an outstanding result to represent the dramatic improvement that a tummy tuck can achieve and this is certainly possible. However, I do not feel that this is the typical result. This is most likely more than a straightforward tummy tuck and likely involves and extended abdominoplasty with liposuction.You should review the full range of possibilities rather than focusing on one specific result for you may be disappointed.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Tummy Tuck Before and After Main Photo - Representative of Most

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Great observation and question. Yes that photo is more the exception than the rule. Results vary to the patient and surgeon. Best to have very realestic expectations. From MIAMI Dr. DARRYL J. BLINSKI

Tummy tuck before and afters

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Thanks for the question.

As Dr. Moelleken was eluding to, there are several factors which will play a role in your overall result of a tummy tuck including basal anatomy, your baseline weight (ideally you should be near your ideal BMI), and the skill level of your surgeon.  I would suggest consulting with several plastic surgeons in your area and review dozens of before and afters to get a better idea of what you can expect as a comparable result.

Warmest Regards,

Glenn Vallecillos, MD,FACS

Glenn Vallecillos, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Realistic before-after pictures

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Most reputable plastic surgeons will show you a variety of results, from average to spectacular.  there is usually a reason people get a spectacular result--- a fine surgeon, favorable anatomy, a good surgical plan.

A reputable plastic surgeon has no interest in having a patient with expectations that are too high--- that can be a disaster for both patient and physician!

Once you research and find several plastic surgeons and consult with them, review a number of before-after photographs and you will get a good idea of which practice best suits your needs..

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

No 2 plastic surgery patients are alike and neither are the doctors

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The tummy tucks shown tend to be the best from each doctor but they do show a broad spectrum of starting points so somewhere you should be able to find someone who is somewhere near to you.  Hopefully, you can find a surgeon with enough experience who has that patient in their own portfolio so you can really know what to expect.  Just because one doctor has a result you like doesn't mean that another one can reproduce that.

The photo shown is not what most people can reasonably expect in all cases.

Before and after photos of tummy tucks on line

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When you look at before and after photos on line of any procedure, remember that the surgeon will submit their best results. No surgeon will place an "average" result to compete with another surgeon's "best" result. Photos can be deceiving as well. I see a lot of them that are not even comparable or are taken in such a way to hide the flaws. The preop and postop photos do not have the same orientation, in the postop clothing covers the scar (which might be objectionable to some viewers), the lighting is different and the postop is further back making the person look slimmer. It is best to go in in person for a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who can give you a realistic explanation of what you can expect. This is based on you weight, body habitus, rib cage configuration, skin elasticity, tissue sagging, muscle laxity, previous scars, etc. There are different techniques for tummy tucks and you want a surgeon who is familiar with the variations and does the right procedure for you. 

Tummy Tuck before and after photos

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In our practice, we perform tummy tucks in patients of all shapes, sizes, and walks of life. To get a great result, it is essential that you only work with a plastic surgeon who is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Such a specialist will be able to evaluate your medical situation as well as your abdomen and determine what modalities will help you meet your aesthetic goals. During your consultation, you should also ask to see as many before and after tummy tuck pictures as possible. In our gallery, you will see tummy tuck photos from a wide variety of patients. Although every patient looks different and has a unique result, in our practice there are some common themes. We emphasize a very low and well hidden incision, a tight narrow waist, and procedures that can stop your abdomen so that it does not look unnaturally flat. Always keep in mind that these photos are great points to begin a discussion about tummy tuck but that your result may be slightly different. Ask your surgeon to point out pictures of patients that he thinks may be similar and how your results will vary.

Before and after photos: Are they representative of all results?

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You are wise in asking this question. I'm sure most plastic surgeons would agree that the photo you showed has an outstanding result. Most of us would also be honest and say that it is NOT a typical result, but perhaps in the top 10% of results.

When you see a Board Certified plastic surgeon, you can ask to see their great results, average results and below average results. All of us need to do touch-ups or revision once in a while so a good plastic surgeon will discuss that with you also. Better to go with an honest surgeon than one who makes exaggerated promises.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Before and after photos are not a guarantee for tummy tucks

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When looking at before and after photos on line try and find someone with a similar build to get an idea.  Also look at the time line of the after.  Is it the next day or a year?  At a year the incisions often look better than they do at six weeks.  Also it is important to know how the person in the photo responded to surgery.  Did they go on to loose another 5- 10 pounds?  Did they have other procedures done at the same time such as Liposuction or a breast lift or augmentation.  We try and display a variety of before and after results and they all vary. 

Charles Perry, MD
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

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.