How Much Weight to Lose Before Tummy Tuck and Liposuction?

I'm thinking about getting a tummy tuck. I have 3 kids and that awful hanging tummy flab that won't go away. I'm 5'9", 51, weighing about 190 lbs, and used to be in really great shape. Now it's just coming off so slowly and I really want to look nice for myself. How much weight should I lose before the prcedure? Can I also have Liposuction at same time to underarms and just get rid of the flab that won't go away?

Doctor Answers 9

Tummy Tuck Results?

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Thank you for the question.

There is no magic number of pounds to lose.  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 kids 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.

Check your BMI before tummy tuck and liposuction

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At your present height and weight of 5'9" tall and 190 lbs. your BMI( body mass index) is 28.1. I ideally like to operate on patients with a BMI of 25 or less and in order for you to be there you would have to lose another 20 lbs. I would consider scheduling you after you lost 15 lbs.

Other health related factors such as high blood pressure, pre-diabetes etc. would have to be taken into account and I would want to have you cleared for surgery by your primary physician. I usually suggest that my patients get on a simple weight reduction program such as weight watchers and start walking 30 minutes per day. You will lose the weight in a matter of months.

Also, I would suggest that you find a plastic surgeon that is performing Slim lipo especially for your arms. Traditional liposuction for the arms may result in more sagging of the skin and make matters worse. Slim lipo specifically melts the fat and shrinks the collagen resulting in tightening of the skin.

Joel B. Singer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

Weight loss before tummy tuck

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You should be at a stable weight prior to a tummy tuck. Whatever your goal weight may be, the number is not that important to the surgeon but it should be a realistic number for you. The more weight you lose prior to surgery, the better your result will be and fewer complications will occur; in general. If you are planning to lose weight, do this before your surgery and not after surgery. If you lose too much weight, too quickly after surgery, you may be left with loose skin which can compromise your result. Once you have lost the weight, have your arms examined by a board certified plastic surgeon to determine if you're a candidate for lipousuction of that area.

You should have medical clearance from your primary care physician or internist prior to your surgery.

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 410 reviews

How much weight loss before body contouring surgery?

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Ideally, before any body contouring procedure, you will be within 10-15 pounds of your proper weight.  That way, you will get the best result and won't become lax by loosing alot of weight after the surgery.

Weight loss prior to body contouring surgery

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Your general health is the most important determinant for any type of surgery. In body contouring surgery, I will ask the patient what their realistic goal is regarding their weight. If they can get to within 10-15% of that weight, the surgery can be tailored reasonably well with little chance that any further weight loss (or gain) will give an odd appearance. Ideally, the more you lose, the more can be tightened and shaped.

Good Luck!

Ricardo Izquierdo, MD
Oak Brook Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tuck and weight loss

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Hi AikenMom! If you're healthy and your primary doctor is agreeable, you would do well with a tummy tuck and liposuction. I find that post-partum tummy tuck patients are amongst the happiest of my cosmetic surgery patients. With regard to preoperative weight loss, any weight you can lose before surgery is in your best interest. Your results will be that much better if you are able to lose weight. Also, the complication rate is decreased. There is no set amount of weight to lose--this should be discussed with your surgeon and keeping the goal realistic is key. You can have liposuction of the arms at the same time, but if some of your "flab" is excess skin, then aggressive liposuction in this area will likely contribute to your "flab". You may have less bulk, however, the skin will only tighten a small amount. Again, this is a discussion for you to have with a board-certified plastic surgeon as a physical exam is mandatory to go into details. Good luck!

Dr. Singer

Elan B. Singer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Losing Weight before tummy tuck and liposuction

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You should be at your long term stable weight which is generally within 20 pounds of your target weight for optimal results. Generally, patients can have tummy tuck and liposuction at the same time.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Weight loss and a tummy tuck

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The ideal candidate for liposuction is about ten pounds over the ideal body weight. Don’t go on crash diets which will make you unhealthy, and possibly risk you healing poorly. Liposuction can be done on the arms but there is a limit during one session of how much fat is removed for safety reasons. The surgeon should be able to tell you in consultation how many areas can be treated at the same time. A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is designed to tighten the muscle over the abdomen, or remove and tighten flabby skin of the lower abdomen. It may be safer, if you need both liposuction and a tummy tuck, to do them.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Weight Loss Before Tummy Tuck

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The closer you are to ideal body weight, the better the result you can expect from a TT. You can certainly have the procedure performed now, but I would expect a better result and better recovery with some weight loss. You can have the lipo at the same time, but some patients require excision of skin rather than lipo alone for this area.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville 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.