Is Tummy Tuck Safe for Overweight Patient?

I have already scheduled my Tummy Tuck for next month but want to make sure I am making a good decision. I am 5'8" & 200 lbs, although I am overweight I like my body for the most part. I am proportioned nicely except for my stomach. I plan on losing 10 lbs in the next month before surgery. I have been around the same weight for years (gaining & losing 10 lbs.) My question is should I do this surgery at my weight?

Doctor Answers 14

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) in the Overweight Patient

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

You ask a very good question if tummy tuck is safe when you are overweight. All surgery carries risk. The risks are higher when the patient is overweight. In my practice we use a BMI cutoff of 30 for patients electing for cosmetic surgery. Your BMI is 30.4. If you lost the 10 lbs, your BMI drops to 28.9. In our plastic surgery literature, there have been studies that show the risks of complications are much greater in patients with BMIs over 30 than those under 30. These patients tend to have wound complications including seroma (fluid collection), delayed wound healing and dehiscence of the wound.

Abdominoplasty in overweight patients

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I tell my patients prior to surgery that results are best if they are close to their ideal body weight and at a stable weight. Many of my patients, however, are not close to their ideal weight; they never have been and it's not realistic to expect them to ever reach it. They still get great results from a tummy tuck; their abdomens get much flatter and more contoured. To say the least, the results are dramatic.

If you've met with a board-certified plastic surgeon with whom you feel comfortable, by all means you should proceed with surgery. Best of luck!

Tummy Tuck safe for overweight: Definitely, maybe?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

For the sake of argument, I will assume that the surgeon evaluated you and you are a good candidate for the procedure from a medical and cosmetic perspecive.

What is most important is your health, what you want to accomplish, and the risks associated with achieving your goals.

If you are healthy and a non-smoker, you should be fine. If you are middle aged, a clearance by your internist may be a good idea. During this period, you should work on getting your cardiovascular reserve up - walk, run, exercise, whatever might be safe for you.

Depending on your body type, you may be happy with a lesser procedure- the panniculectomy which only removes the skin/fat apron without tightening the muscle. Another option is a "modified" tummy tuck which is like above but with lipo of the tummy too and some muscle repair below the navel.


Tummy tuck in overweight patient.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}


Assuming that you are in good health and do not smoke, I think it is fine to have a tummy tuck when you are overweight. You will have a much flatter stomach.

Overweight patients have a higher risk of blood clots, so in New York we use mini heparin ( a blood thinner) when doing a tummy tuck on overweight patients, to prevent blood clots.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck safe for overweight patient

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Dear Lovely.

Your BMI is 30.4. You are BARELY "obese" (defined as 30 and above). While better cosmetic results are seen in women with BMI's near 25 or so, I had nice results with women your size and larger.

Your weight appears to be stable : "I have been around the same weight for years (gaining & losing 10 lbs.) " Personally speaking, nothing is gained by crash diets especially if you deprive yourself from nutrients your body may need to properly heal your wound. in my opinion going up and down by 10 pounds will NOT change the cosmetic outcome.

"I am proportioned nicely except for my stomach."

Lovely, it sounds like "you are there". Go have your surgery !

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Is a tummy tuck safe for an overweight person?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Assuming a patient has no significant medical problems and has a "healthy" heart, a tummy tuck is a safe procedure when done with someone who has a normal BMI (Body Mass Index). Patients who are overweight (BMI between 25-30) can be good candidates for a tummy tuck, but do carry a higher risk of complications. Patients who are in the obese category (BMI above 30) are at a much higher risk for complications. It is generally advisable to not perform a tummy-tuck in patients who are obese. The results are usually not as impressive and the risks are higher. Having said that, there are many physicians who have performed numerous tummy-tucks on patients who are slightly obese, with only a marginal increase in complications.

It would certainly be a "no no" to combine a tummy tuck in an obese patient with any other procedure. Talk about your concerns once more with your plastic surgeon. If you have had a good medical evaluation, then you can likely go through with the procedure. Good luck!

Sirish Maddali, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon

Say goodbye to the tummy

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}


Your surgeon has already decided that you will look much improved with your tummy tuck. If he/she felt that you were dangerously overweight, they would recommend against surgery. Of course, they have all of the pieces of the puzzle; your medical history, medications and an examination. Also, of course, the risks of any surgery are lower at a lower body mass index (BMI). Good luck!

Tummy Tuck when overweight

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

As long as you are comfortable with your body proportions as they are now (and it seems that you are except for the abdomen) and have no plans to lose a significant amount of weight in the future then you seem to be prepared. You did not address whether you have ever been pregnant, so discuss future pregnancies with your plastic surgeon as well. Good luck!

Theodore Katz, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon

Is Tummy Tuck Safe for Overweight Patient?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for the question. Generally speaking, it is always best to achieve long-term stable weight prior to proceeding with  body contouring surgery. Doing so, will increase the safety of the operation, will likely improve the outcome of the operation, and will decrease chances that additional surgery will become necessary subsequently. 

In my practice, I do not ask specific patients to achieve a specific weight prior to proceeding with tummy tuck surgery. I simply ask patients to achieve a long-term stable weight where he/she feels comfortable and does not expect significant fluctuation postoperatively.  As you know, recruiting other professionals such as personal trainers, nutritionists, physicians who specialize in weight loss concerns etc. may be helpful to you. 

 Having said the above,  occasional patients do benefit from panniculectomy surgery as a “jumpstart” to achieving their final goals. You may find the attached link, dedicated to patients who have experienced significant weight loss, helpful to you as you consider your options. Best wishes.

Abdominoplasty for overweight clients

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

technically the answer is yes it does present more risk, but overall not much if done in a safe environment by experienced and qualified doctors ( surgeons, anesthesiologists) nurses and surgical technicians.  The condition that does have more risk for overweight clients is pulmonary embolism due to deep vein thrombosis ( blood clotting due to slowed blood return from legs or pelvis) due to no muscle activity and/or to  positioning on the operating table.  There are risk factors and include the length of the anesthetic, overweight, and age, as well as history of prior thrombosis or thrombitis clotting or inflammation of leg veins specifically.  There are also inherited or genetic mutations which render some people more susceptable to these abnormal clotting episodes which can occur from simply sitting too long such as on an airplane flight.  The use of auxillary pumps to keep the venous flow active during general anesthesia and surgery are standard of practice, as well as positioning the patient  to enhance venous return.  where there is  low risk of bleeding complications from bleeding or hematoma, anticogulants are used in some high risk clients or procedures. overall the survival rate for pulmonary embolism is high ( 80 to 90% ), so if the patient survives the initial embolism, the prognosis is good as long as diagnosis is made and treatment is timely.  symptoms could include chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadness or passing out, rapid heart beat, sweatiness, anxiety, any of which should be the signal to call 911, or if symptoms are minimal have someone drive you to the nearest emergency room of a major hospital.

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.