How Necessary is Weight Loss Before a Tummy Tuck?

Originally the first doctor said that they needed me to lose some weight and get down to 190, I was 230. I have hit a snag and seem to be stuck at 203 despite diet and exercise for the last 6 months. I do not expect to have a flat tummy at the end of all this. If anything hoping it might help me get past this weight to lose more. With this in mind would it be better to get lipo and when I get more weight off see about a tummy tuck at a later date? Or is it possible to go ahead despite being 203?

Doctor Answers 15

Weight loss is not necessary before an abdominoplasty.

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Not every aesthetic surgery patient is ideal. Many patients choose to have an abdominoplasty while being overweight.

Weight loss before tummy tuck

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The more weight you lose, the thinner the abdominal skin flaps will be after a tummy tuck. Also, healing will go better with decreased risks of delay and seroma (fluid collection). Another concern is that if you lose more weight after the abdominoplasty, you will have new hanging skin.
The difference between an abdominoplasty and liposuction is that plication is done in a tummy tuck to correct diastasis and to help flatten the appearance of your abdomen. Liposuction is not possible for your upper abdominal region (above the belly button) because it could compromise the blood flow to the upper abdominal skin flap. Liposuction followed by an abdominoplasty at a later date is a possibility. I recommend that you meet with your plastic surgeon again at your present weight to see whether he or she recommends the tummy tuck at this time.

Wandra K. Miles, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

How Necessary is Weight Loss Before a Tummy Tuck?

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Dear Idykismet,

Thank you for your post.  I understand your frustration.  I recommend being seen by a nutritionist and remember, that it is not the kinds of food that is the end all of losing weight, it is the quantity.  Even if you are eating the 'healthiest foods', you will not lose weight if your calorie consumption is high.  If you are simply unable to lose weight on your own, then consider a gastic banding procedure or other weight loss procedure. If you are just stuck and are happy at this weight, then considering a panniculectomy rather than ful abdominoplasty may boost your moral and kick start you into further weight loss, with eventual tummy tuck down the road.

Best Wishes,

Pablo PRichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

How Necessary is Weight Loss Before a Tummy Tuck?

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          It may be reasonable to pursue liposuction at this time, and then have the tummy tuck performed in the future.  Find a plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of tummy tucks and liposuction procedures each year.  Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.

Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Recommend BMI below 30

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I strongly recommend to my prospective patients that they get their BMI below 30 and the lower the better...Complication and poor results are much more common above 30 and to calculate your BMI we need to know your height...but one guide is that for your BMI to be less than 30 and at 203lb. you should be 5'10"...So I am not saying that surgery is not possible with a BMI over 30, it just seems to be more risky...

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Weight loss before Tummy Tuck

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Thank you for your question.

Ideally, its best to be at an 'ideal' and stable weight when considering TT surgery. That as you know, is easier said than done. In addition to seeking proffessional help with your diet/excercise endeavors, you have another option. A TT with mesh reinforcement will give you a flat tummy and will encourage you to loose the additional weight. The mesh acts as an internal girdle that keeps your tummy flat and tricks your brain into feeling full. This results in eating less and as a consequence you loose weight. You must however, make healthier eating choices to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Lipo at this point will not help your primary problem.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,

Dr. H

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 230 reviews

Weight Loss Before Tummy Tuck

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If you want to get the best results from a tummy tuck, you should be at or close to your goal weight.   However, if you having a troubling apronof skin and fat hanging around  your waist, then removal of this excess tissue may help you to exercise more to continue a healthy lifestyle. So it depends on your individual goals.   In addition, if your PS is recommending that you lose additional weight, it may be that you still have excessive intra-abdominal fat ( fat inside your belly next to your bowels). This can increase your risk of delayed healing and leave you with a "beach ball" effect from your tummy tuck.   Also, keep in mind that if you have too high of a BMI (body mass index), this can increase your risk of potential healing problems and seroma after tummy tuck surgery.   If you've hit a weight loss plateau for six months, you may want to seek the advice of a weight loss specialist for a medically managed weight loss program or explore minimally invasive weight loss surgery options.  Best wishes.

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

How Necessary is Weight Loss Before a Tummy Tuck?

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This question is best addressed to your surgeon whose outlook may differ from ours. The goal weight is to assure a better outcome and a safer surgery. However, it is just a guideline, and if you have hit a plateau so close to your goal, it certainly seems reasonable to be to proceed. 

All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Weight Loss Before a Tummy Tuck?

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Congratulations on your weight loss. Most plastic surgeons would recommend that you should lose your weight first and be at your ideal weight before undergoing the surgery. Being within 10 or 13 pounds of your desired weight should not, however, be a contraindication to proceeding with surgery. If you plan to lose more than that following surgery, you may end up with further sagging of the tissue and a less than desired cosmetic result. Liposuction is usually performed at the same time as the tummy tuck in the appropriate patient.



Keep in mind that following the advice from a surgeon on this or any other website who proposes to tell you what to do without examining you, physically feeling the tissue, assessing your desired outcome, taking a full medical history, and discussing the pros and cons of each operative procedure would not be in your best interest. I would suggest you find a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) that you trust and are comfortable with. You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person.


Robert Singer, MD  FACS

La Jolla, California


Robert Singer, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

How Necessary is Weight Loss Before a Tummy Tuck?

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It really depends on what your goals are.  If you want the best possible result, then the more weight you lose, the better.  On the other hand, if you want to get rid of loose hanging skin and you have hit a plateau, then having a TT now might be your best option.  I will a lot of times do Lipo first to help patients get rid of fat and wait on the lipo until they have reached their desired goal.

Rigo Mendoza, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 40 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.