Why Do Some Women Have Hour Glass Figures After Having Had a Tummy Tuck and Some Women Don't?

Does this have to do with a woman's body type or the expertise of the surgeon?

Doctor Answers 11

Tummy Tuck - Why Do Some Women Have Hour Glass Figures After Having Had a Tummy Tuck and Some Women Don't?

The final result of plastic surgery - any plastic surgery - depends on the preoperative appearance, the procedure chosen (and the manner in which it is performed) and the patient's own healing process.

In the case of the "hourglass" figure after a tummy tuck, this would normally be from restoring the previous appearance in addition to contouring of a few areas (like the hips) that may never have been as contoured.  It is virtually impossible to produce a completely different body from this procedure, however dramatic the results may otherwise be.

That being said, there are some preoperative "shapes" that lend themselves particularly well to this procedure.  Those include a hanging flap ("pannus") in the lower portion of the abdomen while the upper is relatively narrow, excess fat on the hips and, sometimes, a weakened abdominal wall centrally that can be repaired with sutures or, at the extreme, a mesh.  While the last feature is somewhat rare and limited, the combination - when repaired appropriately and with normal healing - can produce stunning results.

But the combination noted in the first paragraph is normally what needs to be considered in anticipating a surgical result.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Tuck Tuck 3-D

There are several factors that can go into getting that beautiful hourglass figure after an abdominoplasty.  A woman's body type is important  but the surgical technique can tremendously enhance the waist line.  This can be done by performing simultaneous liposuction of the hips and waist in conjunction with the tummy tuck.  A tummy tuck is usually very good at flattening the abdominal contour since basically it works by pulling all the skin down and removing the extra tissue that is in front of your body.  This doesn't address the waist very well if you have love handles or any excess tissue on your sides.   By using liposuction to sculpt the waist, this allows for a 3-dimensional contouring of your sides and back in addition to the front that is being shaped by the abdominoplasty.    By combining the techniques you are more likely to achieve that "hour-glass figure".

Adam Hamawy, MD
Princeton Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Hour glass figure after tummy tuck?

Your shape following abdominoplasty depends on many factors.  The shape of your ribs, compliance of abdominal wall, shape of pelvis, and distance between lower margin of ribs and iliac crest of pelvis are primary contributors to final shape.  In general, if you have a very short torso and waist is not narrow from view of the back before surgery, it will be more difficult to narrow your shape to an hourglass.  Narrow pelvis also more difficult to achieve hourglass shape.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Hourglass figure after tummy tuck

That's what makes the world go round! It's more the woman's underlying shape though a good plastic surgeon can use some tricks to get closer even with a not-so-ideal body. It's a combination of genes, lifestyle and surgeon.

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Tummy tuck

Feel  how much space you have between the lowest rib in line with your armpit and the top of your pelvic bone in the same line. The more distance you hav,e the more definition you will have with a small waist and broad hips. If, as I see in many patients, you have a very small distance between those two points, then you have no way to get that definition, with or without a tummytuck.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Hourglass figure after tummy tuck

The hourglass curve is more a function of the patient's body type to start with than with the surgeon's expertise.  Certainly, liposuction can be used as an associated procedure to achieve more of an hourglass appearance but, as a plastic surgeon, the patient's underlying shape/physique is a given.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Y Do Some Women Have Hr Glass Figures Aftr Having Had a Tummy Tuck&Some Women Don't?

A surgeon can do little tweaks here and there to try and get more of a waist to come out but most of the time it really is the shape of the patient that determines the real waistline…Things like spot liposuction, muscle separation suture techniques or differential tightening at the waist all may help, but its kind of like Rhinoplasty…To a large extent, you are given what you get to work with!!!

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Results After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Thanks for the question.

I think the results of tummy tuck surgery may be related to both the patient's anatomy and the skill/experience level of the plastic surgeon. I think that there are patients who, despite having had a well executed tummy tuck procedure,  will not end up with a “hourglass figure”  because of their anatomic structure. On the other hand, another patient may end up with the ideal figure after appropriate muscle plication,  skin excision and/or liposuction.

I think the ideal  situation (in regards to your question) exists  when the patient who is at a stable weight is undergoing the procedure by a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Curves after tummy tuck

Women come in all shapes and sizes!  There are many factors that determine a woman’s shape.  A woman that has a longer torso and a greater distance between the rib cage and the hip bone, is more likely to have a more “hour glass figure”. Women with a shorter torso may appear to be a bit thicker in the waist. 


George John Alexander, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Body shape and structure with tummy tuck

It seems unfair, though underlying body shape and structure will strongly influence results from tummy tuck. In order to have an hour glass figure, you will need to have the height and bone structure to carry it off. If you are shorter with less narrowing in the waist it is not realistic to think that tummy tuck will get you there.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 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.