Is it safe to have a tummy tuck with a higher BMI over 30?

Last year May 2015 I had a gastric sleeve , I was 330 pounds this year I am 247 pounds , although I lost weight I'm still a little on the heavier side with my stomach it holds the most weight, when I lay down it's still kind of flat but there is still some fat , I was wondering even with a BMI just a tad bit higher than 30 is it possible to still be considered a good candidate for a tummy tuck

Doctor Answers 17

Tummy Tuck and BMI

Thank you for your question.

Although you may be at a greater risk for some complications, a tummy tuck can be performed in somebody with a higher BMI depending on the distribution of the extra weight.  I recommend consulting with a plastic surgeon to discuss your options, the timing of surgery, and if anything needs to be done in the interim (like lose a little extra weight).  Congratulations on your bariatric surgery and weight loss so far!


Dr. Dan Krochmal

MAE Plastic Surgery

Northbrook, IL

Chicago General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Is it safe to have a tummy tuck with a higher BMI over 30?

There is no absolute cut-off for a TT and each patient needs to be assessed based on their own needs and medical condition. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

You do not have to be at ideal body weight to have a tummy tuck.

In an ideal world, all patients would be at ideal body weight. However, we don't live in an ideal world and if it were easy for patients to drop their weight they would have done it already before seeing me. So you do not need to be at ideal body weight. However, this is not to say there are no limits. If you have dropped almost 100 pounds you will not doubt have a large apron of extra tissue. It is advantageous to be able to repair the rectus muscles in the midline at the time of a tummy tuck. The decision depends also on your body frame and height. It is unusual for me to perform a tummy tuck on someone who weighs 247 pounds but I did one not long ago on a woman with a large frame who was 5'10" and I was able to repair the muscles easily. So it's a decision for you to discuss with your surgeon. Many women find that after their tummy tuck they are even more motivated to lose weight and get in shape. You can look at some examples of tummy tucks in heavier women (up to 225 lbs.) on my website if you like. The link is below.

Eric Swanson, MD
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Tummy tuck with high BMI

Congratulations on the weight loss. Certainly tummy tuck can be done on patients with higher BMI. However stastically it puts you at greater risk of post operative complications. The weight is a marker for diabetes, high blood pressure, difficulty walking, poor exercise, heart issues,etc. These all need to be evaluated on an individual basis. If most if not all of your medical issues have dissapeared with your weight loss, and your surgeon feels you are a good candidate then I would have no problem proceeding. With all that said, there is no doubt you are a better candidate for surgery at 147 pounds versus 247 pounds. I would ask are you still losing weight?  Can you lose more? If you are still losing weight or you can get back on a weight reduction diet I would try to lose some more before surgery.

Eric Weiss MD

Eric Weiss, MD, FACS
Orange Park Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews


I think that you are better off losing more weight so that you have the potential for a safer outcome. Best of luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Lose More Weight Before Surgery because More ideal body weight = better tummy tuck results (and safer)

A BMI above 25 is considered overweight and involves higher risks for complications for elective surgery.  Be patient and try to lose more weight before proceeding with elective surgery, especially a tummy tuck and liposuction which typically involves some of the highest risks for cosmetic surgery.

The less overweight  you are, the less visceral (intra- abdominal fat) you will have, and the tighter we can plicate (tighten) your abdominal wall fascia, the more excess skin we can remove, the more definition we can give you and the lower we can place your scar to hide it better.  Also, you will have lower risks for complications such as seromas, wound healing issues, infection and DVT (deep venous thrombosis) and pulmonary embolism (which can be fatal).  You will also just recover quicker and easier if you are less heavy.  Tummy tucks are one of the biggest surgeries we do, and one that involves the most risks and demands the most from you for the recovery.  Thus, you should take your time and do everything you can (including achieving your ideal body weight and choosing the right surgeon) to give yourself the best chance possible to heal successfully.  I would recommend you see several board certified plastic surgeons for consultation.  If they don't seem too concerned about the risks of being overweight for tummy tucks, then I would recommend you go on to the next candidate (because being overweight is one of the greatest risks for complications for tummy tucks).  Best wishes.

Bao L. Phan, MD
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Tummy Tuck Now or Later


Thanks for your question. It is always best to be at or near your ideal weight before having surgery. Having it too soon may make it necessary to have it revised as you lose more weight. There is also additional risk whenever you have surgery if you are overweight.  I would recommend a consultation with and exam by a board-certified plastic surgeon to heklp you plan a course of action. Good luck.

Janet Turkle, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Is it safe to have a tummy tuck with a higher BMI over 30?

The recommended BMI is less than 30. This is the recommendation of the American society of plastic surgery. The reason simply, is increased chance of complications. These include but limited to, pulmonary embolus, deep venous thrombosis, delayed wound healing and increase infection rate.

    there are different types of tummy tucks which one is right for me and how are they different from the other? There is a mini tummy tuck, tummy tuck and a vertical abdominoplasty. The appropriate procedure depends the amount and location of the excess skin. That's what your plastic surgeon will have to determine after the actual physical exam.

Choose a board certified plastic surgeon who has done a ton of Tummy Tuck and has privileges to do this surgery at a local university hospital. This says his credentials have been checked out by fellow Drs. All surgeries carry risk, talk to your plastic surgeon and choose one wisely.

Many surgeons, including myself, offer online virtual consultations where you send us your photos and we can estimate the cost. I, like many surgeons, also offer free consultations so that you can be examined and given the most accurate quote possible. Please be mindful that the in person physical exam is the most important and could potentially alter your treatment plan.


Mel T. Ortega, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 912 reviews

Higher BMI tummy tuck

Thanks for bringing up this important questions. Higher BMI patients will have higher risks. The risk of infection and wound healing complications can double with a BMI higher than 30. In most, cases it is safer to lose additional weight and achieve a lower BMI. Some patients may plateau above a BMI of 30 even after weight loss surgery, but they should make an effort to lose as much weight as possible before surgery. 

Best wishes, Dr. ALDO :)

Aldo Guerra, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 202 reviews

Tummy Tuck - Weight Loss First

Thank you for your question and photos.  I believe it is best to be within 10 - 15 pounds of your ideal body weight prior to surgery for optimal results. Please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in body contouring for an in-person examination. Ask to see a lot of before and after pictures of their work to understand what can be achieved. Hope this helps and good luck.

Steven J. Rottman, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 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.