A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is the plastic surgery procedure which tightens, contours and rejuvenates the abdomen by removing excess and lax skin and repairing the stretched underling muscle layer and abdominal wall. Despite what many overweight patients hope for, it is NOT a weight loss procedure though you may lose some pounds depending on how heavy the removed skin with its associated fat is. Furthermore, it will not make you thin and well sculpted if you are significantly overweight.
Simply stated, the results from a tummy tuck will be less than ideal if you are considerably overweight.
In addition, you can be at a substantial increased risks for issues like wound healing, infections and developing blood clots in the leg (DVT) or even having those travel to your lung resulting in a pulmonary embolus which is quite severe and sometimes even life threatening.
A few questions that you may have concerning undergoing a tummy tuck despite being overweight are:
- Does that mean that if I’m are considerably overweight I should not have a tummy tuck or if I do, the results will not be sub-optimal?
- What do you mean by overweight? Thirty pounds over my recommended weight? Fifty pounds? Ninety pounds?
In general, there are not necessarily strict, fixed answers for these weight questions as several factors will play a role in making that determination which has to be individualized. HOWEVER, it is generally accepted by reputable plastic surgeons that if one’s body mass index (BMI) is 40 or above, a level that stratifies one as morbidly obese, you should not undergo a tummy tuck. (BMI is the relationship of one’s height to one’s weight. You can be look up your number online by searching for BMI chart.) Because of elevated surgical and anesthesia risks, some plastic surgeons won’t even operative on someone whose BMI is above 30.
For those individuals with a BMI between 30 but under 40, this can be a gray zone where multiple factors should be considered when determining whether one is a present and acceptable candidate for a tummy tuck. This decision can be made during a comprehensive consultation with a reputable board certified plastic surgeon.
It is indisputable, however, that the closer one is to one’s ideal body weight range, the more striking and positive the results can be, with everything else being equal. In reality, the majority of patients considering a tummy tuck will never be able to get back to their ideal weight but that does not mean that they shouldn’t have this procedure or that they won’t get great results. On the contrary, you can still get great results even if you are above your ideal weight.
For my patients considering undergoing a tummy tuck who are substantially above their ideal weight but are still candidates for surgery, I strongly recommend that they try to lose as much of this excess weight as possible prior to proceeding. With much less of the bulky fat, contouring and tightening of the tissues during surgery can be more extensive yielding even more dramatic results.
Individuals who are not presently candidates for a tummy tuck because of their excess weight are strongly recommended to seek out weight loss regimens along with exercising. Some may even benefit from surgical weight loss procedures. If they are sincerely motivated, many can successfully lose more than enough weight to make them good candidates for surgery.
If you would like to schedule your complimentary consultation for a tummy tuck, please call our office at (480) 451-3000.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona