Tummy tuck surgery, called abdominoplasty, is a very common plastic surgery procedure. It is an excellent treatment choice for people whose midsection has lost a great deal of its tone and firmness. The procedure is not intended to remove stubborn fatty tissue but to restore the natural curvature of the abdomen by tightening loose muscle and skin. When there is a moderate amount of excess fat, it may be possible to combine the tummy tuck with liposuction to get even better cosmetic results. Still, you may have heard that, to be a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery, you should be at your ideal weight. Here, we discuss just what that means and why surgeons do not recommend abdominoplasty for overweight patients.
Why Weight Loss May Be Ideal Before Abdominoplasty
It is widely recommended that, before undergoing body-contouring procedures like abdominoplasty, patients reach the weight that is most healthy and aesthetically pleasing for their frame. It is about more than weight, as a whole, though. What doctors typically look at is a patient’s BMI, body mass index. Those whose BMI is higher than 30 may not be ready for abdominoplasty just yet. A person’s BMI indicates their ideal weight in comparison to their height. Generally, BMI of 18.5–24.9 is considered normal. BMI over 30 is considered heavily overweight or obese.
So Who’s a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?
Most people who seek abdominoplasty are at least slightly above their ideal weight based on the BMI index. So how can a surgeon make the determination? On a case to case basis. Some of the criteria that a surgeon uses include:
- The patient is generally healthy with no underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of complications
- The patient is within about 25 pounds of their ideal weight based on their height
- They live a generally healthy, active lifestyle
- There are no plans for future pregnancies
- The patient does not smoke
- Realistic expectations have been set for the anticipated surgical outcome (abdominoplasty won’t transform a size 14 into a size 6)
What are the Risks of Having Tummy Tuck Surgery when Overweight?
It can be very deflating to hear a plastic surgeon advise you to lose more weight before having a tummy tuck. However, it may help to keep in mind that the doctor has your health and safety in mind. There are a few reasons abdominoplasty is better for patients with lower BMI. Being in a healthy weight range supports optimal surgical recovery. A higher BMI tends to equate to a weaker immune system, which diminishes the prognosis for surgical recovery. Higher BMI patients are at a greater risk of swelling, bruising, and infection after surgery.
Dr. Jason Leedy is a board-certified plastic surgeon who is proud to serve patients from Cleveland and surrounding areas. To schedule your consultation for tummy tuck surgery, contact us at 440-459-0007.