Many people want better body contours. This can look different for every patient we see. Some want to build an hourglass figure by enlarging their breasts. Some want to slim their thighs or their midsection. When it comes to the abdominal area, tummy tuck surgery and liposuction are the two leading procedures known to achieve outstanding results. A tummy tuck is a procedure in which contours are refined by the tightening of the abdominal muscles, connective tissue, and the skin. Liposuction, on the other hand, is a fat-reduction procedure. It should come as no surprise to hear that the vast majority of people who seek abdominoplasty are slightly overweight. Still, there is a limit to how far away one can be from their ideal weight and still be a good candidate for this surgery. Even if liposuction were to be performed as an ancillary contouring technique, some patients are advised by their surgeon to lose weight before they can be considered for a tummy tuck. We understand that this can feel deflating, so we want to discuss the matter here.
Does Weight Really Affect Tummy Tuck Surgery?
Your weight does affect your candidacy for a tummy tuck, but what your doctor really measures is your BMI. This is your body mass index. It indicates your weight in relation to your height. So, for a person who is 5 feet 10 inches, a weight of 150 is well within a healthy BMI range. A weight of 150 for a person standing 5 feet 2 inches would be within a BMI considered overweight. However, even in this scenario, the body mass index would be right around 28, which would still be within range to have a tummy tuck, provided that other criteria are met. Where we come up against concerns is when body mass index measures higher than 30. At that point, we not only face greater surgical risks but also more significant risks of post-operative complications. For these reasons and more, doctors usually recommend that patients lose enough weight to reach a BMI of 30 or lower and also maintain that BMI for at least six months before having surgery.
Why Weight Matters
There are a few reasons why it is beneficial to have abdominoplasty after reaching a goal weight, which should be within a healthy BMI range. Both are equally important but one tends to have a little more pull with the patient. If you have a tummy tuck and then you decide to lose more weight to feel even better about your appearance (this is not uncommon), your weight loss could result in a puckered appearance in the abdominal area. This can happen because the fatty tissue under the skin provides some amount of volume and, with fat loss can come deflation. Your surgeon is also very likely concerned about your final cosmetic outcome because they are in the business of helping patients look and feel more beautiful inside and out. Furthermore, the surgeon must consider the ways in which a higher BMI affects the body as a whole. The physical systems of the body all play a role in healing after surgery and BMI affects them all. The higher your BMI, the more taxed your immune system is and, as a result, the higher your risk of infection and post-surgical complications. In this regard, the recommendation to lose weight before a tummy tuck is made to enable the body to heal optimally and provide you with the longest-lasting results.
Abdominoplasty is a leading plastic surgery procedure that offers the reward of significantly better body contours. To learn more about the procedure and what it can do for you, contact our Cincinnati office for a consultation. 513.985.0850.