Should I Lose Weight Before a Tummy Tuck?

Among the most common questions we get from our tummy tuck candidates are whether they need to shed pounds before having the procedure and, if so, how much they need to lose. There’s no single answer to either question. It all depends on you – how much extra fat you have on your body and your experience in maintaining a stable weight with healthy eating and exercise habits.

Here, we’ll explain what a tummy tuck can and can’t do and how your weight can affect your long-term results.

What Is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is one of the most transformative procedures we offer, correcting a bulging, saggy belly to restore a toned profile and a younger look. Dr. Mark Crispin makes these improvements by removing excess skin and fat from the midsection and reconnecting and tightening abdominal muscles that have separated and weakened. As part of a tummy tuck, Dr. Crispin may also use liposuction in nearby areas (such as the flanks) to sculpt the area (liposuction of the abdomen cannot be done at the same time as a tummy tuck).

What Is the Ideal Weight for a Tummy Tuck?

The ideal weight for a tummy tuck is within 10 to 15 pounds of your target. That’s not necessarily a number from a medical chart. It’s the weight you can comfortably maintain with a consistent fitness and nutrition regimen. “Comfortably maintain” are the key words in that sentence. You should be at a stable weight for at least six months before you have your tummy tuck and have the confidence that you can keep your weight in that range indefinitely.

Crash dieting is not the way to prepare for a tummy tuck. Chances are, you’ll immediately regain the weight and lose the positive effects of your surgery.

Being overweight is also a problem when considering a tummy tuck. Too much fat can increase the risks associated with the surgery, and if you lose weight after your tummy tuck, you can end up with the saggy skin a tummy tuck was supposed to correct.

How Many Sizes Do You Drop With a Tummy Tuck?

On average, our patients go down two or three pant sizes after a tummy tuck. That change comes from removing some excess fat from the abdomen and waist and restoring your core muscles’ strength and tightness.

What Disqualifies You From Getting a Tummy Tuck?

Some health and lifestyle factors increase the risks of tummy tuck surgery and will usually disqualify you as a candidate. These include:

  • Smoking (unless you quit several weeks before your procedure and remain nicotine-free afterward)
  • Being more than moderately overweight
  • Inability to maintain a stable weight
  • Specific health conditions that can interfere with healing

What Happens if You Lose Weight After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Losing a little weight after a tummy tuck is excellent. Many abdominoplasty patients lose a few pounds when they resume their exercise routine after the surgery. They feel better about their bodies and are newly motivated to step up their activities. That health improvement will makes your tummy tuck results look even better.

If you go into a tummy tuck carrying 20 or 30 extra pounds and lose them after the surgery, the tight, smooth abdominal skin you got with the surgery can sag and wrinkle. You will have wasted time and money to get a result that leaves you disappointed.

What Happens if You Gain Weight After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Gaining a modest amount of weight isn’t a problem after a tummy tuck. Your skin, muscles, and connective tissue have the resilience to expand and contract to some extent.

Unfortunately, if your weight gain pushes beyond that healthy range, you’ll start seeing the unwelcome changes that caused you to seek a tummy tuck in the first place. Your skin can stretch beyond its ability to bounce back, so it will droop and pouch when you next lose weight. Your abdominal muscles can also stretch and separate again.

For the best long-term results, stick with the eating and exercise habits that helped you maintain a stable, healthy weight before your surgery.

Will I Look Thinner After a Tummy Tuck?

Yes. You will look noticeably thinner after a tummy tuck. Viewed from the side, your abdomen will be significantly flatter, with a toned profile. Your belly bulge will be gone. Viewed from the front or back, your waistline will look thinner and healthier. These positive changes come from strategically removing a moderate amount of fat from your abdomen and waist, and from tightening and strengthening your abdominal muscles.

Do You Eat Less After a Tummy Tuck?

Some patients experience a temporary reduction in appetite after a tummy tuck, which can last for a few months. But this doesn’t affect everyone, and it doesn’t last long when it occurs. Just as a tummy tuck is not a weight loss surgery, this possible (and temporary) appetite loss should not be a reason to consider a tummy tuck.

Embrace a New You With a Tummy Tuck in Atlanta

So, should you lose weight before a tummy tuck? It depends on your weight now and what you can maintain with healthy eating and exercise habits. Think of a tummy tuck as your reward for reaching a healthy and stable weight — a way to put the finishing touches on a personal transformation. For over 25 years, Mark Crispin, MD, has been the top choice for plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures in the Atlanta area. Contact Crispin Plastic Surgery online or by calling (404) 257-0064 to schedule your private tummy tuck consultation with Dr. Crispin. He will ask questions to understand your goals, examine you, and recommend the best and safest approach.