Most patients who come to see Dr. Paul Pin about undergoing a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) procedure have already lost a substantial amount of weight, either following one or more pregnancies or after bariatric surgery to dramatically restrict caloric intake. One of the most common questions that prospective patients ask Dr. Pin is whether or not they should continue to lose weight once they have decided to undergo a tummy tuck procedure.
While it is true that weight loss is why patients consider a tummy tuck procedure in the first place, there must also be a balancing point at which the weight has stabilized. Read further as Dr. Pin explains why it is important to lose weight prior to your tummy tuck procedure, but also to make sure that your weight has mostly stabilized before undergoing surgery.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
A tummy tuck is designed to remove excess abdominal skin and tissue following significant weight loss. In some cases, Dr. Pin will also tighten up the abdominal muscles if they have become too relaxed.
To perform this type of surgery, Dr. Pin will start with a horizontal incision that follows your panty line, going from one hip across to the other. He will then lift up the skin and underlying tissue, reposition it to better conform to the new contour of your body, remove any excess, and then suture the remainder back in place. More incisions may be needed to address the upper abdominal region.
Will You Lose Weight from a Tummy Tuck Surgical Procedure?
While it is true that a tummy tuck procedure may help you lose a certain amount of weight, it is really just the weight of the excess skin and tissue that is removed. In most cases, this may only be a few pounds.
A tummy tuck procedure is not meant to be a quick fix for losing weight. This is why Dr. Pin recommends following a regimen of regular exercise and a balanced, low-fat diet in order to lose weight prior to your procedure.
Counting Down to Your Tummy Tuck
Dr. Pin recommends that you stabilize your weight about 10 to 15 pounds from your final goal weight prior to your surgery. It is best to maintain this weight for a minimum of six months prior to your actual procedure date.
Part of the reason for stabilizing your weight is to avoid any changes to the new contour of your abdominal region from sudden changes in weight, as they will be much more apparent after your tummy tuck. For example, if you continue to lose weight, you may end up with even more excess skin and tissue. On the other hand, gaining back more than 10 to 15 pounds may risk stretching your skin back out again and undoing the results from your tummy tuck procedure.
Overall, the answer to whether or not you should lose weight before your tummy tuck procedure is that you should do so until you are close to your final goal weight. Once you are within reasonable sight of that goal, you should then work at stabilizing your weight for several months prior to your surgery.