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Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) After Extreme Weight Loss

Dr Hanikeri offers a range of surgical procedures for the breasts, body and face.

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Many people may want to get an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen after extreme weight loss.

The procedure also includes the tightening of the abdominal muscles. The overall aim of the tummy tuck procedure is to provide a better aesthetic, gain a flatter more toned looking tummy and remove any excess skin.

But how close should a patient be to their goal weight for tummy tuck surgery?

Ideal weight before having an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)

It is important for a patient to get as close as possible to their ideal weight before tummy tuck surgery as this will help achieve not only better results but also safer results.

The ideal weight for having a tummy tuck is a BMI of less than 30, but what does this mean?  The BMI is a measure of a person’s height compared to their weight (weight in kg)/(Height in metres)2.  It is a crude measure of obesity as it is influenced also by factors such as muscle mass.

BMI ranges are:

  • Underweight – below 18.5
  • Health weight – 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight range – 25 to 29.9
  • Obese range – 30 and up

Patients undergoing the tummy tuck procedure should generally have their BMI below 30 AND should be at or close to their ideal or goal weight for best results. It is not recommended that patients with a BMI of over 30 should undergo a tummy tuck procedure since the risks of healing problems are much higher. Furthermore, the results are often not as good and the risk of relapse of weight gain is higher in these individuals.

Risks of having an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) in obese patients

A high BMI not only can impact the final results of a tummy tuck procedure, but it also puts the patient at risk.  Being in good health will help with the recovery process as the patient’s immune system will be stronger. When someone is at a heavier weight, the immune system is weaker, which means recovery is slower and can cause wound breakdown, greater risk of infection, poor healing, scars and the increased possibility for revision surgery.  Anaesthetic risks are also higher in these patients

Factors To Consider Before An Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)

There are many factors that should be considered when planning for a tummy tuck.

These include:

  • Being close to the ideal weight for the patient as possible – within 5kg
  • Maintaining a stable weight for 6 months prior to surgery
  • Healthy lifestyle choices both pre and post-surgery
  • Medically healthy (no significant medical conditions)
  • No Smoking while planning for surgery (At least 6 weeks before) or post-surgery (smoking restricts oxygen flow, increases chances of infection and wound breakdown)
  • No planned future pregnancies (pregnancy and weight gain can weaken and separate the abdominal muscles and change contour)
  • Realistic expectations (tummy tuck is not weight-loss surgery.  It aims to contour the abdomen after weight loss or pregnancy)

How much weight can a patient lose from an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)? (It is not a weight loss procedure)

The weight loss from a tummy tuck procedure varies depending on how much excess skin and fat the patient has which needs to be removed. Generally, in massive weight loss patients, it will be a few kilograms.

The aim of the tummy tuck procedure is not to lose weight but to contour the abdomen.

Quick tips to lose weight before an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) procedure

  • Avoid crash diets and cutting out entire food groups – instead plan healthier meals and cut down snacks to smaller portions.
  • Stay motivated towards a healthier lifestyle.
  • Reduce sugars – sugar is the first thing to cut down on. Sugar lowers the immune system, increases insulin resistance and is one of the leading causes of obesity.
  • Avoid meal skipping – this causes the body to save energy and slows down metabolism. Instead, have a healthy snack every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Get enough sleep – getting the right amount of sleep helps regulate digestion and metabolism. Less sleep is a cause of weight gain, exhaustion and emotional eating.
  • Eat dinner early – sleeping with a stomach full of undigested food makes the body store more fats.
  • Smaller food portions – eating a smaller amount of food will allow your body to feel fuller earlier, especially if you eat slowly.
  • Avoid overly salty foods – salty foods can cause water retention, leading to high blood pressure and swollen limbs. High blood pressure can make exercise difficult.
  • Drink plenty of water – it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day and drink enough water. Make sure to choose water over other unhealthy options.
  • Eat fibre – fibre rich foods such as grains, avocados, berries and coconuts help people to feel fuller for longer and more satisfied throughout the day.
  • Exercise – staying active is a great way to increase body strength and health. Following health advice from a doctor, nutritionist or personal trainer is a great option to exercise safely and avoid injuries. Another great option is swimming and water aerobics as it is low impact with benefits for cardio-respiratory function.

Have any more questions regarding the tummy tuck procedure and how to prepare for it?

Get in touch with Dr Mark Hanikeri and his team online or call on (08) 9380 0311.