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Am I a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?

Patients often come to Dr. Liland’s office inquiring about a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty procedure, that sculpts and shapes the appearance of the stomach by removing excess skin from the middle and lower abdomen and tightening the muscles within the abdominal wall.

Are you a good candidate for a tummy tuck?

A common misconception is that a tummy tuck is a solution to weight loss. Tummy tucks may remove a small percentage of fat while removing loose skin, but they cannot remove enough fat to be your initial method of losing weight. A tummy tuck is most effective when performed after your weight loss journey to tighten up and sculpt your abdomen and highlight the results of the body you worked so hard to achieve. With this in mind, if you are still interested in getting a tummy tuck, ask yourself the following before scheduling your consultation with Dr. Liland or your local board-certified plastic surgeon:

Do you have loose skin around your abdomen?

Tummy tucks remove loose skin from your abdomen, not excess fat. If your goal is to get rid of unwanted fat, you may want to look into liposuction to fulfil your dream body rather than a tummy tuck.

Are you able to maintain a healthy lifestyle to maximize results long-term?

To maintain your tummy tuck results, stay within 10 to 30 pounds of the weight you were at before surgery. Before undergoing a tummy tuck, make sure you are at a weight that you find comfortable. A weight in which you don’t see a risk of gaining or losing too much post-surgery.

Did you have a baby or lose a substantial amount of weight?

Losing fat after pregnancy and obesity are the most common causes of loose skin in the abdominal area. If you have carried a child or lost a significant amount of weight, a tummy tuck is a perfect procedure to help remove the excess skin left behind after shedding fat. A tummy tuck can help you bounce back to your pre-pregnancy body or to top off your weight loss journey and maximize results.

Are you done having children?

Once you have a tummy tuck, you’ll want to try your best to maintain results by avoiding substantial weight gain. As pregnancy can cause dramatic skin stretching and weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area, it is best to wait until after you have finished having children to get a tummy tuck if you want to avoid the need for revision surgery.

If you brought any of your children into this world through a Cesarean delivery, you might be concerned about having more scars on your stomach. Board-certified plastic surgeons like Dr. Liland blend the new tummy tuck scars with the previous C-section ones. There is no need to worry about having two large scars on your lower stomach following a tummy tuck.

Do you struggle with back pain?

Back pain can be caused by carrying the weight of loose skin on your stomach area. If you suffer from back pain regularly, you may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck or breast reduction surgery, both of which are popular procedures for mommy makeover patients. According to ASPS, many tummy tuck patients have reported that back pain continued to improve from six weeks to six months post-surgery.

Do you struggle with urinary incontinence?

You may be experiencing an inability to control urination or an overactive bladder due to aging, childbirth, or both. The tummy tuck does not necessarily target the bladder region, but it can strengthen your bladder as it defines the muscles surrounding the pelvic floor. The tummy tuck may correct or improve symptoms of urinary incontinence by strengthening and stabilizing abdominal and pelvic muscles.

Do you struggle with bad posture?

Over the last few years of everything being virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic, many people have been glued to their desks working from home every day, which has taken a toll on their posture. Due to the reduced physical activity while working from home, many have experienced weight gain. Some have taken their diet and fitness routines seriously to lose the pandemic weight, which is great but can leave behind excess skin. In some cases, loose skin in the stomach can be so heavy and cause so much back pain that it leads to bad posture. The tummy tuck can improve posture as it tightens the core abdominal muscles that help support the back and spine.

Have you been unable to enjoy activities you once loved?

If you have too much excess skin on your stomach, it may be difficult to enjoy activities that used to play a huge role in your life, such as lifting weights, running, or being active with your children and/or pets. As the tummy tuck sculpts your abdomen, you are likely to be able to revert to enjoying these activities once again following the procedure. However, do not attempt to rush into any strenuous physical activity until at least four weeks post-surgery to avoid complications with recovery and results.

Are you looking to improve muscle tone?

The tummy tuck not only removes excess skin in the stomach it also targets your abdominal muscles and creates more definition. If you have too much excess skin in your stomach, it may seem impossible to achieve muscle definition across the abdomen through diet and exercise. A tummy tuck may be the only option to reveal abdominal muscles. Along with improving the tone and strength of the abdominal muscles, tummy tucks may also restore flexibility and a weakened core.

Do you have ventral hernias?

Ventral hernias form when tissue breaks through your abdominal wall and creates a hole. These develop a pouch in the middle of your abdomen. According to ASPS, ventral hernias can be caused by drastic weight loss, appendectomies, or C-sections. Tummy tucks target weakened abdominal muscles, so they may improve ventral hernias.

Have you set realistic expectations for the results?

Although tummy tuck results can be life-changing and increase confidence by a landslide, it is essential to note that it is not a weight loss procedure. It is a great post-weight loss procedure to remove the excess skin left behind after losing fat through a healthy diet and exercise. If you want a procedure to help with fat loss when diet and exercise do not seem to help you reach your goals, you may be a better candidate for liposuction. Tummy tucks remove some fat while removing skin to sculpt the abdominal wall, but it is not enough to be the main component of your weight loss journey.

Are you prepared for the recovery period?

A tummy tuck has a significant amount of downtime, and it’s important to be prepared both in your work and personal life to take time to rest. If you have major work projects, wait until they are completed before having a tummy tuck. If you have young children at home, find someone to help you care for them while you rest and recover.

Is a tummy tuck right for you?

If your main goal is to lose excess skin from your abdomen, you should consider getting a tummy tuck. It is a popular and effective procedure for maximizing goals following pregnancy or extreme weight loss. If you relate to a few, or maybe even all of the points covered in this article, you are most likely a fabulous candidate for a tummy tuck. Talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon such as Dr. Liland to see if you are a good candidate for a tummy tuck in terms of overall health and other personal goals.

Who isn’t a suitable candidate for a tummy tuck?

There are cases in which patients may be better candidates for other cosmetic procedures or possibly are not in good enough overall health to undergo surgery. Here are the characteristics of someone who isn’t an ideal tummy tuck patient:

  • You want the procedure as a weight loss solution
  • You smoke (smoking puts you at a higher risk of blood clots, pneumonia, and heart attacks during recovery)
  • You plan to have children in the future
  • You aren’t at a comfortable weight to maintain and may gain or lose weight
  • You aren’t being realistic about the results and the lifestyle changes needed to maintain them
  • You don’t have loose skin in the abdomen
  • You have important events coming up that would disrupt the recovery period

Characteristics of a suitable tummy tuck patient

Tummy tucks can be a life-changing procedure to achieve your goal of removing loose skin in your stomach and highlighting your body’s contour. To summarize, here are the characteristics of a good tummy tuck candidate:

  • You have loose skin around your abdomen
  • You’re willing to adapt to a healthy lifestyle to maximize results
  • You recently gave birth and/or lost a significant amount of weight
  • You’ve developed bad posture and back pain from weight fluctuations
  • You have finished having children
  • You are not smoking and don’t plan to in the future
  • You’re at a weight that you feel comfortable maintaining
  • You have realistic expectations of the results
  • You are prepared for a lengthy recovery period