For many years, it was a general rule among plastic surgeons that if a patient had a BMI over 30 or 31, they would not be a good candidate for plus size tummy tuck surgery.
Today, this is all changing. A new term — coined largely by patients themselves — is being used for tummy tucks that are performed on plus size patients.
“Plus size tummy tucks” are becoming increasingly common, and they’re helping non-traditional tummy tuck patients improve their comfort, confidence, and overall health.
Let’s take a look at what the tummy tuck procedure entails and what considerations we make during the evaluation process.
Can Plus Size Patients Get a Tummy Tuck?
Yes. Plus size patients can get plus size tummy tuck. Like all patients, however, they will be evaluated carefully before being able to schedule a surgery.
Call it an overweight obesity or plus size tummy tuck, at the heart of the procedure we’re discussing is the goal of reducing excess skin and extra-abdominal fat. In the case of plus size patients, we’re simply discussing this goal for patients who are over the 20 to 30 pound “ideal weight” range.
Because these patients do not fall within the traditionally accepted weight parameters for tummy tuck candidacy, they must be more carefully evaluated in terms of their health.
Basically, your surgeon will be looking at your general health, your habits (Do you smoke? Do you drink?), and how your body weight is distributed. If they believe it will be possible and safe, most plastic surgeons have no problem scheduling liposuction surgery for plus size patients.
What Is Considered a Plus Size Tummy Tuck?
The term “plus size” is not easy to define because it naturally means different things to different people. When talking about plus size patients in the plastic surgery sense, we’re generally talking about patients who weigh over the 30-pound “ideal” weight range for their age, height, sex, and body type. Again, however, this range can vary depending on multiple factors.
Why Does Weight Matter?
In most situations in life, weight doesn’t matter. But when it comes to surgery, we do need to have some sort of gauge for how to assess patients in terms of their weight. That’s because there is hard evidence supporting the fact that overweight and obese patients often have more complications during and after invasive surgery.
A tummy tuck is an example of an invasive surgery, and especially because it is an elective surgery, it’s important that we don’t put patients at unnecessary risk. We are only taking our patients’ weight into account for their safety and wellbeing.
When Might a Patient Be Turned Away for a Tummy Tuck?
When a patient schedules a consultation for a plus size tummy tuck and they are clinically considered overweight, obese, or plus size, we look at a few different factors to determine their candidacy for surgery. These are not much different from the considerations we make for all patients. We consider their:
Overall Physical Health
Any patient with serious medical issues that may further complicate their wellbeing during surgery or their ability to heal after surgery may not be eligible for a plus size tummy tuck. Patients with poorly controlled diabetes or other ongoing illnesses may not be considered.
Patients who are overweight or obese and who smoke may not be considered as smoking is another risk factor for potential surgical complications.
Weight Loss History
Often, patients have worked hard to lose a considerable amount of weight before coming to see a plastic surgeon. Sometimes, they’ve already lost 50, 100, or even 150 pounds or more. When they meet with us, they are often troubled by excess abdominal skin, which is preventing them from continuing exercising.
When all other factors are accounted for and they are in good general health, we will do our best to accommodate these patients. A plus size tummy tuck may help them remove excess skin so that they can continue on their weight loss journey and get out of their plateau.
All people carry their weight differently. There is no such thing as a “typical” body shape. That’s why we also take fat distribution and overall body shape into consideration when looking at tummy tuck candidacy.
If the majority of a patient’s excess weight is located in their thighs or buttocks, for example, this will be less likely to interfere with tummy tuck surgery or the healing process. If a lot of fat is located in the abdomen, however, this may hinder our ability to perform the tummy tuck procedure safely.
There is also the case of intra-abdominal fat and extra-abdominal fat. Intra-abdominal fat (also known as visceral fat) sits around the organs and cannot be reduced through liposuction. Extra-abdominal fat sits closer to the skin and is what we remove when we perform liposuction. The more intra-abdominal fat a patient has, the less likely it will be that a tummy tuck will be safe.
General Mentality About Surgery
Finally, patients must have reasonable expectations about surgery. For plus size patients, it can certainly be possible to reduce excess skin and remove some excess fat. However, if a patient has a BMI of 39 or 40, for example, it is simply not possible to bring them down to a BMI of 23 or 24.
Unfortunately, some patients may come in with wish pictures of considerably slimmer individuals. If they expect drastic results such as these, they may simply not have the right mindset for surgery at this time.
Schedule Your Tummy Tuck Plus Size Consultation
Overweight and obese patients can often get a new lease on life with help from a plus size tummy tuck. If you are in otherwise good health and have realistic expectations about surgery, make a consultation appointment with our office to see if you are a good candidate for this procedure.
If you are still on your weight loss journey, removing excess skin and tissue can be a huge step forward. It often helps patients get over a “plateau”. They are able to get a well-earned confidence boost so that they can continue exercising and taking care of themselves.