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The Importance of a Healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) Before Tummy Tuck Surgery

tummy-tuckA tummy tuck (medically referred to as abdominoplasty) is one of the most popular and effective ways to recontour the abdomen and provide patients with tighter skin and a more fit look in this area. Many individuals consider this treatment to address the excess skin and loose abdominal musculature that can result from pregnancy or significant weight loss. With this in mind, patients who are still technically overweight in terms of what is considered a healthy weight for their body type should have a good understanding of how their present BMI (Body Mass Index) can have an effect on the rate of surgical risk and the ultimate results of a tummy tuck procedure before they undergo the treatment.

Tummy Tuck Surgery

A tummy tuck is capable of addressing concerns affecting the abdomen in a way that strict diet and rigorous exercise routines simply cannot effectively improve. A protruding abdomen, sagging and inelastic skin, and stretched or lax abdominal muscles can be corrected with a tummy tuck. These effects are common after one or more pregnancies, as well as in those who have lost large amounts of weight. While an abdominoplasty can dramatically improve these types of concerns, it is important to note that it is not designed to be a weight loss treatment. In fact, the best candidates for an abdominoplasty are often those who are already at or near their goal weight and who are not striving to lose large amounts of weight following tummy tuck surgery.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Every individual has what’s known as a Body Mass Index, or “BMI.” The BMI is a way to measure one’s overall fat in relation to their height. This measurement can provide a technical classification as to whether an individual is currently at a healthy weight or whether he or she is underweight, overweight, or obese. For patients considering abdominoplasty, a Body Mass Index evaluation can be an important factor in determining candidacy for the procedure.

How Much Will My BMI Affect My Ability to Undergo Tummy Tuck Surgery?

While a number of issues will be taken into consideration, your BMI may be one of the deciding indicators of whether you are an ideal candidate for tummy tuck surgery. Being mildly overweight doesn’t automatically exclude patients from candidacy; however, a BMI showing excess weight that could affect the overall safety of the procedure or the success of results after treatment may indicate that it is not a good idea to undergo tummy tuck surgery until the weight is brought down.

With this in mind, the question as to whether BMI will conclusively determine candidacy is a difficult one to answer until you are evaluated in consultation by a Specialist Plastic Surgeon such as Dr Craig Layt. Each patient is different and a number of factors unique to the individual will be taken into account. Most reputable Specialist Plastic Surgeons consider a BMI of at least 40 as an indication that the patient is not an ideal candidate for abdominoplasty. Some doctors even consider a BMI of above 30 as too much of a risk for tummy tuck surgery and the anaesthesia requirements for the procedure. Individuals who are in the zone between a 30 and 40 BMI can be evaluated by an experienced plastic surgeon who can look at all of the other factors that determine candidacy and decide whether tummy tuck surgery is a suitable option.

Why Does Body Mass Index Play Such an Important Role in Tummy Tuck Surgery?

The most important reason that one should have a generally healthy BMI before a tummy tuck is that it can reduce risks associated with surgery and the anaesthesia component of the procedure. A person with a higher BMI and individuals who are classified as obese also may have other health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and joint concerns, that could increase the potential for complications during surgery. Additionally, it is generally true that patients who are not at a healthy weight prior to the procedure may be more at risk of aesthetic outcomes that fall below their expectations.

Safety is always the most important goal in performing tummy tuck surgery. Patients who register a BMI of 30 or more are at a much higher risk of complications such as blood clots, abdominal fluid collection, blood loss during surgery, wound separation, infection, post-operative pneumonia, and slow or problematic wound-healing.

What Can I Do if My Body Mass Index Precludes Me from Candidacy for a Tummy Tuck?

Just because you may have a BMI that is presently too high to undergo the surgery doesn’t mean that you will never be eligible for a tummy tuck. If your BMI is what precludes you from candidacy, it can be advantageous to begin a weight loss regimen designed to bring your weight to a level that is safer for the procedure. You can look at plastic surgery as your reward for the hard work that you put into an effective diet and exercise routine along with a healthier lifestyle. Always remember this: the closer you get to a healthier body weight, the better the results of tummy tuck surgery are likely to be.

Will My BMI Be the Deciding Factor?

While the answer to this question is dependent on each patient’s individual evaluation, the BMI results are not necessarily the sole indication as to whether you are a good candidate for abdominoplasty. A patient’s age, expectations for what the procedure can accomplish, overall health, body proportions, muscle mass, and many other factors will be considered. Plus, a BMI result can sometimes be less accurate than other techniques that are capable of measuring a person’s body fat. The absolute best way to determine whether you are a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery is to meet with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon for a comprehensive evaluation. Surgeons like Dr Layt can perform an examination and talk with you about your concerns. Once he has evaluated your unique needs in a consultation, Dr Layt can take all indications into account and give you a clear idea about your options.

If you are considering abdominoplasty and would like to find out if you are a candidate for this procedure, please don’t hesitate to contact The Layt Clinic.