The Best BMI and Ideal Weight for Abdominoplasty

The Best BMI and Ideal Weight for Tummy Tuck

am i too fat for a tummy tuck

An abdominoplasty is a procedure that flattens your waist by eliminating extra fat and skin while also tightening the muscles in your tummy. This surgical procedure is also known as a tummy tuck. Being at an ideal weight for abdominoplasty is important to maximise the surgical outcome and reduce surgical risks.

Being overweight can negatively impact your self-esteem and confidence, which can inhibit you from participating in social gatherings. In spite of following strict diets and performing heavy exercises, losing excess skin can be a herculean task. While you may have good muscle mass, the excess fat and skin surrounding the muscle underneath may result in unappealing body contour. Abdominoplasty surgery helps to recontour the body and improve your body aesthetics.

If you’ve previously had children, you may have stretch marks due to skin and muscle stretching. While there are many topical treatments, skin tightening tools and scar removal creams available, most of them are minimally effective. Abdominoplasty can be a good option for you if you are seeking to tighten your loose belly or treat diastasis recti after pregnancy.

Plastic surgeons highly recommend that their patients be near to a certain Body Mass Index (BMI) prior to Abdominoplasty surgery. Read on further to know why.

Benefits of Having an Ideal BMI Prior to Abdominoplasty

Some amazing benefits of this surgery if you undergo tummy tuck while you are in the ideal weight range include:

  • Faster recovery because obesity impedes wound healing
  • Low surgical complications
  • Less postoperative pain and infection
  • Maintained body contour long after the surgery
  • Sustained achievement of targeted goals long after the surgery

BMI alone is not enough to evaluate if you’re a good candidate for a tummy tuck. Since BMI does not take into account muscle mass, body proportions, age, and sex, it is sometimes not accurate for measuring body fat.

What BMI Should I Be For A Tummy Tuck?

Although BMI below 30 is considered ideal for a tummy tuck, you can have a tummy tuck with good results even if you are overweight. One thing that you should keep in your mind is the closer you are to your BMI, the better the final result you can get.

Most surgeons would not perform tummy tuck if your BMI is greater than 40. However, some surgeons do not operate even if your BMI is greater than 30 due to surgical and anaesthesia risk. If your BMI is between 30 and 40, it’s important to consult your surgeon to determine your suitability for surgery because multiple factors are considered before determining the suitability for surgery.

If you lose additional weight after surgery, then your abdominal skin will again become saggy and you will have to undergo tummy tuck again. So, it will be better if you first lose weight as much as possible, then consider undergoing tummy tuck surgery.

BMI Calculation

operation diet bmi chart

BMI means body mass index. BMI gives a rough idea of whether your weight is in accordance with your height or not. It is calculated by the following formula:

Weight in kg divided by square of height in meters.

For e.g., a weight of 100 kilos divided by height squared (1.50m x 1.50m) = BMI of 44.44.

What Is A Healthy BMI Range?

For most healthy adults, a BMI of 20-25 is considered normal (according to the national health and medical research council) while ideal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. If you have a BMI between 25 and 29.9, then you’re classified as overweight, and obese if your BMI is greater than 30.

Obesity is further classified into three classes based on BMI values. BMI between 30 and 34.9 is called class I obesity, BMI between 35 and 39.9 is class II obesity and BMI between 40 and 45 is called class III obesity.

Surgeons generally refuse to operate if BMI is greater than 40.  A BMI of less than 30 is ideal for a tummy tuck procedure. A research study done by Ghnnam et al. investigating the effect of body mass index on abdominoplasty operations found that increased BMI is associated with increased risk of complications and poor outcome of tummy tuck operation.

On the contrary, another research conducted by Glickman et al concluded that there was no difference in the rate of complications in obese patients vs non-obese patients. Dr Glickman further emphasizes that BMI alone should not be used as a criterion to evaluate suitability for a tummy tuck, instead plastic surgeons should evaluate each case separately. Thus, we can see that this is a controversial topic. Certainly, BMI is not the only parameter used to gauge the suitability for surgery. There are other factors that should also be considered, so, always consult your surgeon and get evaluated.

Why is BMI so Important For Abdominoplasty Results?

Attaining a healthy weight before undergoing abdominoplasty surgery will enhance your abdominoplasty results. More importantly, achieving a healthy BMI will minimise the risks associated with both the anaesthesia and the procedure itself.

In fact, patients with a BMI over 30 are at greater risk during any surgery, not just cosmetic procedures. Besides, obese clients often have other health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems, which are further drawbacks for surgery.

What BMI Should I Be For An Abdominoplasty?

BMI of less than 30 is considered the best range for an abdominoplasty because of the lower risk of complications. A BMI of 30-35 maximum is considered for the surgery of abdominoplasty. As BMI rises, the incidence of complications increases.

Are You Worried That You May be Too Overweight For a Tummy Tuck Surgery?

If you have been told by your doctor that you are too overweight for the operation. This may be medically and technically correct but you should take this in a positive light. You should set a goal regarding your target weight loss within a specified time frame.

BMI is not an accurate gauge to decide whether you are suitable for tummy tuck surgery. This is because apart from BMI, a surgeon also needs to consider other factors like body fat distribution, age, sex ethnicity, body proportions, and muscle mass. Therefore, it is best to consult and take the advice of your surgeon. Your surgeon will do all necessary physical exams and investigations to evaluate whether you are suitable for a tummy tuck.

The Ideal Weight For An Abdominoplasty

The ideal weight for abdominoplasty is when you are around 5-7kg from your goal weight. This is important as gaining or losing additional weight can undo the contour achieved through your surgery.

The exact weight can vary based on your height, age and gender, but most plastic surgeons rely on you to be close to your target goal weight as the ideal weight you should be prior to Abdominoplasty.

Tips to Lose Weight Before Abdominoplasty Surgery

 Tips for losing some weight prior to surgery include:

  • Drink sufficient water – at least 10 to 15 large glasses a day.
  • Maintain track of what you eat, with a food intake diary. Eating healthily every 4 to 5 hours while awake.
  • Prevent all alcohol and packaged commodities, as these often contain high calories and excess sugar.
  • Exercise regularly but add in more cardiovascular and muscle-building activities.
  • Limit carbohydrates and focus on lean proteins.
  • Consume more vegetables and fruits rather than carbohydrates
  • Use olive oil and balsamic vinegar, for taste – but avoiding margarine and fried foods
  • Weigh yourself every 10 days so you can keep track.

For more tips, read our blog How to Lose Weight Before Surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions on Abdominoplasty Surgerycan i get a tummy tuck if im overweight?

Can you get an abdominoplasty if you are overweight?

There is no absolute weight limit for an abdominoplasty. If you are overweight but not considered obese, you may still qualify for abdominoplasty surgery. However, you will see optimal results if you are already close to your ideal weight.

How many sizes do you lose with an abdominoplasty?

Most women go down a size or two after an abdominoplasty.
It relies on the bodyweight you began with and how your body changes after the procedure. If you had a lot of loose skin before the procedure then you may go down more than 3 sizes.

What is the best BMI for Abdominoplasty?

Plastic Surgeons advise that clients with a BMI of 40 or above are not acceptable for an abdominoplasty. In fact, some surgeons will not operate on patients with a BMI above 30, due to elevated surgical and anaesthesia risks.

If clients have a BMI between 30 and 40,  multiple tests will be conducted to check whether you are a suitable candidate.

Do I need to lose weight before excess skin removal surgery?

You must be near to your desired weight for six to twelve months before surgery. Most surgeons recommend their clients to be between 5-7 kilograms from their target weight.

Am I too overweight for an abdominoplasty?

If you are heavy or in the obesity BMI range of 40 or above, then you’re less likely to be a suitable candidate for surgery.

How much skin and fat is reduced in an abdominoplasty?

There are normally no limits to how much skin or fat is reduced in an abdominoplasty, unlike other liposuction in which safe quantity limits have been described. Enough tissue must be left behind to enable a safe closure with a promising cosmetic result.

Full abdominoplasty helps clients lose clothing sizes and inches in their midsection, but weight loss is usually not more than a 2kgs. The average woman can expect to lose two to three dress sizes after an abdominoplasty, while men can expect to drop several pant sizes.

How much weight is reduced in an abdominoplasty?

If you are seeking abdominoplasty to restore your stomach contour after an injury, pregnancy, natural weight loss, or aging, you will probably only lose 1-2kg of excess skin after the procedure. Some people lose 14kg or more from their abdominoplasty, while some don’t notice a significant weight loss.

Will an abdominoplasty make my waist smaller?

Yes, an abdominoplasty can make your waist smaller. Full abdominoplasty helps patients lose clothing sizes and inches in their midsection but weight loss is usually not significant.

What does your stomach look like after an abdominoplasty?

The results are usually evident immediately but can be obscured by swelling and bruising in the immediate postoperative period.

Will there be scars after abdominoplasty?

Your abdominoplasty scar will be present below the bikini line, which will originally be a smooth, pale pink, linear incision. During the maturation process, which lasts approximately 1 year, the scar will change in colour and appearance. At approximately 2-3 months after surgery, the scar may become reddened and slightly raised due to collagen formation in the scar. You can easily manage the appearance of these scars with various topical and non-surgical treatments.

My plastic surgeon denied me a tummy tuck. What should I do?

If your plastic surgeon denied you a tummy tuck, then do not get discouraged, instead, take it as a motivation to lose weight. Your surgeon will always do what is best for you.

Medical References

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About Dr Mark Doyle FRACS (Plast) – Queensland Plastic Surgeon

Servicing patients in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and New South Wales NSW – Northern Rivers, Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and more.

Dr Mark Doyle is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with over thirty years of experience performing BreastBodyFace and Nose surgery. As a highly esteemed plastic surgeon, Dr Mark is driven by an intense passion for helping patients achieve a happier, more beautiful self through advanced cosmetic surgery procedures.

He maintains a strong commitment to achieving the best possible results for all his breast, body, face and nose patients, both men and women.