Ideal Weight for Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty is a procedure that flattens your waist by eliminating extra fat and skin while also tightening the muscles in your tummy. Losing weight for surgery and being at an ideal weight for tummy tuck 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 experienced pregnancy or huge weight loss before, you may have stretch marks due to skin and muscle stretching. Many topical treatments, skin tightening tools and scar removal creams are available in the market but not really effective. Tummy Tuck after weight loss 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 their patients to be near ideal weight or Body Mass Index (BMI) prior to the surgery.

am i too fat for a tummy tuck
  • Ideal weight helps 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

Consider that BMI 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 Is Good for Tummy Tuck?

BMI below 30 considered as an ideal BMI for tummy tuck, but you can have a tummy tuck with good results even if you are overweight. BMI 35 is the maximum acceptable BMI for tummy tuck. 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.

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.

Why BMI Is Important for Surgery?

Lose weight for surgery and attaining a healthy weight before undergoing plastic surgery will enhance your surgery results. More importantly, achieving a recommended 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 Is the Ideal Weight for Tummy Tuck?

The ideal weight for tummy tuck is when you are around 5-7kg from your goal weight. This is important as weight loss after tummy tuck or gaining 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 tummy tuck.

What Is BMI and How It Affects Surgery Results?

operation diet bmi chart

A Body Mass Index or BMI is a value to classify and categorize whether a person lies within a healthy body weight or in layman’s terms. BMI is a value to characterize a person as underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese based on tissue mass and height. The BMI compares your body weight² (kg) over your height² (m²) to gain a value that gives us a general estimate of your health. However, this is not an absolute depiction of your current health status as it doesn’t take your gender, age, existing health conditions, or body definitions into consideration.

General BMI ranges are as below:

  • Underweight – BMI below 18
  • Healthy Weight – Between18 and 25
  • Overweight – Between 25 and 30
  • Obese – Between 30 and 35
  • Severely Obese – Between 35 and 40
  • Morbidly Obese – Over 40

As your BMI will determine the results from the surgery that includes how long your surgery results will persist and how aesthetically pleasing they look. The maximum allowed BMI for plastic surgery is 40, Dr prefers BMI closer to 30.

Risks of Having Surgery with Overweight BMI

Anesthetics are medications that put patients to sleep during the surgery. During the administration of anesthetics, obesity can cause patients the following common problems;

Figuring out the correct dosage of anesthetics required.
Locating the vein used to administer anaesthetics and other emergency medications intravenously.
The presence of excess fatty tissue can further hinder with the administration of the medication.
Difficulty while inserting the breathing tube.

How to Lose Weight Before Surgery

pre surgery weight loss diet plan

If your BMI is anywhere from 18 to 30, you can continue with your regular meals before the surgery. However, in cases where the BMI is above 40, the rapid weight loss diet program can be undertaken. In this type of diet, you can lose more than 1-2.5 kilograms a week over several weeks.
These diets help to lose weight for surgery quickly and are less commonly suggested by health care providers. As the hormonal and bodily stress caused by rapid weight loss may not be safe for some people to do on their own they should be closely monitored by a supervisor.

*Here you can find some diet for quick weight loss before surgery, but they are usually not recommended for more than several weeks.

Very Low-Calorie Diet (VLCD)

On this pre surgery diet, you may have as few as 800 calories a day and may lose up to 1.5 to 2 kg a week. The food that you will be intaking will be mostly meal replacements, such as formulas, soups, shakes, and bars instead of regular meals. This ensures that you get all of the nutrients, while also keeping you on a restricted diet plan.
A VLCD is only recommended for adults who are obese and need to lose weight for health reasons. These diets are often use to lose weight for surgery. You should only use a VLCD under the supervision of your provider and not recommend using it for more than 12 weeks.

Low-Calorie Diet (LCD)

The calorie intake in LCD is 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day for women and 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day for men. However, you should still be overseen by a provider. An LCD is much better than VLCD; however, you will not lose weight as fast as VLCD, but you can lose just as much weight with a VLCD. The meals are usually a mix of meal replacements and regular food making it easier to follow than VLCD.

Time-Restricted Eating

Time-restricted eating restricts the number of hours per day that you can eat. One of the most prevalent approaches is ’16/8 Intermittent Fasting’. During this time-restricted eating plan, you can eat your meals only during these 8 hours, say from 10 am to 6 pm. After these 8 hours, you are not allowed to eat anything for the remaining 16 hours. Even though this method can help in rapid weight loss, but there is little knowledge about whether the weight loss is maintained.

Fad Diets

Fad diets severely limit calories to achieve rapid weight loss. These diets are not considered safe and do not warrant long-term weight loss.
You are at risk for reacquiring the weight you lost if you return to your former eating habits or stop following the diet plan.

FAQs

weight loss surgery healthy eating

How Much Weight Can I Lose From Tummy Tuck Surgery?

If you are seeking tummy tuck after weight loss or pregnancy to restore your stomach contour, you will probably lose up to 2 kg of excess skin after the procedure. Some people lose 14kg or more while some don’t notice a significant weight loss.

Will My Waist Get Smaller After a Tummy Tuck?

Yes, tummy tuck can make your waist smaller due to removing excess fat and skin. It’s important to consider that only subcutaneous belly fat can be removed through this surgery. Full abdominoplasty helps patients lose clothing sizes and inches in their midsection but weight loss is usually not significant.

Will I Have a Scar After Tummy Tuck?

Your tummy tuck scars 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.

How Much Weight Can You Lose in a Month?

Rapid weight loss for surgery can be achieved by undertaking pre surgery diet plans such as the Very Low-Calorie Diet (VLCD) or the Low-Calorie Diet (LCD). You can lose the same amount of weight through either of the plans but weight loss through LCD is slow when compared to VLCD. You can lose anywhere from 1.5 to 2 kg per week for several weeks through the VLCD plan. This roughly equates to 6 to 8 kg per month. However, VLCD is not recommended for more than 12 weeks.

Is There a Weight Limit for Anesthesia?

Medications that put patients to sleep during the surgery are anaesthesia. The most commonly preferred anesthesia during plastic or cosmetic surgery is general anesthesia. Even though general anesthesia is safe, the excess amount of fat can cause problems for both the patients and the surgeon. During the administration of anesthetics on obese patients, the following common problems are commonly encountered:

  • Figuring out the correct dosage of anesthetics required,
  • Difficulty locating the vein used to intravenously administer anesthetics and other emergency medications.
  • The presence of excess fatty tissue can further prevent the administration of the anaesthetics.
  • Difficulty while inserting the breathing tube

There can be a higher risk of surgical and anaesthetic complications if you have a BMI over 30. Dr recommends losing weight for surgery or being on a pre surgery diet.

Can You Have Surgery if You Are Overweight?

Apart from Bariatric surgery and liposuction, losing weight for surgery is necessary. However, losing 5-10% of your weight will steer you clear of risks while performing the surgery and gives you a longer-lasting and better result. The preferred BMI for plastic and cosmetic surgery is somewhere near to 30, but surgery can perform up to BMI 40.

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.

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*DISCLAIMER: All information on Gold Coast Plastic Surgery website is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Results can vary significantly and depend on individual patient circumstances. All images on this website, unless specified as real patient images, are stock images used for illustrative purposes only. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your surgeon. Book a consult for details regarding your cosmetic surgery procedure.