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Weight loss before liposuction or a tummy tuck?

Posted by Laurence Weider on December 4, 2019

I see many patients in consultation for abdominal liposuction or a tummy tuck. On occasion, I recommend that the person lose weight prior to any abdominal contouring surgery. Although there are exceptions, a person’s BMI should be 30 or less prior to having a tummy tuck or abdominal liposuction. Why? Having abdominal contouring surgery when your BMI is too high puts you at greater risk of complications and limits the amount of improvement that can be achieved. Your BMI can be easily calculated online just by knowing your current height and weight.

In order to better understand the reason for this recommendation, it is helpful to know where fat is stored in the body. When most people think about fat, they think about external or subcutaneous fat. This is the fat that lives under our skin. When you pinch your “love handles” you are holding onto subcutaneous fat. This is the fat that can be addressed by your plastic surgeon through liposuction or by surgically removing it during procedures such as a tummy tuck.

However, there is another type of fat that accumulates as we gain weight. That is internal or visceral fat. Internal fat lives in the abdomen surrounding the intestines, stomach and other internal organs. This fat can’t be treated by your plastic surgeon. The only way to decrease your internal fat is to lose weight through dieting, exercise or weight loss surgery. If a tummy tuck is performed when internal fat stores are too high, the results will not be good. The same is true for liposuction of the abdomen done with a large amount of internal fat. While it isn’t always the case, a BMI over 30 often indicates internal fat stores that are too high to achieve a good result with a tummy tuck or liposuction of the abdomen.

At Weider Plastic Surgery, we want all of our patients to achieve the best possible results with the lowest risk of complications. If we recommend losing weight prior to cosmetic surgery, we have your best interests at heart.

To schedule an initial consultation give our Dallas, TX office a call at (972) 566-8444 .

Dr weider

Dr. Weider, a native of Southern California, is a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon who has maintained a private practice in Dallas, TX since 1999. After attending Stanford University, he obtained his medical degree (M.D.) from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He then completed a one year surgical internship in Los Angeles at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, followed by a four year general surgery residency in Dallas at Methodist Medical Center, and a two year plastic surgery fellowship in Cleveland at Case Western Reserve University.

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