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Who Shouldn’t Have a Tummy Tuck?

who shouldn't have a tummy tuck
A tummy tuck can help plenty of people get a smoother, flatter stomach area.

Is a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty in Houston, the right surgery for you? A tummy tuck can help plenty of people get a smoother, flatter stomach area. But it’s not always the best option. Some people are better off postponing the surgery while others might need to consider other options. Here’s a quick look at who’s not a candidate for abdominoplasty and what you can do if the procedure isn’t quite right for you.

You’re Planning on Having More Children

A tummy tuck is usually a key component of a Mommy Makeover. That’s a series of surgeries designed to help a woman get her pre-pregnancy figure back. During pregnancy, the skin around the abdomen stretches. In some cases, it is able to bounce back after the baby is born. But some women are left with loose skin, as well as some fatty deposits. Abdominoplasty can eliminate the loose skin and fatty deposits. But getting pregnant again can lead to more skin and additional fatty deposits.

For that reason, it’s usually recommended that you postpone a tummy tuck until after you’ve finished getting pregnant.

You Don’t Have Enough Excess Skin

Not everyone is a good candidate for a tummy tuck because not everyone has enough extra skin or fatty deposits for the surgery to be beneficial.

It might be the case that you have a bit of extra fat in the abdominal area, but not extra loose skin. In that case, liposuction on its own might be a better option for you instead of a full tummy tuck.

It might also be that you’re a better candidate for a mini tummy tuck, rather than a full version of the surgery. During a mini abdominoplasty, the surgeon makes a small incision near the bikini line. He’ll remove extra loose skin and tighten the abdominal muscle, but less skin is removed than during the full surgery.

You’re Trying to Lose Weight

Even though they are designed to remove extra, unwanted fat and skin, cosmetic surgeries aren’t intended to be weight loss surgery. Instead, they are designed for people who are at their current goal weight or very close to it.

There are a few reasons why a tummy tuck isn’t a good option if you’re currently trying to lose a considerable amount of weight. For one thing, a limited amount of fat and skin will be removed during the procedure. You might lose a handful of pounds, at most.

For another thing, further weight loss after the abdominoplasty can have a negative effect on the results of your surgery. If you lose more weight after a surgeon has tightened the muscles of the abdomen or after he’s removed loose skin, you might find yourself with more loose skin and in need of a second surgery.

You Have an Unmanaged Health Condition

Your health is an important thing to consider before choosing to have an elective surgery. All surgeries have risks, from poor wound healing to bleeding. Being in good health helps to lower those risks.

For that reason, if you have any health condition that isn’t well controlled, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, your surgeon will recommend holding off on the tummy tuck until you can manage your condition. Depending on the issue, you might not be a candidate for surgery at all.

Along with health conditions, some lifestyle habits can make you a poor candidate for a tummy tuck. For example, if you smoke, you’ll be asked to quit a few weeks before the surgery since tobacco use increases your risk for complications. You’ll also be asked to avoid tobacco products for a few weeks afterward. If you don’t want to quit or having a very tough time of it, you’ll be better off postponing a tummy tuck.

You Don’t Have Time for Recovery

Recovery after a tummy tuck can take anywhere from one to two weeks, meaning you’ll need to take off from work for that long. Taking two weeks off can be out of the question for some people, so it’s something you need to carefully consider before deciding to have surgery. It might be that a less invasive option, such as Coolsculpting to remove extra fat in the area, works better for your schedule at the moment.

Considerations for Tummy Tuck Candidacy

Understanding the Impact of Pregnancy on Abdominoplasty

  • Before Deciding: It’s crucial to consider the timing of your tummy tuck about family planning. Pregnancy post-abdominoplasty can alter the surgery’s results due to the stretching of abdominal skin and muscles.
  • Pregnancy again: It’s advisable to wait if you’re planning to have more children. This will maintain the surgery’s effectiveness and avoid the need for revision procedures.

Ideal Weight and Tummy Tuck Success

  • Weight Criteria: Achieving and maintaining a stable weight close to your ideal is essential before undergoing a tummy tuck. This stability ensures the longevity and effectiveness of the procedure.
  • Health First: Being within 15-20 pounds of your target weight is recommended. This criterion is not just about aesthetics but also about minimizing surgical risks and enhancing recovery.

Recovery Time and Lifestyle Adjustments

  • Post-Surgery Recovery: A tummy tuck requires a significant recovery period. It’s vital to plan for adequate rest and limited physical activity, typically ranging from two to six weeks, depending on the surgery’s extent.
  • Lifestyle Considerations: Ensure you can accommodate this recovery phase in your lifestyle. This might mean arranging for help at home, taking time off work, and having a support system in place for post-operative care.

Health Conditions and Surgical Risks

  • Medical Clearance: If you have existing health conditions, such as diabetes or heart problems, a thorough medical evaluation is necessary. These conditions don’t automatically disqualify you but require careful management and clearance from your healthcare provider.
  • Risk Awareness: Understanding the risks associated with a tummy tuck, including infection, scarring, and reaction to anesthesia, is crucial. A detailed discussion with your surgeon will help set realistic expectations and prepare you for the journey ahead.

Understanding the Risks and Preparations for Tummy Tuck Surgery

A tummy tuck, while offering transformative results, involves careful consideration of risks and thorough preparation. Here’s an expanded look at what to expect:

Detailed Potential Risks:

  • Surgical Complications: Every surgical procedure, including abdominoplasty, carries inherent risks such as infection, bleeding, or adverse reactions to anesthesia. It’s essential to discuss these possibilities with your surgeon to understand how they apply to your specific health profile.
  • Healing Concerns: Post-operative healing varies among individuals. Some may experience delayed wound healing or noticeable scarring. Following your surgeon’s guidelines on wound care and attending follow-up appointments are key to minimizing these risks.
  • Changes in Sensation: It’s not uncommon for patients to experience temporary numbness or altered skin sensation near the incision site. While these changes typically resolve over time, they should be monitored and reported to your surgeon.

Comprehensive Preparations for Surgery:

  • Achieving and Maintaining a Stable Weight: Being close to your ideal weight prior to surgery is crucial. Significant weight gain or loss after the procedure can alter the results. A stable weight also contributes to a smoother recovery and more predictable outcomes.
  • Quitting Smoking: Smoking significantly impairs healing and increases the risk of complications during and after surgery. Patients are strongly advised to quit smoking at least 4-6 weeks before the surgery and continue to abstain during the recovery period.
  • Managing Existing Health Conditions: Pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, should be well-controlled. This management reduces surgical risks and promotes better healing. Your surgeon may collaborate with your primary care physician to ensure you’re medically optimized for the procedure.

Dr. Paul Vitenas is a top-rated, board certified plastic surgeon in Houston, Texas. He regularly performs tummy tucks and other body plastic surgeries. To learn more about your plastic surgery options and to see if you’re a good candidate for abdominoplasty, call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tummy Tuck Candidacy