Many people feel dramatically slimmer after their tummy tuck procedure and find that exercising and weight loss are much easier. Some of this is related to the psychological effect of feeling better about yourself. When we feel more confident and attractive, we are more likely to go out, stay active, and take care of our health. When we feel fit and healthy, we are generally more energetic as well. Because the abdominal muscles are usually tightened, pulling in the waist and tummy, people will sometimes find that they need to eat less to feel full after their procedure.
Tummy tucks can certainly remove excess skin, fat, or stretch marks but the weight of tissue removed is usually around only 5 pounds. Liposuction, though often done in conjunction with an abdominoplasty, is helpful for contouring, not for large volume weight loss.
Intra-abdominal or visceral fat is the fat which can surround the internal organs and create a large, firm, protruding belly. This type of fat cannot be removed with liposuction and must be shed through diet and exercise alone.
For patients who are obese, the risks associated with anesthetic as well as healing issues can be increased.
Scientific studies have shown an increase in surgery-related complications in patients with a high BMI or body mass index. The study, “Correlation of Complications of Body Contouring Surgery With Increasing Body Mass Index,” appeared in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal (July/August 2008 issue), published by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). The study found that obesity is a significant risk factor when considering cosmetic surgery procedures. One reason for this is the increased prevalence of secondary health conditions related to being overweight such as hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, and cardiovascular disease. As well, the higher a patient’s BMI, the higher their rate of complication was found to be; up from the relatively normal 3.3% to 46.9%. Patients who are overweight may heal more slowly and suffer other problems. Rather than being a weight loss solution, abdominoplasty surgery can actually be more dangerous and produce less than optimal results for people who are overweight.
The amount of excess skin that your plastic surgeon will be able to remove while creating dramatic results for you will depend somewhat on the excess weight that you are able to lose and keep off beforehand. Your flatter tummy will be easier to visualize once the excess fat is gone.
After your procedure, you’ll want to protect your investment and ensure that you keep excess weight off. Your surgeon will advise you to gradually resume your fitness routine starting at 3 weeks with gentle cardio and will also recommend that you avoid increasing your calorie intake.
During your tummy tuck, your plastic surgeon will make an incision in the lower abdomen, tighten abdominal muscles if they have stretched apart, perform any liposuction planned, and remove excess skin in the lower abdomen before closing the incision. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and pain medication is prescribed. Your recovery time will take time, but most patients can return to work at two weeks. Final results are evaluated closer to 6 months post op.
While the tummy tuck procedure itself doesn’t remove much weight, it can certainly lead to weight loss and help you to maintain a new, trim figure you can feel great about.