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Ask the Plastic Surgeon: What Makes a Good Tummy Tuck Candidate?

Tummy tuck surgery discussed by Nashville, TN plastic surgeon.

I’m often asked, “What is the most rewarding plastic surgery procedure for patients?”

As a board-certified plastic surgeon, I can easily say that tummy tuck surgery is near the top of the list. The results help my Nashville, TN patients restore their contours and confidence in so many ways.

During a tummy tuck, I remove loose skin and tissue surrounding the lower abdomen, or tummy area. The extra skin, often caused by pregnancy, weight changes, or even just aging, can lead to discomfort, irritation, and distraction from every day activities.

Before anyone begins planning for a tummy tuck surgery, it’s important to know what makes an ideal candidate. Let’s explore 4 important factors that make an ideal candidate for the procedure.

You Are Already Close to Your Target Weight

One of the most common misconceptions about the tummy tuck is that it can help patients lose weight. While you may lose a few extra pounds due to the removal of extra tissue, it is not going to significantly reduce your overall weight or the amount of fat in your abdomen. In fact, an ideal candidate for a tummy tuck will already be at or close to his or her target weight.

If you have extra, fatty tissue around the abdomen that won’t respond to a healthy diet and exercise plan, that’s OK. But if you plan to lose more weight after undergoing the procedure, you may consider postponing until you’re closer to your goal. If you wait, you may be much more pleased with your results. Plus, some patients have told me that they’re so happy with their results, they’re even more motivated to maintain their healthy lifestyle into the future!

You Do Not Plan to Have More Children

Pregnancy will cause the skin around the tummy to stretch significantly. While skin is fairly elastic, it doesn’t always return to its original form after having children, especially after multiple pregnancies. Tummy tuck surgery can help remove this extra skin, but it’s important to remember that results will be reversed if you have more children. This can be especially frustrating as the toned and tightened skin will be lost, and scarring from the procedure can be accentuated. Waiting until you’re finished having children is often ideal.

You Have Extra, Loose Skin Around Your Tummy

Loose skin may sag and feel malleable, and it usually bulges and can be pulled away from the body easily. As I’ve mentioned, this can be caused by a variety of factors, but it tends to be frustrating no matter the source. This bulge may be even more pronounced if you have been diagnosed with diastasis recti, which occurs when the abdominal muscles separate from each other and can no longer support the skin or internal organs as successfully.

If this is the case, I can rejoin these muscles during the tummy tuck to achieve even better, longer-lasting results. In this before-and-after picture, you can see the loose skin is apparent at first, but the result has left the tissue smooth and toned.

You Have Realistic Expectations for Results

A tummy tuck procedure is an excellent way to tighten muscles and skin, restore your contours, and help create a figure that is more proportionate to the rest of your body. Because every individual body is so different, results of the procedure will be just as unique for each patient. This is why it’s so important to have realistic expectations. Your results will not look exactly like anyone else’s whose pictures you may have seen.

The key to understanding what you can expect — and getting satisfying results — is thoroughly planning your customized procedure with your surgeon. Some women who want to further enhance their results will undergo a breast augmentation, breast lift, or liposuction — or a full mommy makeover. Often, different treatments and procedures can be performed to complement each other and help achieve optimal results. Your plastic surgeon will help you determine which combination of treatments is best for your body, lifestyle, and goals.

If you’re interested in learning more about the tummy tuck procedure and other treatments that complement it, I encourage you to leave a comment below. I’m happy to answer!

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