Can I get a Tummy Tuck with a High BMI?

Tummy Tuck with a High BMI

Most plus size people with a high BMI are frustrated with their weight and want to do something about it. Getting a Plus Size Tummy Tuck is the fastest way for removing excess hanging skin which gets in the way, and reducing weight. Often, heavy people just need a head start so that they can be able to exercise. It’s almost impossible to run, bend, or do any type of exercise with a hanging tummy!

What is a Safe BMI for a Tummy Tuck?

I disagree with most plastic surgeons who set the BMI limit to 27 or even 40. My reasoning is that BMI or Body Mass Index can be artificially high in short people, because BMI divides your weight by your height. Also, BMI by itself is not a full and accurate indicator of your total health or medical condition. I have had many patients who have had a BMI of over 50 but had excellent health and were very active and athletic. Just look at some of the NBA or NFL players. I do agree that high BMI can correlate with cardiovascular disease, but it is not necessarily true in everyone.  That is why I don’t just use BMI for determining the safety of plastic surgery. I have my patients undergo physical examination, laboratory test, and specialty tests, depending on their medical conditions and risk factors. Having said that, I do require that patient’s medical conditions be well controlled under the care of their doctor and specialist. I also ask people who are asymptomatic but have a BMI of around 50 to get a cardiac stress test and evaluation by a cardiologist to assess their heart function and capacity. 

Does High BMI increase surgical risk for a Tummy Tuck?

High BMI as well as multiple medical conditions including diabetes, hypertension, and other aliments do increase surgical risk for any surgery including cosmetic surgery or tummy tuck. People who have their medical conditions well controlled, such as having a normal A1C level with diabetes do much better than those that their diabetes, hypertension, or asthma is out of control.

A patient and their family must be aware of these risks and know that they might face longer and more precarious recovery. That is why it is important to have ample support structure during the recovery to ensure that patient is getting proper post-operative care.

Stagged Body Contouring for High BMI patients

People who have a very high BMI and have much fat volume around their torso might benefit from first having a large volume liposuction to “thin out” the abdominal flap, before proceeding with a tummy tuck at a later stage. Regardless these individuals must be fully cleared and optimized for liposuction, as it is also considered a major surgery. I have had some patients that got the best esthetic result with two stagged body contouring- first, 360 large volume liposuctions, and later, an extended tummy tuck. This combination also allows the patient to remove considerable amounts of fat from the abdominal region which will not only enable them to become nimbler and functional but will also help them with a faster recovery from a tummy tuck.

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