Am I a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Who Can Benefit From Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Birmingham, MI board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ali has helped thousands of women and men get the firm, flat mid-section that they are proud of, with tummy tuck surgery.

There are several different types of tummy tuck procedures. Deciding if you are a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery depends on the individuals needs and skin condition – including whether they need muscles tightened, skin tightened, fat removed, stretch marks eliminated, or any combination of these factors. The best way to know if tummy tuck surgery or another procedure is right for you is to schedule a consultation with top tummy tuck surgeon Dr. Ali at AMAE Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, MI.

In this article, Dr. Ali discusses some considerations that will help you decide if tummy tuck surgery is right for you.

What Causes Loose Abdominal Skin

Even people with normal body weight can develop a “tummy” that protrudes or is loose and sagging. The most common causes of a loose or saggy abdomen include:

  • Loss of skin elasticity due to aging
  • Heredity
  • Pregnancy
  • Significant weight loss
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Weight loss after bariatric surgery
  • Weight loss after Ozempic, Wegovy or Semaglutide

Sometimes the skin alone is loose or saggy. In other cases the problem is the result of stretched or “splayed” muscles.

What Cause Stretched Abdominal Muscles

Stretched abdominal muscles can result from a variety of factors, often leading to a condition commonly referred to as diastasis recti. This separation of the abdominal muscles typically occurs during pregnancy but can also occur due to significant weight gain or abdominal distension. During pregnancy, as the uterus expands to accommodate the growing fetus, the rectus abdominis muscles—commonly known as the “six-pack” muscles—can separate along the linea alba, the connective tissue that runs down the center of the abdomen. This separation allows the abdominal wall to stretch to accommodate the growing baby, but in some cases, the muscles may not fully return to their pre-pregnancy position postpartum, leading to a persistent separation.

In addition to pregnancy, other factors such as obesity, repetitive heavy lifting, and even certain exercises that place excessive strain on the abdominal muscles can contribute to stretched or weakened abdominal muscles. Over time, this weakening of the abdominal wall can result in a protruding belly or “pooch” appearance, as well as potential functional issues such as back pain or pelvic floor dysfunction.

Tummy Tuck Surgery vs. Other Procedures

There are many ways to get a flatter, firmer tummy, including CoolSculpting, Liposuction, and Profound radiofrequency skin tightening – but the “gold standard” procedure for achieving a flat, firm abdomen is tummy tuck and mini tummy tuck surgery.

While CoolSculpting is non-surgical, and Profound and liposuction are minimally invasive procedures (performed with local numbing), a tummy tuck is surgery that is performed under anesthesia. CoolSculpting and liposuction remove fat, but they do not tighten the skin or repair the muscles of the abdomen, or remove stretch marks. Profound tightens the skin and reduces stretch marks, but does not reduce fat or tighten stretched muscles.

Mini Tummy Tuck or Full Tummy Tuck?

Ideal candidates for a full tummy tuck surgery are individuals with significant excess skin and fat deposits in both the upper and lower abdomen, along with weakened or separated abdominal muscles. This procedure is particularly beneficial for women who have undergone multiple pregnancies or individuals who have experienced substantial weight loss and are left with sagging skin and stretched abdominal muscles.

In contrast, a mini tummy tuck, also known as a partial abdominoplasty, is a less invasive variation of the traditional tummy tuck procedure. Unlike a full tummy tuck, which addresses both the upper and lower abdomen, a mini tummy tuck focuses primarily on the area below the belly button, making it an ideal option for patients with isolated lower abdominal concerns. A mini tummy tuck is suitable for patients with mild to moderate skin laxity and muscle separation below the navel.

What Age Can You Get a Tummy Tuck?

At a minimum a person should be 21 years of age to undergo a tummy tuck – however it is rarely performed on young woman. Typically a woman should wait until they are finished having children before having a tummy tuck, since the skin and muscles may get stretched out again due to pregnancy.

Similarity, If a person is considering (or in the process of) losing weight, they should wait until after they’ve reached their desired weight.  This way the tummy tuck can remove all loose skin at once.

There is no maximum age to get a tummy tuck, as long as you are in good health. Dr. Ali has helped hundreds of “sexy seniors” get the body they want with a tummy tuck.

Health Considerations for a Tummy Tuck

Because a tummy tuck is a type of surgery, a person must be in good health and not have any diseases or serious pre-existing medical conditions. If you have epilepsy, diabetes, an autoimmune disorder, a circulatory disorder, or a bleeding disorder, you may not be a good candidate for a tummy tuck. Always advise Dr. Ali or your plastic surgeon of any underlying medical conditions you have.

Additionally if you are taking blood thinning medication, or certain other medicines or prescriptions you may need to stop taking them before you are able to undergo tummy tuck surgery. Always discuss any medications you are taking with Dr. Ali during your consultation. But never discontinue any medication without the permission of your prescribing physician. Dr. Ali can consult with your personal doctor, if necessary to discuss any medications you may be taking.

Also, oral contraceptives should ideally be stopped a month prior to surgery because “The Pill” can increase the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis or Pulmonary Embolism (blood clots). However, use some alternative form of effective contraception, as women should not be pregnant during a tummy tuck or while healing.

Being in a mentally and emotionally stable place in your life is also important, because recovery from a tummy tuck requires patience and stability. Surgical recovery takes time, and there is typically discomfort or pain involved. Post-surgical depression is a real and serious issue, and surgery can aggravate depression and other mental conditions. Having a good support system around you to help you with driving and daily activities while you recover is very important.

Additionally, smokers must stop at least two to three months before the tummy tuck, and should not smoke until complete healing has taken place. This is because smoking interfere with the body’s ability to heal properly.

Tummy Tuck Timing After Pregnancy

It’s important for women wait until at least six months after delivery to undergo tummy tuck surgery. This allows the body to fully recover from childbirth. Women are also generally also advised to wait until they have completed having children before undergoing a tummy tuck surgery, as pregnancy can reverse the effects of the surgery. Additionally, women who are breastfeeding should wait until they have finished lactating before undergoing elective surgery to avoid any potential effect on breastmilk from the anesthetic or pain meds.

Also, new mommies should consider lifting restrictions and childcare responsibilities during the recovery period before scheduling tummy tuck surgery. Remember patients will need to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for several weeks after surgery. So, many women wait until their children no longer require carrying before undergoing tummy tuck surgery. Of course, if you are lucky enough to have a husband, grandparent, or nanny who can do the “heavy lifting” after tummy tuck surgery, there’s no need to wait!

Finally, before undergoing tummy tuck surgery after pregnancy, patients should ensure they have reached a stable weight that are confident that they can maintain.

Best Tummy Tuck Surgery | Birmingham, MI

Birmingham board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ali has helped thousands of women and men obtain the firm, flat abdomen they have always wanted with tummy tuck surgery. And if you are not a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery at this time, we offer many other less invasive procedures at AMAE Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, MI – such as CoolSculpting or Liposuction, or Profound radiofrequency skin tightening – that may help you attain your appearance goals.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Ali at AMAE Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, MI, and he will help you determine whether a tummy tuck, or another skin tightening procedure, is right for you!

Tummy Tuck Consultation | Birmingham, MI: 248-335-7200