Historically, individuals with a BMI over 30 would not be considered qualified candidates for traditional tummy tuck surgery.
Over the past several years, things have changed, and doctors began to not only use body mass index as a benchmark but also to look more closely at an individual’s overall health to determine if cosmetic body contouring surgery would be a safe option.
Today, many patients with a higher BMI are able to have what is being referred to on social media and in the world of cosmetic surgery as a plus-size tummy tuck.
Plus-size tummy tucks have become very popular, and some patients are opting for more dramatic body contouring by combining a plus-size tummy tuck with a Brazilian butt lift. Today we are going to take a look at the plus-size tummy tuck, what doctors look for when determining if a higher BMI patient would qualify for the procedure and the effect of combining the two procedures.
What Is The Difference Between a Traditional And a Plus-Size Tummy Tuck?
Most medical professionals refer to a standard scale to determine an individual’s general level of health. The scale is a basic calculation of a person’s height and weight that categorizes each and gives them a body mass index number. This number falls within a category on the BMI scale that ranges from underweight, healthy weight, overweight, obese class 1, obese class 2, and obese class 3.
to see the entire table
|Underweight||Healthy Weight||Overweight||Obese class 1||Obese Class 2||Obese Class 3|
Patients who are at a healthy weight or are just a little bit overweight (within 10 to 20 pounds of their ideal weight) have traditionally been considered good candidates for a tummy tuck. These days, individuals with BMI numbers up to about 35 may qualify for a plus-size tummy tuck if they are otherwise in generally good health.
Why Does My BMI Or How Much I Weigh Matter?
You may be asking, “Why does my weight matter for a tummy tuck? In many other situations, your weight would be irrelevant, but historical evidence has demonstrated that patients who are overweight or obese have an increased number of complications during and after major surgery.
A plus-size tummy tuck is considered invasive surgery, which is also an elective surgery (not medically necessary). The most important element during any surgical procedure is the safety of the patient. No doctor wants to put a patient in unnecessary danger. Because the simple BMI scale is not 100% accurate and does not take into account weight that is attributed to muscle mass, ethnicity, and other key factors, doctors use other tests to assess their patient’s level of health before agreeing to perform a plus-size tummy tuck.
Other Factors That Help Doctors Determine Patient Quality Of Health
Before any surgical procedure, patients are carefully evaluated and undergo testing to determine how well their bodies will react to the surgery as well as their ability to heal and recover.
The surgeon will be looking at a 360-degree view of the patient’s health to ensure they do not have any serious medical conditions that may jeopardize their safety during surgery or after. If a patient has uncontrolled diabetes or another such chronic illness, it may disqualify them from undergoing plus-size tummy tuck surgery.
Some of the factors they will also consider include:
- History Of Smoking Or Recreational Drug Use
- Patients who smoke are at increased risk for complications during surgery, even if their weight is within a healthy BMI range. The use of recreational drugs, including marijuana, increases the risk of cardiac complications and interactions with anesthesia during surgery. Be truthful with the surgeon when discussing these issues; if you are already outside of a healthy BMI range and are already at risk, not being forthcoming about these elements can put your life at risk. The surgeon will provide you with instructions regarding how far in advance you will need to stop smoking, etc., to proceed safely with surgery.
- History Of Weight Fluctuation Or Loss
- The results of a tummy tuck can be long-lasting if the patient generally maintains their current weight. If someone is still in the process of losing a great deal of weight or they have experienced big fluctuations in their weight, the surgeon may opt to postpone the tummy tuck until the patient has maintained a stable weight for at least 6 months.
The reason behind this is that patients who lose a great deal of weight often have an abundance of loose skin left behind. This loose skin is addressed during a tummy tuck, and to obtain the best results,it is best to wait until the patient has lost their desired amount of weight first so the surgeon can take care of all this loose skin during the tummy tuck. Alternatively, the surgeon will want to ensure the patient is able to maintain their tummy tuck results and not become disappointed due to weight gain.
- They Will Consider The Patient’s Distribution Of Fat
- People come in all different shapes and sizes, and no one carries their weight exactly the same. When looking at possible candidates for a plus-size tummy tuck, the patient’s fat distribution is one of the factors that are considered.
Do they carry their excess weight on their buttocks or thighs? If so, these areas are not as likely to cause complications during their tummy tuck or their healing process. If they have an extreme amount of excess fat in their abdominal area, it may be more problematic.
There are also two types of fat that can collect in the abdominal area:
- Subcutaneous fat, which sits just below the skin, is the type of fat that is eliminated during a liposuction procedure.
- Visceral fat, which is what is often termed “bad fat” because it collects around the organs and can cause metabolic and other health issues, This type of fat cannot be eliminated through any means other than diet and exercise, but the good news is that it is the fat that usually dissipates first when those measures are taken. If a patient has an excess of this type of fat, they may not be a candidate for a tummy tuck.
- Patients Expectations
- The surgeon will want to ensure the patient has a good understanding of what is involved before, during, and after the surgery. That they know what they will have to do to take care of themselves so they can recover properly and without complications.
They will also want to be certain the patient has a realistic expectation of what their plus-size tummy tuck can accomplish. A plus-size patient is not going to suddenly be of a healthy weight and BMI after a tummy tuck, nor will they be a super-slim individual. They will have a tighter abdominal area and have less fat through liposuction and the removal of the loose skin on their stomach. Patients must not only be physically prepared for surgery but also adequately mentally prepared.
What Can I Expect From A Plus-Size Tummy Tuck?
The surgical procedure for a plus-size tummy tuck is the same as that used during a traditional abdominoplasty. The surgery is done while the patient is asleep under general anesthesia. The surgeon creates the necessary incisions, which may be vertical from the navel to the pubic bone or horizontal, and run just above the pubic area from hip to hip. Depending on the extent of the loose skin, the patient may require both types of incisions.
Next, liposuction is used to eliminate excess fat, create definition, and provide slimmer contours. Liposuction can be performed using different techniques, but generally, a special fluid is injected under the skin that helps mitigate swelling and also loosen the fat cells. Next, an instrument (a cannula) is placed under the skin that resembles a very thin metal straw and is used to vacuum out the unwanted fat. For those patients who are combining a plus-size tummy tuck and BBL, this fat will be retained, processed, and injected into the buttocks.
Additionally, the surgeon will repair the abdominal muscles, which often are torn, damaged, or separated as a result of pregnancy or major weight gain and subsequent loss. This is accomplished by repositioning the muscles and suturing them together to make them stronger and more stable.
Finally, excess skin will be cut away, which often eliminates existing stretch marks. The belly button may require repositioning so the results look natural. The incisions are closed and sometimes require the use of surgical drains.
The patient is taken to recovery and observed until the medical professionals release them to go home to recover. They are discharged with detailed aftercare instructions, which include directions on proper use of the compression garment they must wear for the next several weeks.
Do Many Patients Combine A Plus-Size Tummy Tuck And Brazilian Butt Lift?
While the effect of a plus-size tummy tuck and BBL together can be quite dramatic, it is sometimes better to do these procedures independently. Some patients do combine these two procedures; however, each case will be determined by the surgeon based on the patient’s specific circumstances. Both a plus-size tummy tuck and a BBL are fairly long surgical procedures, and combining the two for a patient who may already have a higher risk factor may not be possible. Generally, it is considered too risky to combine these procedures for patients with a BMI over 40.
Also, some consideration must be given to the patient’s recovery. After a tummy tuck, patients are not able to stand up straight, sleep on their stomachs, or use their abdominal muscles to help them rise from a sitting to a standing position. Many choose to sleep in a recliner in a semi-bent position and use the chair as well as their upper body strength to get up. After a BBL, patients cannot put any weight on their buttocks for about a month so the transferred fat will properly graft without being damaged. Getting the proper amount of rest is critical for your recovery after either a plus-size tummy tuck or BBL, and having both at the same time could make that more challenging.
If the surgeon agrees that the patient is in good health and combining a plus-size tummy tuck and Brazilian butt lift will not be a safety concern, it is technically possible to do them both during the same surgical session. The surgeon can provide workarounds and strategies for ensuring your results are not compromised by sitting or sleeping improperly after your BBL.
A Plus Size Tummy Tuck And BBL Can Create A Dramatic Transformation
Like traditional tummy tuck candidates, plus-size tummy tuck patients can benefit from the significant boost in self-confidence the procedure delivers. Not only that, but the liposuction and the removal of excess skin will make their clothes fit more comfortably and will increase their mobility. This may make it easier for them to exercise or participate in activities they might not have been able to before.
Undergoing a Brazilian butt lift (BBL) as well as a plus-size tummy tuck can give patients curves in all the right places. Although it might be necessary to do them as two separate procedures, the final effect delivers a significant transformation.
Body contouring procedures create a dramatic difference in the way a person looks and feels, and the emergence of the plus-size tummy tuck has been a great breakthrough for those patients who would not have previously qualified for what is often considered life-altering surgery.
Let Us Help You Accomplish Your Aesthetic Goals
If you are considering a plus-size tummy tuck or a BBL, contact SurgiCare Arts & Aesthetics today and set up an appointment to learn about the options available to you.
Dr. Angelina Posteov is a triple board-certified cosmetic surgeon who is expertly skilled in her craft. If you are local to the Atlanta area, you are in luck because she is in your neighborhood! If you hail from out of town, it would be worth traveling to get one of the top-rated cosmetic surgeons to perform your plus-size tummy tuck. Get in touch with us today and do this for yourself because you deserve to both feel and look your best!