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Weight Loss Before Liposuction or a Tummy Tuck?
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Weight Loss Before Liposuction or a Tummy Tuck?

Written by
Juli Albright
Juli is our patient advocate and community connection. She balances work, life and family with grace.
Juli is our patient advocate and community connection. She balances work, life and family with grace.

Weight Loss Before Liposuction or a Tummy Tuck?

If you are wondering whether you have to lose weight for liposuction or tummy tuck, then there is no definite answer beyond consulting with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Typically the BMI (Body Mass Index) is used as an indicator whether you are overweight, underweight, or somewhere in between. By using your height and weight you may easily calculate your BMI. The major flaw of the BMI is it does not account for weight of the excess skin and higher than normal muscle mass (muscle weighs more than fat). The BMI calculator especially for males that do body building can especially be a poor indicator. For the average person, however, if the BMI is over 30, your plastic surgeon may recommend weight loss before a tummy tuck or liposuction procedure.

There are several reasons for this which are discussed below.

External Fat / Subcutaneous Fat

This layer is present between your muscle and skin layer. It is a layer of fat that you typically grab whenever you touch your tummy. It is a soft, jelly-type layer and has a yellowish-like color. This layer's primary purpose is to store energy for backup so that your body can get energy in times of food scarcity.

This is the only layer in your stomach that your plastic surgeon can contour in cosmetic surgery, whether it is a tummy tuck or liposuction. As it is present outside of the area of your internal organs, surgeons directly suction out the fat with cannulas.

Internal Fat / Visceral Fat / Intra Abdominal Fat

It is the core fat that is present under your muscle layer, cushioning, or surrounding your organs. Since it intermingles with the vital organs and is within the abdomen, your surgeon can’t reach them through any type of procedure, including tummy tuck or liposuction. If a plastic surgeon says they can, run in the opposite direction as this is either untrue or very unsafe.

In short, the only way to get rid of this fat is to follow a proper and effective diet and exercise. For high BMI patients (typically 35+) gastric bypass surgery may be another weight loss method to consider.

People who have an excessive amount of internal fat usually have a round shape core. Not to mention, it is typically bulging outwards, making it look classic “beer belly.” It is important to understand that if you have more weight and even if you opt for the surgery, your plastic surgeon will not be able to give your a smart and fit look. This is because this fat will prevent your surgeon from cinching your muscles with stitches tightly. Generally, if your BMI is more than 30, your plastic surgeon may recommend weight loss prior to surgery.

General Criteria for Tummy Tuck or Liposuction

If you want to opt for the tummy tuck or liposuction, your body should fulfill all the requirements for the procedure. Although every patient is different from others, you need to fall into the following patient's criteria in terms of BMI or weight before the procedure.

·      Stable weight for 6 months

·      BMI less than 30

·      Routine of strength training and exercises

·      Healthy lifestyle and with regular meals and essential nutrients

·      Abstain from drugs and smoking.

·      Realistic expectations

Tips to Lose Weight

So, if you have decided to lose weight for liposuction or tummy tuck, the following are some tips that you can use to get your desired weight.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

This means you don’t need to opt for any type of unhealthy dieting methods to reduce your weight quickly. The first thing you need to do is to set a realistic time frame to lose weight (typically expect no more than 1 pound / week). You need to understand that permanent weight loss needs time and effort, so be prepared for it. Take your time, and think about what methods you can use to cut down some weight. Make sure that these techniques don't cause any adverse effects on your health.

Use Appropriate Diet Plan

Fad diets may help you lose weight quicker, but they are often very hard to sustain. This is why it is recommended to chose a dietary method that gives you long-lasting results. Another method is to count calories to lose weight.

Do Exercises Daily

Exercises can help you build muscle (muscle increases your metabolism) which can help to lose weight and create a more toned appearance. Most nutritionists will say your diet is 80-90% of weight loss and exercise is the other 10-20%. In addition building muscle exercise releases great endorphins to help you feel good and healthy.  Biking, walking, and swimming are a few exercises that are low impact to start your weight loss journey. You can add weight lifting and cardio exercises to get the most out of your exercise routine. Start doing them for 30 minutes 3 to 5 times a week. When you build stamina, you can increase the time.

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Keeping yourself hydrated is important for weight loss and your health. Many people drink less water or drink something else, which is not great. If you are one of those who don't like water, you can simply include veggies and fruits in your water to add flavor. You can go for cucumbers, lemons, or watermelon for tasty and healthy water.

Find Ways to De-Stress

Stress is one of the primary reason which promotes weight gain in people. Additionally, many people overeat because of stress and depression. So whenever you are angry, stress, or sad, try relaxation methods, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing to settle your mind and calm your nerves. Also, before eating anything, wait for 15 minutes to think whether you are actually hungry or it’s just the result of stress.

Make Sleep a Priority

Sleep is the last priority of most people. However, sleep is the most important thing for better physical and mental health. Without enough amount of sleep, losing weight can be challenging for some people. Of course, you will be too tired todo exercises. Your metabolism will get reduced, restricting your body from losing weight.

Bottom Line

In a nutshell, if you are thinking of undergoing liposuction or tummy tuck surgery, but you have a BMI of more than 30, then your plastic surgeon may recommend weight loss prior to surgery.

Dr. William Albright is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Antonio who specializes in breast and body contouring procedures. Message us today to ask any further questions.

Written by
Juli Albright

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