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How do I know if I am a good candidate for a tummy tuck?

John F. Burnett, MD
Plastic Surgery
A good candidate for a tummy tuck is usually someone who’s lost a lot of weight—male or female. A good group of candidates is women who have had children who tend to carry extra weight around their waist. They usually have a pannus, which is soft, loose skin that hangs down over the pubic area. It can be a problem with hygiene or trying to find clothes that fit. People with that problem usually know if it’s bad enough that they need to talk to someone about having it removed.

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Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
Patients who are good candidates for abdominoplasty procedures are finished having children and have increased amounts of skin laxity or looseness from the belly button down to the suprapubic region. A significant amount of skin is required in order to undergo an abdominoplasty procedure without tension to the lower scar. Patients should be in excellent health, should have a history and physical exam, often a 12 lead EKG, and full set of laboratories to determine their preoperative clearance. Patients who have increased amount of intraperitoneal fat are often referred to as beer belly-like abdomens often do not get a great result for abdominoplasty for the reason that the fat cannot be removed in the abdominal cavity through surgical correction as can be with an abdominoplasty. Remember a tummy tuck only removes the skin and fat outside of the muscle layers of the abdomen. Scarring is another concern, especially with patients who have increased melanin or darker skin. (For example, African American, Asian, Middle Eastern). Increased risk of keloid, hypertrophic scarring and pigmentation changes can certainly occur.
Erik A. Hoy, MD
Plastic Surgery
The best candidates for an abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, are otherwise healthy patients with an excess of fat and skin in the lower abdomen. Your safety is paramount, especially because this is an elective procedure. You must be able to tolerate the anesthesia required for the procedure, meaning a healthy heart, lungs, and kidneys. You need to be able to heal your surgical incisions, meaning no problems with nutrition or connective tissue disorders. You should not have problems with keloid or hypertrophic scars (thick scars that are raised above the surrounding skin). Finally, you should have a body-type which is amenable to good results with the procedure. Skinny bodies with an extra amount of fat and loose skin in your lower tummy fare best, while those with generalized obesity are not good candidates for this procedure. The tummy tuck is often a part of a "mommy makeover" after pregnancy, to help remove excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen remaining after the woman's weight has stabilized after childbirth. A scar from a Caesarian section is often easily incorporated in the tummy tuck, but if you have had certain previous surgeries on your abdomen, the blood vessels to your abdominal skin may be altered. If this is the case, a tummy tuck may not be a good procedure for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.