Are You A Good Candidate For A Tummy Tuck?
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Are You A Good Candidate For A Tummy Tuck?

Are you considering getting a tummy tuck? This blog will explain exactly what it means to be an ideal tummy tuck candidate. Let’s delve right in!

How Does Tummy Tuck Surgery Work?

A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgical body contouring operation that effectively corrects the separation between abdominal muscles and excess skin. It also surgically removes stubborn fat deposits to flatten and tighten the stomach. Although more popular among women, a tummy tuck procedure can also be done on men who wish to tighten their abdominal muscles and get rid of loose, hanging skin. The types of tummy tuck procedures include:

  • Mini Tummy Tuck;
  • Complete or Full Tummy Tuck; and
  • Tummy Tuck with Liposuction.

At McLean Clinic, we offer a complete Mommy Makeover package that combines a tummy tuck with the best post-pregnancy cosmetic treatments like breast lift, breast augmentation, breast reduction and liposuction.

Who’s a Suitable Tummy Tuck Candidate?

There are several determining factors that make someone an ideal tummy tuck candidate. These include:

You Have Good Skin Elasticity

Skin elasticity is a primary requirement for clients seeking to get liposuction and other body contouring procedures done. It’s your skin’s natural ability to shrink back into its original shape after being stretched during pregnancy or after excessive weight loss. It’s usually affected by the amount of collagen and elastin produced by your body, which are essential proteins attributed to plump and youthful skin. 

At some point, the body slows down the production of collagen and elastin while accelerating its breakdown due to:

  • Aging;
  • Excessive sun damage;
  • Rapid fluctuations in weight; and/or
  • Smoking. 

Without a sufficient supply of these vital proteins, overall skin quality deteriorates, becoming loose, sagging, dull, and more vulnerable to fine lines and wrinkles.

To know whether you are a perfect tummy tuck candidate, your plastic surgeon will do a pinch test to check your skin’s elasticity. He will pinch and hold the skin around the sides of your stomach for a few seconds. If your skin flattens quickly when he releases it from the pinch, that means it has enough elasticity for a tummy tuck. On the contrary, if your skin fails to spring back into place after the pinch test, it may indicate that you are not a suitable candidate for a tummy tuck surgery, and your surgeon may recommend an alternative treatment plan.

Pinch test in the midsection

Preventative Measures to Increase Skin Elasticity

If you are seriously considering liposuction or a tummy tuck procedure, there are some steps you can take to improve your skin’s elasticity. These include:

  • Protect your skin from harmful sun exposure.
    Cover the affected area with clothing and apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 50.
  • Refrain from going to tanning salons or using tanning beds.
    These directly expose your skin to ultraviolet light.

You are Experiencing Separation in the Ab Muscles and Excess Skin

Technically, everyone is born with a gap between both sides of the rectus muscle of at least half an inch. The separation between these muscles becomes more prominent due to aging and pregnancy and is called diastasis recti or recti divarication. In most cases, diastasis recti can naturally heal on its own after several months postpartum. The only way to correct it and bring the edges of the muscle back together is through surgical interventions like a tummy tuck procedure. 

Additionally, if you have lost a substantial amount of weight and need help addressing the deflated skin hanging onto your abdomen, the chances are you are a suitable tummy tuck candidate. During the procedure, your surgeon will take off the excess skin, realign the separated muscles so that they are closer together, and tighten the abdomen’s skin. 

You Have Achieved an Ideal Weight That You Can Maintain Post-Surgery

Contrary to the popular misconception, liposuction and tummy tuck are not bariatric procedures. They should never be considered as a shortcut or substitute for proper diet and exercise. Instead of drastic weight loss, the benefits of tummy tuck actually focus more on achieving a beautifully toned and contoured physique by eliminating the abdominal region’s unsightly bulges.

So, are there BMI requirements for tummy tuck? Ideally, a tummy tuck candidate should have achieved a stable weight. Suppose you are eyeing a tummy tuck surgery to get the sexy silhouette you’ve always wanted. In that case, you must be almost at your target body weight and maintain it post-surgery, as any fluctuations can reverse or affect the results of your operation.

Woman in workout clothes with a measuring tape around her waist

You No Longer Have Any Plans to Conceive in the Future

While it’s completely possible and safe to conceive after a tummy tuck, it’s important to understand there are no guarantees that the procedure’s results will be preserved post-pregnancy. This is because technically, a tummy tuck is a purely cosmetic surgical procedure and therefore, it does not interfere with a woman’s fertility or capacity to bear a child. Nevertheless, we always recommend that clients wait for at least six to 12 months before getting pregnant after tummy tuck surgery to allow the body to heal completely.

When a woman gets pregnant, her body goes through an extensive list of gruelling physical changes, including gaining weight and expanding her midsection to accommodate a growing baby inside of her womb for nine months. When this happens, the muscles tightened by the initial tummy tuck surgery will separate, and the skin around the stomach area will stretch and sag again. In short, it’s going to reverse the body contouring effects of your previous tummy tuck.

For practicality concerns, we tell our clients that the best time to get a tummy tuck is when they have personally decided that they are finished building their family and have no more plans of getting pregnant in the future. Usually, women in their 40s and 50s make the best tummy tuck candidate.

You Must Have a Realistic Expectation of the Results

Although tummy tuck procedures offer impressive results, they have limitations.

  • A tummy tuck is not going to improve the appearance of stretch marks or cellulite.
    For this, your plastic surgeon may recommend minimally invasive cosmetic treatments like chemical peels or laser skin resurfacing techniques.
  • It is going to leave a permanent surgical scar
    Your scar’s size and type will depend on the kind of tummy tuck surgery. Rest assured your surgeon will create incisions that will be well hidden in the natural creases of your skin, and the scar will fade over the years.

    Nevertheless, if you have reservations about surgical scars, you may not be a suitable tummy tuck candidate. Do not hesitate to bring this up with your plastic surgeon during your initial consultation so he can help you accordingly by explaining the procedure and the strategic placements of the incisions or recommending alternative non-surgical treatment plans to achieve your aesthetic goals.
  • It involves significant downtime for a couple of weeks.
    A tummy tuck may be an outpatient procedure, but it’s still a surgical operation that requires at least several days or up to a week of complete bed rest. We recommend our clients arrange for a family member or a caregiver for the first 24 to 48 hours to assist you as physical movements will be limited during this time.

    Everyone’s healing process is different and may vary depending on the extent of the operation. For instance, a mini tummy tuck recovery may be more manageable compared to a complete tummy tuck with liposuction.

Tummy tuck before and after image

Get Your Tummy Tuck at McLean Clinic

Find out if you are a suitable tummy tuck candidate by scheduling your free consultation with us. Take the first step to getting the body you deserve by booking an appointment with our very own Dr. Hugh McLean.

January 15, 2021
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