Who is a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is a way to remove unwanted skin from the lower abdomen. By the lower abdomen, generally we’re starting just below the belly button and going down to the area just below the underwear line. The primary candidate is someone who has excess skin, more so than someone who has extra fat.
Though a tummy tuck can get rid of fat and skin, the best candidates for tummy tucks have extra skin, loose skin, or stretch marks. Women who have had children are candidates simply because pregnancy causes stretching of that skin, and not all of it retracts back. In some cases, that which does retract back has been stretched to its point of failure; that’s what we know as stretch marks. There is really no treatment to treat stretch marks, other than removing them.
A tummy tuck is more of a contouring operation; we look to remove extra, unwanted skin and flatten the abdomen, tightening that area.
Traditionally the incision from a tummy tuck is from hipbone to hipbone. A postsurgical scar isn’t nearly as much of a concern for patients as the extra skin and stretch marks and problems that patients have before coming to us for surgery, and the scar can almost always be covered by your swimsuit.
There are a few things to consider when prepping for surgery. For a tummy tuck candidate who is not quite where they want to be from a weight loss standpoint, Dr. Merrick always recommends they go as far as they can with weight loss with diet and exercise. That will actually loosen up more skin as we reduce the amount of fat in the abdomen to allow us to get more skin off, and they get a better result if they are closer to that ideal. That doesn’t mean that there is a certain number or a certain amount of time that we have to wait, or a certain weight that a patient has to get to, but the goal is to try to optimize that as best you can.