Most tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) patients have lost significant weight following pregnancy, bariatric surgery, or lifestyle changes but found that their skin no longer has the elasticity to retract to their smaller shape.
The surgery aims to remove this sagging, lax skin, repair the abdominal muscles, and sculpt a sleeker midsection. How does this affect your clothing size or the number on the scale? Read on to find out what you should know about weight loss after a tummy tuck.
What a Tummy Tuck Is (and Isn’t)
A tummy tuck is a body contouring surgery that removes excess skin around the abdomen and repairs the underlying musculature if it has stretched or separated (a condition called diastasis recti).
It is not a weight loss surgery or intended to remove large quantities of fat—though small amounts can be suctioned out with liposuction.
How Much Weight Do You Lose with a Tummy Tuck?
Individual results will vary, but most patients will lose 3 to 5 pounds after the excess skin is removed. If liposuction is used to complement the abdominoplasty, this number may increase slightly based on how many areas of the body are contoured.
That being said, the more important consideration isn’t weight but volume. The tummy tuck will give you a smoother, sleeker abdomen that will no longer occupy as much space in your clothing. Patients can generally expect to drop 2 to 3 pants/dress sizes after their procedure.
I encourage patients to focus more on how satisfied they are with their new body proportions than on subjective measures such as clothing sizes (which aren’t standardized) and what the scale says (as it won’t capture the full picture of your health or surgical journey).
What Can I Expect After a Tummy Tuck?
The initial recovery period following a tummy tuck is 2 to 3 weeks and typically involves surgical drains, compression garments, and movement restrictions as the tightened skin and muscles relax and your body heals.
Patients may feel disappointed at their immediate postoperative size, not realizing how much swelling is actually present. Your results will reveal themselves over time as this swelling dissipates. Some people will experience varying degrees of swelling for several months after their tummy tuck.
Factors Affecting Weight and Size Loss
Each patient’s results will vary due to differences in body weight, composition, and the extent of correction required. Genetics, pregnancy, previous surgeries, and lifestyle choices may affect the patient’s “before” surgery state, but crucially, they also play a large role in how well the results are maintained “after.”
Eating a nutritious diet, adhering to a consistent exercise routine, maintaining a healthy weight, and waiting until after you are done having children can all help you enjoy your slimmer body indefinitely.
A tummy tuck sculpts the midsection by removing excess skin and correcting the lower belly “pooch” caused by separated abdominal muscles. While minor weight loss is to be expected following your surgery, the better marker of success should be your self-confidence and your improved body proportions.
As this procedure covers both cosmetic and functional concerns, it is especially important to work with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has the rigorous training and demonstrable skill and expertise to give you the safe, superior outcomes that you deserve.
If you are interested in taking the next step, I cover how to prepare for your tummy tuck procedure in a related blog post. I also encourage you to view my gallery of before-and-after photos to see for yourself how transformative an abdominoplasty can be. Please request a consultation or call our office at (205) 933-9308 to get in touch. We can’t wait to hear from you.