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Tummy Tucks for High BMI?

Reputable plastic surgeons generally warn that procedures like tummy tucks and liposuction should never be thought of as a form of weight loss. They are cosmetic procedures aimed at dealing with loose skin and fat pockets that no amount of exercise or low-calorie diets is going to banish. In fact, doctors will often turn away people with weight problems who want to simply have themselves vacuumed into thinness.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people whose BMIs (body mass indexes) are 30 should not consider tummy tucks (abdominoplasty). At least that’s the implication of a recent study in the April 2019 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Science Daily reports the study included 82 patients over a seven-year period and that both people with obesity-level BMIs and people with more average weights were included. Each of the participants elected to have abdominoplasty to improve the appearance of the abdomen. Other than the numerically obese group experiencing higher blood pressure – which one would expect with people with may have weight issues – the outcomes were the same. The lead doctor on the study is quoted as saying that “Abdominoplasty, with or without concurrent liposuction, in obese patients is a safe and effective procedure with similar perioperative complication rates as the non-obese patient population.”

It’s important to add that BMI’s are blunt instruments because they look only at weight, not muscle mass. Very muscular athletes can have the same BMIs as actually rotund people because of the fact that muscle tissue is far denser than fatty tissue. Obviously, every person is different and whether or not someone is a good candidate for a tummy tuck, with or without liposuction, is a highly individual matter. Even so, this study indicates that high BMI people who may be interested in tummy tucks to deal with loose skin should look into a consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon before ruling the matter out.

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