Q: Dear Dr. Eppley, I am 32 years old and two years ago I weighed 220 pounds. By diet and exercise, I have been able to get down to 170 lbs and I seem to be stuck at this weight now. It won’t budge no matter what I do. The skin on my stomach is very loose and I have old stretch marks that I want removed. I want a tummy tuck but do I need to lose more weight before having surgery?
A: Your question is both a good and a common one. While many people have been successful with a fair degree of weight loss, they sooner or later ‘hit the wall’ and can just not lose anymore. Ideally, I tell my patients that if you are within 15 to 20 lbs of the weight they desire then a tummy tuck is reasonable. If you weigh much more than that then you should wait until you lose the extra weight so you do not create loose skin after surgery should you undergo more weight loss. Realistically, however, once the weight wall is hit for most people that is as far as they will usually get so that has to be taken into consideration. Most patients that I see for tummy tucks appear when they are frustrated with their ongoing lack of weight loss results. You should also understand that only the stretch marks from your belly button to you pubic hair line will be removed. Any stretch marks above the navel will still be present after surgery, they will just be moved lower to a new position below the belly button.
Dr. Barry Eppley