It is a big decision to have a tummy tuck. Also an exciting one. The tightening of the muscle and skin can transform the shape of the body in the best way. The physical transformation can then restore a sense of self that a person has not had in a long time. These benefits can last a lifetime. And yet, because people who have abdominoplasty have often fought the good fight to lose weight and tone the midsection, there is also often some degree of worry about future weight gain. Patients who undergo body contouring procedures are fully informed about their procedure and the risks to their results. Weight gain is one of them. But what does that actually look like? What if you were to gain weight after your tummy tuck? We’ll discuss this concern here.
How Tummy Tuck Surgery Works
Abdominoplasty surgery, aka the tummy tuck, is a procedure that slims and sculpts the midsection. This may be from the bikini line to the belly button or it may go beyond that point when a full tummy tuck is done. The outpatient procedure can take a few hours. It involves an incision that runs from hip to hip. Through it, the surgeon pulls the skin and muscle taut, secures the new contour with stitches, and trims the excess. To the experienced plastic surgeon, abdominoplasty requires anatomical knowledge as well as an eye for balance and symmetry. To the patient, abdominoplasty represents a new start from a place of confidence. This is a place most do not want to lose, which is exactly why some worry about gaining weight.
Weight Gain After a Tummy Tuck
Throughout our lifetime, it is possible that we could gain weight and lose weight. Having plastic surgery does not change this. Several factors can contribute to this risk. They include:
- Hormones. Our hormones are chemical messengers that drive several physiological functions, including weight. This can be a difficult factor to control. However, it may be somewhat possible to manage hormone balance with a healthy diet and regular exercise. In some situations, it may be helpful to talk to a doctor about hormone testing and bioidentical hormone treatment to help maintain optimal balance.
- Lifestyle. By far, our daily habits are what cause us to gain or lose or maintain weight. This is good news because this is completely within our control. If you’ve had a tummy tuck, you may have already been through a weight loss journey, so you have a general idea of what to do. That said, keep in mind that the body changes with age. What we may need now to manage weight could be very different than what we needed 10 or 15 years ago. Now, your body may respond to intermittent fasting and whole foods rather than strenuous workouts. Your job is to get curious about where the biggest gains are to be found.
- Stress. We don’t often talk about stress management as an aspect of weight management, but we should. If you are committed to maintaining your healthiest weight, and shape, after a tummy tuck, you need to know what stresses you and how to manage it well. You don’t have to meditate to regain composure from stress. Your exercise habits may be sufficient. Some people need a walk outdoors, some talk to a trusted friend or therapist. When stress is something we manage well, our weight is less of a concern because we’re producing less stress hormone and should be sleeping better.
What if I Gain Weight After My Tummy Tuck?
If you notice that your shape is starting to change after your tummy tuck, try not to panic. Studies show that we can usually gain between 10 and 15 pounds before we enter into dangerous territory. After that point, the muscle and skin may begin to stretch and loosen. This could be more severe the older we get. To protect tummy tuck results, the best thing to do is visit dietary habits and lifestyle habits. If you’re at an age at which hormone disruption may be happening, talk to a doctor or educate yourself about natural ways to navigate menopause or andropause (for men). Usually, simple steps can bring weight back under control.
Our office in Campbell, CA serves patients throughout Silicon Valley. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Rosenthal, contact us at (408) 559-4700.