Patients sometimes ask us if there is a cut-off age for a tummy tuck. They are worried that they are perhaps too old for tummy tuck surgery. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are still young and not done having children yet, is it too early for a tummy tuck? The NuBody Blog has the answers.
What Does a Tummy Tuck Do?
A tummy tuck (also called abdominoplasty) is a cosmetic surgery procedure to remove excess skin and fat from your abdomen to give it a flat, and tight, appearance. If necessary, the plastic surgeon also repairs the underlying abdominal muscles in case they are weakened or spread apart.
While a tummy tuck is a surgical procedure, it has become a relatively easy outpatient operation with a well-hidden scar and a fast recovery. It is typically performed under IV sedation, similar to what patients receive during wisdom teeth removal or a colonoscopy.
How to Determine if You’re a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck
Even if you might think so, age is not actually the leading factor for a plastic surgeon to determine whether a patient is a good candidate for a tummy tuck. Much more important than your age is your physical condition.
Your overall health and weight are the two things a plastic surgeon will look at to determine whether you should undergo a tummy tuck. You could be in your 30s and obese, or you could be in your 60s and in relatively good shape, dieting and exercising regularly, with just a few unsightly fat pockets or folds of excess skin around your abdomen. The second version of you is by far better suited in the eyes of a cosmetic surgeon. Other factors such as whether you’re a smoker or non-smoker also play an important role.
Not all patients wishing for a flatter stomach may be best served with a tummy tuck. Check with your plastic surgeon if BodyTite is for you, a minimally-invasive procedure that achieves 35-45% skin tightening without the surgery. If your BMI is above 40, your plastic surgeon may encourage you to first undergo a weight-loss treatment like the Orbera Gastric Balloon to bring it down.
Tummy Tuck Surgery After Childbirth to Repair Abdominal Muscles
A big reason women choose to have a tummy tuck is their changed body after pregnancy and childbirth. Even if you diet and exercise to regain your pre-pregnancy body, your abdominal muscles can be affected in a way that diet and exercise alone can’t fix. The muscles can weaken and even spread apart during the strain of pregnancy, so that even if your skin shrinks back to your thinner contours, there remains a bulge in your abdominal muscles – the same muscles men so proudly call their “six-pack.”
When you are done having children is an excellent time to consider a tummy tuck. Your body is now what it is, and you don’t run the risk of your surgery being “undone” by another pregnancy. This doesn’t mean that your decision is an irreversible verdict on your future family. It is entirely possible to become pregnant and have children after a tummy tuck. Your surgeon just won’t be able to guarantee that your stomach will regain its flat shape post-childbirth.
After pregnancy and childbirth is also an excellent time for women to combine a tummy tuck with a breast augmentation for a mommy makeover procedure.
A Tummy Tuck After Weight Loss to Remove Excess Skin
Another reason for a tummy tuck often becomes apparent in middle age: your skin loses its elasticity over the years, or perhaps you’ve undergone substantial weight loss. In either case, you may have flabby skin that no amount of dieting and exercise can take away. This can be frustrating and decrease your morale in taking care of your body for your overall health. A tummy tuck at that stage is a great way to make you feel better about yourself and continue to pursue a healthy lifestyle.
Please note that a tummy tuck is not just for women. Men can – and more and more often do – improve their lives by choosing to have abdominoplasty. Women often rely on liposuction to remove their “subcutaneous” fat (something liposuction is very good at). Men, on the other hand, more often than women have what’s called “visceral fat” that cannot be reached with liposuction. Therefore, a tummy tuck can be even more impactful for men.
Results and Recovery After a Tummy Tuck
It is important to note that each patient’s results will vary. We have served a wide variety of patients of different ages whose results can be seen in our Tummy Tuck Before and After Gallery. In general, younger patients benefit from their skin’s elasticity to make for good looking results, but that doesn’t mean an older patient’s results can’t also be stunning.
Younger patients also benefit from their body’s ability to recover quickly, whether it is from any kind of trauma like a broken bone, or surgery. On the other hand, your results are greatly determined by how diligently you adhere to the post-op guidelines. This is something we have found older patients to be particularly good with. It can be hard to abstain from heavy lifting, for example, if you have small children in your home.
Regardless of whether you’re male or female, or whether you’ve given birth or are childless, there is no cut-off age for a tummy tuck. There are many reasons why it makes particular sense for older patients to seek out a tummy tuck as a means to feel good and confident about their body. However, the best time for a tummy tuck is when you feel ready for one!
And the important thing is that you are conscious about your overall health and take care of your body by not smoking, by exercising and moving regularly, and by observing a healthy diet.