Before you make the decision for any kind of plastic surgery, you want to make sure you’re a good candidate for that procedure.
How do you know if you’re a good candidate?
There are several factors a plastic surgeon will consider. What is your general health like, do you smoke, what are your expectations. Non-smoking and good general health are always indicators for fewer complications during any kind of surgery, which of course is preferable. Your expectations are important so the surgeon can gauge whether you will be happy with the outcome.
Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck
The most irksome area for many of us is the abdomen. It just seems so hard to have a flat tummy, and diet and exercise alone often don’t work. What does work is using cosmetic surgery to remove belly fat and/or excess skin. It can be best achieved with liposuction (which there are various techniques for) or with a tummy tuck. Which one is preferable?
In most cases, it comes down to which of the two you’re a better candidate for. Younger patients and women who haven’t gone through pregnancy and childbirth tend to have more elastic skin. This helps the skin shrink back once the fat is removed with liposuction. Older patients, patients who’ve experienced drastic weight loss, or women who’ve had one or more children tend to have saggier skin that won’t shrink back even when fat is removed. Such patients will need a tummy tuck to remove the excess skin.
A plastic surgeon can help you choose the right procedure after a personal evaluation. However, it can be frustrating to spend time and money on a consultation only to find out that you’re not a good candidate for what you have in mind.
How to Calculate Your BMI
One of the quickest ways to know whether liposuction or a tummy tuck is best for you is to calculate your Body Mass Index or BMI. Measuring the BMI is an easy screening method to categorize a person by weight, from underweight to healthy, overweight, and obese. It is a simple calculation based on your height and weight.
BMI does not measure body fat directly but has enough correlation with more direct measures of body fat that it can be a useful indicator. And the great news is that you don’t have to see a plastic surgeon to figure it out. In fact, you don’t even have to leave your sofa.
So what’s your BMI? Let’s find out!
BMI Under 30
Congratulations! If your BMI is below 30, you are a good candidate for any kind of cosmetic surgery. Again, this doesn’t mean a plastic surgeon will invite you into their OR sight unseen. He or she will still want to evaluate you personally to rule out possible complications based on health issues, medications, smoking, etc.
But generally, a BMI under 30 is good news. In addition, it is especially well suited for minimally-invasive procedures such as liposuction and skin tightening. With your BMI, you are likely to see good results from both procedures. Liposuction will take care of your extra fat pockets, and adding BodyTite will help you tighten that skin even more.
BMI Between 30 and 40
With a BMI between 30 and 40 you may still qualify for liposuction, but you are likely to see much better results from a tummy tuck. Your overall weight is still low enough that your’e not likely to experience too many complications during surgery. This is good news. But your weight is high enough to indicate that your abdominal skin has been stretched quite a bit. With those numbers, it is very likely that you will experience moderate to severe sagging after the belly fat has been removed. You might go down a pant size or two, but you won’t like the way your tummy looks.
Another route you could take is to first bring down your weight to get closer to your target weight, and then have liposuction. The Orbera Gastric Balloon is an excellent option for you. It requires a little bit of time – 6 months, to be precise – but most patients see excellent long-term results from it.
BMI Over 40
Unfortunately, you are not an ideal candidate for either liposuction or a tummy tuck. In fact, most plastic surgeons are reluctant to take on patients with BMIs over 40 for any kind of procedure, due to the risk of complications discussed above. Even breast implant surgery could become more risky at such a high BMI.
What can you do? We advise patients with BMIs of over 40 to enroll in a weight loss program and contact us again when they’ve been able to get their BMI in the target range. However, we realize that not all patients are the same, and individual circumstances differ. If you are in a borderline range from 40 to 42, please contact us for a pre-screening. By asking a few more questions, or consultant can determine whether a meeting with a plastic surgeon is warranted.
We hope we’ve helped you understand how to calculate your BMI and to get a better idea whether liposuction, a tummy tuck, or even a gastric balloon is the right procedure for you. Get started by scheduling a consultation with a plastic surgeon in Nashville or Memphis.