The Ideal Tummy Tuck Patient

Dr. Wayne Yamahata

Thinking of a tummy tuck in Sacramento? Let’s start with candidacy. As with all plastic surgery procedures, tummy tuck is a customized procedure that’s about much more than simply flattening the abdomen. Every procedure is a little bit different—but every patient also has a few predictors of the most successful outcome.


Although this certainly isn’t unique to tummy tuck surgery, it may be the most important factor in determining surgical safety. By now, it’s impossible to be ignorant to the negative health effects caused by smoking in general. But smoking soon before or after surgery can cause a variety of problems in the operating room and during recovery, too.

The ingredients in cigarette smoke constrict blood vessels. After a tummy tuck, this means that affected tissues don’t receive the nutrients and oxygen they need to heal. Any procedure that requires making a skin flap, including tummy tuck, is doubly dangerous for smokers because the affected skin can actually die after surgery, causing a host of other complications.

At the bare minimum, patients who smoke should quit at least 3 weeks prior to surgery and avoid smoking for at least 2 weeks after surgery. You can learn more about smoking and its effects on surgery from the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Not Diabetic

Uncontrolled diabetes can put tummy tuck patients at a higher risk of complications, both during and after surgery. If you do have diabetes, it’s important to ensure your blood sugar is properly managed before undergoing elective surgery. You may also require clearance from your primary care doctor.

Maintainable Weight

Rather than tirelessly pursuing an “ideal” weight, it’s more important that patients demonstrate they’ve achieved a healthy weight they can easily maintain (i.e., doesn’t fluctuate). Gaining or losing significant amounts of weight after your surgery can alter your results.

Belly Pouch With Sagging Skin

Tummy tuck surgery isn’t intended to be only a fat removal procedure. Instead, one of the hallmarks of this surgery is its ability to reduce unwanted skin, something that can only be accomplished through surgery. If your concern is primarily fat, liposuction may be a better option. You can see examples of the types of patients who achieve terrific tummy tuck results in our before-and-after photo gallery.

Overall Good Health

This is a prerequisite of any sort of elective surgery. By resolving any serious medical conditions before surgery and being honest with me about your medical history, you can do your part to ensure a smooth experience.

This separate blog post can help you form realistic expectations about tummy tuck surgery and recovery. If you want to see the improvements possible from a tummy tuck, visit my before-and-after photo gallery to view real results of some of my actual patients.

If you’d like to find out if you’re a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery, request a consultation online or call my plastic surgery office at  (916) 929-1833.

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