Many Women Have Long-Term Weight Loss Following Tummy Tuck Surgery

Many Women Have Long-Term Weight Loss Following Tummy Tuck Surgery

Posted on December 10, 2023

Long-Term Weight Loss Following ‘Tummy Tuck’ Revealed in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Study

Significant and lasting weight loss is a remarkable outcome observed in many patients, particularly those who were overweight or obese prior to their abdominoplasty (commonly known as a “tummy tuck”) surgery, as highlighted in a pilot study featured in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

The research, led by ASPS Member Surgeon Dr. Rex Edward Moulton-Barrett of Alameda Hospital and his team, suggests that long-term weight loss after abdominoplasty may be linked to an increased sense of satiety—the feeling of fullness after eating. The study also explores potential “neuroendocrine mechanisms” that could play a role in promoting weight loss after this surgical procedure.

Remarkable Sustained Weight Loss After ‘Tummy Tuck’

The investigation examined short- and long-term weight changes in 20 women who underwent abdominoplasty—a cosmetic surgical intervention aimed at removing excess abdominal fat and skin. On average, these women had approximately five pounds of abdominal tissue removed.

A year following the procedure, 14 of the women experienced enduring weight loss that exceeded the weight of the resected tissue. For patients with a preoperative BMI (Body Mass Index) of 24.5 or higher, long-term weight loss was maintained at one year, with an average reduction in weight amounting to 4.5 percent of their initial BMI. BMI categories include normal (18.5-25), overweight (25-30), and obese (30 or higher).

The remaining six women also encountered some degree of weight loss post-abdominoplasty. Nevertheless, a year later, they had regained weight and exhibited an increased BMI.

Notably, women with an initial BMI of 24.5 or higher, just under the threshold for being considered overweight, were more likely to achieve enduring weight loss. Among the 14 women who sustained their weight loss, only one had an initial BMI below 24.5.

Additionally, sustained weight loss was more prevalent among women who had a larger amount of excess abdominal tissue removed during the abdominoplasty procedure. Of the 14 women with lasting weight loss, 12 had more than 4.5 pounds of tissue resected.

The Role of a ‘Cosmetic’ Procedure in Weight Loss

Increased satiety emerged as a pivotal factor contributing to long-term weight loss, as reported by three-fourths of the women, who noted an increased feeling of fullness either after meals or throughout the day after undergoing abdominoplasty.

As obesity rates continue to surge in the United States, there is a growing demand for innovative treatments that facilitate and maintain weight loss. While gastric bypass and other bariatric surgeries have demonstrated lasting weight loss, these treatments are typically reserved for patients with morbid obesity (BMI of 40 or greater).

In contrast, abdominoplasty is accessible to a broader range of patients seeking to reduce the size and enhance the appearance of their abdomen. The potential for long-term weight reduction following abdominoplasty has been a relatively unexplored and debated topic until now, as acknowledged by Dr. Moulton-Barrett and his team.

This new study offers initial evidence that many patients experience lasting weight loss after abdominoplasty, particularly those who were overweight or obese prior to the procedure. The role of satiety, as well as the quantity of fat removed during surgery, appears to be significant contributing factors. The researchers posit that the increased satiety observed in their patients may be linked to changes in the neuroendocrine system. The removal of fat cells from the abdomen might result in reduced levels of hormones that regulate appetite and are secreted by adipose tissue. Nevertheless, further research is necessary to confirm this hypothesis.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a division of Wolters Kluwer Health.

For More Information on the Treatments and Procedures offered, contact award-winning Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Thomas Fiala at Fiala Aesthetics in Greater Orlando to Schedule Your Consultation:

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