Gaining Weight After a Tummy Tuck: What You Need to Know

Woman stepping onto a scale

Tummy tuck surgery is a transformative procedure that sculpts and tones the midsection. It is often used after pregnancy or significant weight loss to get rid of loose skin and unwanted fat. However, many patients worry that gaining weight after their tummy tuck will ruin their hard-earned results. It’s true that putting on pounds can change your new look—but there are ways to prevent this from happening.

All humans have natural weight fluctuations, but it’s useful to know the connection between weight gain and tummy tuck surgery. We offer our Roswell and Atlanta, GA, patients the following tips:

How Tummy Tuck Surgery Works

A tummy tuck is a plastic surgery procedure that cuts away unwanted skin and fat from the lower belly and flanks. The procedure begins with your doctor making a low hip-to-hip incision across the bikini line area. Using this incision, they can remove fatty tissue and pull loose skin into a firm, taut position. Other body contouring procedures, such as liposuction, are often combined with the procedure. 

Tummy tuck incision options including a full tummy tuck incision or a mini tummy tuck incision

Because a tummy tuck is a more extensive surgery, patients need around 10 to 14 days to recover. The results are long-lasting, and the removed fat cells won’t grow back—but remaining fat cells may expand and the skin may re-stretch if you gain a large amount of weight. 

Gaining Weight After a Tummy Tuck

Patients may gain weight after their tummy tuck for a variety of reasons. By understanding how weight gain happens in the first place, you can do a better job of avoiding these pitfalls. 

Lifestyle

The most common culprit of unwanted weight gain is simply unhealthy lifestyle choices. Eating high-calorie foods while living a sedentary lifestyle can cause you to gain weight quickly. If you want to maintain a slim, lean figure, there’s no replacement for a balanced diet and regular exercise. No matter how many plastic surgery procedures you decide to undergo, establishing healthy habits is the best way to look and feel your best. 

Hormones

Your hormone levels fluctuate throughout the course of your life, starting first in puberty. They can also change depending on your diet, genetics, or age. If your hormones are unbalanced, your body may gain weight at a dramatic rate. If exercise and healthy eating aren’t enough to correct the problem, try talking to a doctor to see if you can be tested for a hormonal condition. 

Stress

Stress puts pressure on nearly every part of your body and nervous system. It often causes people to eat more and sleep less—two things that both contribute to weight gain. Stress can also cause hormonal issues like the ones mentioned above. If you’re going through a tough patch, try activities such as exercise or journaling to help put your system back in alignment. 

Post-Surgery Water Retention

Surgery puts a lot of strain on the body as it attempts to recover and heal. Sometimes water is retained in the spaces between your organs, leading to a bloated appearance. Swollen hands and feet can be a sign that you need more time to naturally process these fluids. Try to stay active and carefully follow any post-op instructions given by your doctor. 

What Happens Next?

Gaining a handful of pounds after your procedure won’t compromise your final tummy tuck results. You can usually fluctuate within 10 to 15 pounds of your goal weight without any significant issues. However, weight gain over the 15-pound mark can cause skin and abdominal muscles to slowly stretch out of place. This can create a belly bulge and impact the elasticity of your skin. 

In severe cases, you may need tummy tuck revision if you are unable to lose the new weight. Revision surgery is typically more complicated than the initial procedure, so try to avoid this last-chance solution. Instead, we encourage our patients to lead healthy, active lifestyles after surgery and avoid any major lifestyle changes. 

Before-and-after tummy tuck photos

How to Maintain Your Best Tummy Tuck Results

Want to enjoy your tummy tuck results for years to come? Here are a few easy ways to protect your new look.

  • Eat nutritious foods: One of the best ways to avoid unwanted weight gain is to eat healthy, balanced meals. Remaining at a steady weight will help maintain your surgery results, so be sure to incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables into your diet. 
  • Exercise often: Calories in, calories out! Exercise burns off excess calories while also toning your muscles. In addition to helping with general weight loss, exercise can also help you grow a stronger core and give your body the support it needs. 
  • Finish having children: Tummy tuck surgery won’t affect your ability to get pregnant, but pregnancy can certainly change your body shape. Wait to have tummy tuck surgery until you’re sure you’ve finished growing your family

Gaining weight after a tummy tuck isn’t ideal, but there are plenty of ways to correct course and maintain your results. Request a consultation if you would like to learn more about your tummy tuck surgery options from experienced cosmetic surgeons in the Atlanta area.

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