The lap band and other bariatric surgeries can help one achieve and maintain permanent weight loss, but they are designed for the morbidly obese with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater.
The tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), a procedure that’s available to a wider range of patients, has shown promise in permanent weight loss, especially for those who were overweight or obese before surgery.
A recent study found that not only was weight loss maintained a year after the tummy tuck but that the procedure also resulted in increased satiety, the sense of feeling full after eating. Removing fat cells from the abdomen may lead to reduced levels of hormones affecting appetite, according to the study. And as anyone who’s ever tried it knows, portion control is key to losing weight.
The study evaluated short- and long-term weight loss in 20 women undergoing tummy tucks; they had an initial average weight loss of five pounds due to the surgery. Fourteen of the women, who had BMIs of 24.5 or more at the time of surgery and were generally considered overweight, not only maintained the initial loss but shed some additional pounds as well. The study also found that sustained weight loss was more likely for women who had a greater amount of excess tissue removed at abdominoplasty.
Further research is needed to confirm these results. “Whether or not long-term weight reduction is associated with abdominoplasty has been little investigated and remained controversial,” observes Dr. Rex Edward Moulton-Barrett of Alameda Hospital in Alameda, California, who co-authored the study. So while a tummy tuck may help you obtain a flatter stomach, there’s no guarantee that the rest of the body will follow suit.