Are you planning on having cosmetic surgery? Would losing weight help you get a better surgical result? Do you need to lose some weight before your plastic surgery procedure?
Learn some tips to losing some excess weight before your surgery to not only achieve the aesthetic results you desire but also lower your risk of complications during and after surgery.
If your surgery is not urgent, it may be beneficial for you to shed some kilos first. This can lower your risk of surgical complications and also speed up your recovery. Whether it’s a breast augmentation or a tummy tuck, your weight can significantly impact the outcome of your cosmetic surgery.
Download the guide on Losing weight before Surgery
Who needs to Lose Weight before Surgery?
Obese people are at a higher risk of suffering from heart and lung diseases, skin diseases and other chronic conditions. This includes joint pain and reduced mobility due to being dangerously overweight.
If you have been obese or are significantly over a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI), you will have excess fat accumulated in your body. Being overweight (or obese) leaves you prone to developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, obstructive sleep apnea and gastrointestinal problems. It even puts you at higher risk for various types of cancers.
If you are obese you are at risk of developing fatal postoperative complications during and after your surgical procedure. If your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, you are an ideal candidate for surgery since this score is considered normal.
However, if your BMI is between 25 and 29.9 (overweight) or between 30 and 39.9 (obese), you may need to reduce your weight in order to achieve your desired aesthetic goals. In addition to cosmetic purposes, losing weight also lowers your risk of complications.
NOTE – Many plastic surgeons prefer a BMI of less than 30 or 35. Nearly all Plastic Surgeons won’t operate on patients with a BMI above 40. They get mostly referred to Obesity or Bariatric Surgeons for a sleeve or bypass.
What are the Surgical Complications associated with being Overweight or Obese?
Common Surgical complications if you have a high BMI or unhealthy weight include;
Delayed wound healing
- Your surgical wound requires a healthy blood flow so it receives the adequate oxygen and nutrients necessary for the regenerative process.
- Excess fat can place additional tension on your blood vessel which can impair blood circulation in the surgical wound. This ultimately delays the wound healing process.
- In fact, there are studies that associate obesity with poor wound healing.
- In a study of obese individuals, researchers found that obesity-induced macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies can delay the wound healing process. 
- Whilst, in another study, obese individuals were found to be at higher risk for delayed wound healing due to impaired blood circulation that occurs in fat tissue. 
Increased incidence of infection
- Evidence suggests that obese individuals are more prone to infection, which can delay the wound healing process.
- A study reported that hypovascularity (blood vessel deficiency) in obese individuals increases the risk of infections by decreasing the migration of immune system cells into the wound area. 
- In another study, a strong association between obesity and the risk of skin abscesses, respiratory tract infections, and urinary tract infections was found. 
Problems with anaesthesia medication
- Excess fatty tissue can interfere with the delivery of the anesthetic medication.
- In addition, your surgeon may find it difficult to locate veins to administer medication.
Increased risk of cardiovascular problems, pulmonary embolism (PE) or heart attack
- Your heart needs to pump blood harder than normal if you are obese. As a result, your heart is working double time in order to maintain homeostasis (balance).
- During your surgical procedure, the use of anesthesia and this added stress can significantly increase your risk of heart attack and chest pain.
- In fact, a study reported that obesity is associated with premature atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the coronary artery), increased risk of myocardial infarction and heart failure, and decreased survival rate. 
What can you do to help Lose Weight before your Plastic Surgery?
The following are effective strategies that can help promote weight loss before your surgery:
Drink water right before your meal
In a study of older adults, drinking 500 mL of water right before a meal reduced food intake.  The mechanism behind this is that drinking water could help fill you up, resulting in a feeling of fullness.
Have smaller servings by using smaller eating utensils
The size of your eating utensils (plate or bowl) can impact your food consumption. The smaller they are, the lesser your food intake is. (Put away the big bowls & plates)
Consume non-starchy vegetables
During your meals, replace half the starch or protein with non-starchy vegetables. They provide the same food volume just with lower calories. Research has shown that an increased intake of non-starchy vegetables was associated with a reduced prevalence of weight gain. 
Include protein-rich foods in every meal or snack
Including foods rich in protein such as; almonds, chicken breast, oats, cottage cheese, quinoa, lean beef, broccoli, and yoghurt in every meal or snack can help you achieve your weight loss goals. A study found that the consumption of protein-rich foods was associated with increased satiety , suggesting that it can reduce your food intake.
Eat foods rich in soluble fiber
Consuming black beans, lima beans, avocados, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, avocados, turnips, broccoli, kidney beans, and pears can help reduce your food intake. This is because soluble fibre slows the movement of food through the gut, which increases your satiety.
Exercise – Jog or run at least 4 times per week
Running or jogging does not only reduce your body weight but also burns harmful visceral fat (abdominal fat).  This type of fat is associated with a wide array of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
You might be planning plastic surgery or cosmetic procedure, only to discover that you will need to adjust your weight before you can have surgery. Losing weight can even be required before having Bariatric Surgery or Liposuction.
Why is that? If you are too far over your ideal weight before any form of body surgery or bordering on obesity, you won’t tend to get a great result. Surgery also carries higher risks if you’re not at a healthy weight yet. Additionally, Bariatric Surgeries such as a gastric sleeve or gastric band procedures can help you lose a lot of your excess weight, but not all. So you’ll need to try to lose weight yourself, beforehand. You’ll also need to reach a stable, readily maintainable weight before scheduling additional surgery such as body lift and body contouring procedures.
If you want to become a Surgical Candidate with the best chances of good surgical outcomes – and minimal surgical risks – you’ll need to take some personal steps to release those excess kilos.
You may find that you’ll do better if you get a Support Team behind your efforts. This can include motivational family members or friends, a caring GP, a Nutritionist, a Psychologist and other coaches who can help you stay on track when making major lifestyle changes.
Do you need to be at an ideal weight (or goal weight) before proceeding with your surgery?
If you are planning on plastic surgery after losing weight – either on your own or through the help of Bariatric Surgery – you will likely need to plan your surgical journey to be adequately prepared. Body Contouring can take several years and require several different procedures, some of which can be combined and others that may best be done independently (such as an Arm Lift procedure). Dr Patrick Briggs can help you create a custom body shaping surgical plan to get you where you want, in terms of firmer contours and less redundant skin after weight changes.
But it still helps to have realistic expectations of what surgery can – and cannot – do for your body. That often means you’ll need to get your body more fit and healthy before you can consider further surgery to reduce stubborn fat or redundant skin folds.
How does a person become obese?
- Obesity is usually but not always – and often not solely – caused due to consumption of excess food or and under-expenditure of calories.
- It may also relate to;
- Genetic traits
- Metabolic dysfunction
- Chromosomal disorders
- Sedentary lifestyles
- Emotional problems
- Hormonal problems
- Certain medication effects
- Or, a long-term lack of regular exercise.
Sadly, it is much easier to gain weight than to lose it!
Sit down jobs do not assist us in our goals to lose weight. In fact, they increase our risk of weight gain and unhealthy eating patterns. Here are 6 Tips on How To Lose Weight Before Plastic Surgery.
Diet – rather, your nutritional intake – along with regular exercising – can help you to lose weight somewhat easily when you start using reasonable meal portions, drink plenty of water, and cut back on foods that are laden with calories but little actual nutrition. If you begin to exercise regularly and start eating healthily, reasonable portion sizes, stay hydrated and cut out soft drinks, you’ll likely find you’ll reduce your weight significantly and somewhat readily. Learn more about the Best Diets to Help you Lose Weight.
What about those last 10 kilos to lose weight before surgery? Why are they so difficult to shift?
Those last 10 kilos are often very difficult to lose. This can be a result of multiple factors, one of which could be that you have lost weight so now your calorie intake is too high which has resulted in a stall on the scale.
However, we tend to get caught up in the actual number on the scale but having a healthy BMI and a good muscle-to-fat ratio is more important.
If you’re tracking your weight changes in kilos, it seems the first 10 kilos tend to come off somewhat fast, then every subsequent 10 kilos takes a bit longer. Every stage seems to slow down a bit. Then when you get to the last 10 kilos it seems almost impossible to shift, despite your efforts.
This is often the case even for those with a gastric sleeve, gastric band surgery and other measures that limit your intake of food. It seems for most of us, the last stubborn kilos are the hardest to shift. But the good news is, it’s not impossible, it may just take a bit more patience and dedication over time.
Some of us may need body lift surgery to remove redundant skin and fat from certain areas of our bodies after significant weight loss.
Since any surgery that a person undergoes can have a number of complications as well as long periods of downtime, many people opt for non-surgical weight loss techniques. And even patients who use Bariatric Surgery to treat obesity still need to manage weight loss by major lifestyle changes before AND after surgery.
Non-surgical weight-loss techniques to lose the last stubborn 10 kilos – Tips from a Nutritionist
Get more sleep
Most of us need at least 8-10 hours of sleep every night. Research has shown that sleep helps to burn more calories. When we lack sleep, we often eat more and have a slower metabolism. This combination means we often gain weight (or stop losing weight). When you sleep, your fat loss metabolism is improved and your appetites or hunger seems more easily regulated.
On the contrary, when you do not get enough sleep, your body produces hormones that leave you feeling hungrier more often. When you wake up sleep-deprived, not only is your fat loss decreased, you also feel hungry. Less sleep is a complete no-no when you’re trying to get healthy, control your portions and lose weight.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, it may be a contributing factor to your weight. Get tested to see if you are getting quality rest that gives you more control of your appetite.
Eat healthy whenever you’re hungry
Whenever you’re hungry, always aim to eat something nutritious and healthy. Try a combination of healthy fats, vegetables and a protein source (fish, meat or non-meat based protein options). Not only will this balance help to satisfy your hunger, but it will also make you feel fuller for longer.
No liquid calories
You have to cut down all your liquid calories. Say goodbye to all your aerated drinks, soft drinks, mixers and alcohol drinkes so that you don’t get unnecessary calories. Try swapping to plain water whenever you can – or try healthy liquid alternatives such as coconut water, fresh fruit juice, and herbal teas like green tea or peppermint tea. Be sure whatever you are drinking isn’t laden with hidden added sugar. Avoid most pre-packaged juices (laden with sugar or preservatives) and smoothies made with milk-based products as they often have extra calories you’re not counting on.
Do not stop exercising
Just because you’re not shedding any weight, do not stop your regular exercise. Exercise helps you to stay fit and prevents you from gaining the weight that you have lost. At the same time, it is very important not to overdo the workout. When you feel that the weight is not being lost, you need not work out more strenuously in order to make it happen. Just continue with your regular workout regime, or even swap your workouts around. Instead of adding in extra workouts, try swapping things around, for example; swap a long fast pasted walk or jog with a cycle or yoga class or even some laps down at the local pool.
If you exercise more than you should, your body will be fatigued which can lead to muscle weakness and tiredness which can easily lead to cravings and food binges.
Eat healthy snacks
When people are able to lose the initial few kilos, they think that they have earned themselves the right to indulge in some sugary snacks, fried foods or desserts. The way around this is to only eat healthy snacks, such as nuts, fruit, dried fruit, porridge or salads.
Don’t be disheartened – Don’t lose heart if your weight loss suddenly slows down – or seems to stop – at a particular number on the scale. Losing your first 10 kilos or more is usually much easier than you first thought because making changes can make a major difference. But then it can become challenging. In spite of all your efforts, if the weight doesn’t seem to budge for you, still keep going. Mix up your exercising, find a new distraction and start paying attention to what foods seem to stall your weight loss and which ones help.
Remember, even small lifestyle changes towards healthier eating and portion control and regular exercises (such as walking and counting steps) can have a cumulative effect over time. So don’t despair if it’s slower than you wished it would be. Slower more gradual weight loss is often more sustainable than rapid as you change your habits and create a healthier lifestyle.
Just follow our advice and foster as much patience and persistence as possible. Give yourself credit for how far you’ve already come in your weight change journey. Get good sleep and drink a lot of water to stay well hydrated.
If you’ve already lost weight and are wanting liposuction, a body lift or body contouring to help remove redundant skin, send an enquiry form today to start your journey towards a firmer and more natural-looking body shape.
Resources and Support for Losing Weight
- Are you planning to lose weight before your surgery?
- Want to know the right diet and exercise that will suit your body type and lifestyle?
- Need more help and support?
Visit the New Body Specialists website www.newbodyspecialists.com.au for more resources for weight loss.
Need help choosing a surgeon? For further information please email. You can also talk to a Patient Care Advisor that can answer your questions from 8 am-6 pm Monday through to Friday on (03) 8849 1444.
Dr Patrick Briggs
Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Melbourne
Dr Patrick Briggs is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon. Both he and his team are dedicated to excellence in patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.
Not only does he offer high-quality results he also offers natural-looking plastic and cosmetic surgery results. Furthermore, he is experienced in Breast, Body and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice.
How can we help?
Dr Briggs’ Patient Coordinators take pleasure in assisting you with any questions when considering a plastic surgery procedure. Please call the Hawthorn East clinic in Melbourne between 8 am – 6 pm on Weekdays.
Want more information about your Procedure?
What to Bring to Your Consultation
- If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
- Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
- You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.
How to Book a Consultation
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