How to Lose Weight Before Your Plastic Surgery and Why You Should

  • Are you planning to have cosmetic surgery?
  • Would losing weight help you get a better surgical result?
  • Do you need to lose some weight before the procedure?

Learn more about the best ideas and tips to shed some excess weight before your surgery to achieve your desired aesthetic results and lower your risk of complications.

If your surgery is not urgent, it may be beneficial for you to shed some kilos first to lower your risk of surgical complications and 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.

Who needs to Lose Weight before Surgery?

If you are obese or are significantly over a healthy body mass index (BMI), 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?

The following are the common complications that you may experience if you have a very high BMI or unhealthy weight:

  1. Delayed wound healing: Your surgical wound requires a healthy blood flow so that it will receive adequate oxygen and nutrients that are 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.
    1. In a study of obese individuals, researchers found that obesity-induced macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies can delay the wound healing process. [1]
    2. 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. [2]
  2. Increased incidence of infection: Evidence suggests that obese individuals are more prone to infection, which can delay the wound healing process.
    1. 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. [3]
    2. In another study, a strong association between obesity and the risk of skin abscesses, respiratory tract infections, and urinary tract infections was found. [4]
  3. Problems with anesthesia medication: Excess fatty tissue can interfere with the delivery of the anesthetic medication. In addition, your surgeon may find it difficult to locate the veins needed for the administration of the medication.
  4. 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. [5]
Lose Weight Before Your Plastic Surgery Blog Image- Person on Weighing Scale with Tape Measure

What can you do to help Reduce Weight before your Surgery? 

The following are effective strategies that can help promote weight loss before your scheduled 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. [8] 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 because they provide the same food volume and with lower calories. Research has shown that an increased intake of non-starchy vegetables was associated with a reduced prevalence of weight gain. [6]
  • 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 yogurt 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 [7], 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 fiber 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 it also burns harmful visceral fat (abdominal fat). [9] This type of fat is associated with a wide array of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

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 for more resources for weight loss.


  1. Pierpont YN, Dinh TP, Salas RE, et al. Obesity and surgical wound healing: a current review. ISRN Obes. 2014;2014:638936. Published 2014 Feb 20. doi:10.1155/2014/638936. Retrieved from
  2. Wilson JA, Clark JJ. Obesity: impediment to postsurgical wound healing. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2004;17(8):426-435. doi:10.1097/00129334-200410000-00013. Retrieved from
  3. Goldman RJ. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for wound healing and limb salvage: a systematic review. PM R. 2009;1(5):471-489. doi:10.1016/j.pmrj.2009.03.012. Retrieved from
  4. Harpsøe MC, Nielsen NM, Friis-Møller N, et al. Body Mass Index and Risk of Infections Among Women in the Danish National Birth Cohort. Am J Epidemiol. 2016;183(11):1008-1017. doi:10.1093/aje/kwv300. Retrieved from
  5. Apovian CM, Gokce N. Obesity and cardiovascular disease. Circulation. 2012;125(9):1178-1182. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.022541. Retrieved from
  6. Nour M, Lutze SA, Grech A, Allman-Farinelli M. The Relationship between Vegetable Intake and Weight Outcomes: A Systematic Review of Cohort Studies. Nutrients. 2018;10(11):1626. Published 2018 Nov 2. doi:10.3390/nu10111626. Retrieved from
  7. Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp-Plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(5):1558S-1561S. doi:10.1093/ajcn/87.5.1558S. Retrieved from
  8. Davy BM, Dennis EA, Dengo AL, Wilson KL, Davy KP. Water consumption reduces energy intake at a breakfast meal in obese older adults. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108(7):1236-1239. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2008.04.013. Retrieved from
  9. Slentz CA, Aiken LB, Houmard JA, et al. Inactivity, exercise, and visceral fat. STRRIDE: a randomized, controlled study of exercise intensity and amount. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2005;99(4):1613-1618. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00124.2005. Retrieved from

Dr Patrick Briggs FRCS (Plast) – Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne

Dr Patrick Briggs offers high quality, natural-looking plastic and cosmetic surgery results and is vastly experienced in BreastBody and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice. 

With worldwide expertise, Dr Patrick Briggs is practising breast, face and body surgery for men and women in Melbourne, VIC.

Next Steps to find a top Plastic Surgeon

Want more information about your Procedure?

  • For more information about pricing and payment methods, please visit our page on Surgery Payment options.
  • Talk to our Patient Care Team from 8 am – 6 pm Monday to Friday on 1300 264 811.

What to Bring to your Plastic Surgery 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 your Initial Consultation

  • Dr Briggs Consultation fee is $300.
  • A referral from your GP or your specialist is helpful but not essential.
  • To claim any medicare benefits or Health Insurance for reconstructive plastic surgery you will need a referral.
  • Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery today to book your consultation.

*Disclaimer: Individual results can vary significantly from patient to patient. The information we provide is general.  For further information on what to expect for your preferred procedures, arrange to see one of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons for a full history and surgical consultation.

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