Most plastic surgeries are elective procedures. However, don’t be misled by the word “elective”: a cosmetic procedure is a real surgery, make no mistake. To undergo any elective aesthetic surgery, you must be in good physical health. But what if you want to have a cosmetic procedure, yet you’re not at an ideal weight? Is plastic surgery safe if you’re overweight?
Many studies have shown that overweight and obese patients are at greater risk of developing complications after surgery. Compared to normal-weight patients, rates of heart attack and infection are higher when obese people have surgery. So it’s always best to have your weight in a normal range when you have cosmetic surgery.
Let’s look at the definition of “overweight” and then review some healthy ways to achieve a goal weight. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has an easy way to express the relationship between an adult’s height and weight: your body mass index (BMI). You can use the NIH’s online calculator to find your number. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is normal.
Healthy non-smokers with a BMI in the normal range experience fewer complications from surgery. Someone with a BMI of 25 to 30 is considered overweight and a BMI over 30 is categorized as obese. Most Plastic Surgeons recommend that patients who are considering plastic surgery have a BMI below 30.
If your BMI is above 30 and you want to reduce your weight, you should plan to achieve your goal in a healthy way. First, exercise should be part of your life. When exercise is coupled with a sensible eating plan, the two work together better than either one alone. In fact, any plan to lose weight to have plastic surgery should involve both exercise and nutrition. Remember that your goal is not just to be slimmer, it’s to be in great health for surgery and optimal recovery.
Thirty to forty-five minutes of moderate exercise, like walking or biking, four or more days a week, works great. If you’re saving up for a procedure, don’t feel obligated to spring for a gym membership or expensive exercise equipment; you can begin by simply walking around your neighborhood. Consult a nutritionist, rather than resorting to the latest diet fad, for guidelines on how to eat. You want to be sure that you are not starving your body of the nutrients that it needs.
It’s ideal to be as close to your goal weight as possible before looking into plastic surgery. When your weight has become stable and exercise is a regular part of your life, you’ll be a better candidate for safe cosmetic surgery. As part of his commitment to his patients, Dr. Buford has recently developed a supplement plan for his plastic surgery patients to help them be at optimal health prior to their procedures. Come in for a consultation so the two of you can discuss whether you’re ready for cosmetic surgery.