Everyone—no matter what they weigh—wants to invest in themselves and improve their confidence. While we wholeheartedly support this endeavor, we also feel it’s important to educate our patients about the ways in which body weight can affect the outcome of plastic surgery. Certain procedures aren’t as effective when used on heavier individuals, while others present a higher risk of complications. This isn’t to suggest that plastic surgery is only appropriate for thin people; on the contrary, some procedures (like fat transfer) actually require a bit of excess fat. Patients should just bear in mind that many treatments are intended for use on individuals who are within about 25-30 pounds of their goal weight. Approaching a healthy weight—even if you can’t slim down completely—can do a lot to ensure you have a safe and satisfying aesthetic journey.
3 Reasons to Reach a Healthy Weight Before having Plastic Surgery
1. You’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of body contouring.
Body contouring procedures, like liposuction, are designed to “spot reduce” stubborn fat deposits. Plastic surgeons can’t remove more than about ten pounds of body fat at one time for safety reasons (doing so could send the body into shock), so heavier individuals usually won’t see dramatic results after having surgical fat removal. Once you’re close to your goal weight, however, liposuction can help you shed those dreaded “last ten pounds” and give you a lean, sculpted physique.
2. Cellulite treatments will work better on you.
Though excess fat does not cause cellulite, it does place additional stress on the skin, and that exacerbates cellulite symptoms. The weight of subcutaneous fat stretches the weak bands of collagen (called fibrous septae) that cause cellulite’s hallmark dimples and bumps.
Many treatments that improve cellulite symptoms, like Vanquish, are designed to non-surgically remove some subcutaneous fat while also increasing collagen production. However, RF frequency therapies, like laser and fat-freezing procedures, can only remove about 24% of the fat in treated areas. This makes Vanquish highly effective when used on slimmer individuals, but only moderately effective when used on people with significant fat deposits.
3. Your risk of certain complications will be lower.
Though being slightly overweight won’t significantly increase your risk of surgical complications, being obese has been linked to poor surgical outcomes. Research has shown that obese patients face a higher risk of poor wound healing (including infection, reopening of the wound, and tissue death). Obese patients are also more likely to have common health conditions, like diabetes and heart disease, that make invasive surgery of any kind more dangerous. Experts recommend that obese patients reach a BMI of 29 or less before having elective cosmetic surgery.
At the Grace Clinic, we understand how challenging weight loss can be. If you’re struggling to reach a healthy BMI, feel free to ask Dr. Grace for advice on how to design (and stick to) a diet plan. We’re here to help, no matter what you need in order to pursue your cosmetic goals.