What’s the ideal weight for plastic surgery?
I get this question a lot from patients who are thinking about having breast and/or body contouring. It’s an important question and I am always glad to hear it because it tells me that the patient understands that weight fluctuations can make a difference in surgical outcome. Take Oprah for example. There have been times in her life where her weight has yo-yoed all over the place. Operating on her during these times would be like operating on a moving target. A great result seen two weeks after surgery could turn into a lousy or even bizarre result a few months hence if her weight went up or down 30 – 40 pounds.
Sooo……patients should be at a stable and sustainable and healthy weight prior to surgery. Did you notice that I did not say ideal? Ideal weight may be achievable for some patients but unless it is sustainable, I would rather operate on a patient who is a little bit or even quite a bit over their ideal as long as they are healthy.
Healthy is the key word here. If a patient is carrying a lot of excess weight and has type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and has trouble walking up a flight of stairs, that person is not healthy and should not be having elective surgery. That is the type of patient I will refer to a weight loss specialist. If on the other hand, the patient is carrying extra weight and does not have diabetes, high blood pressure and plays an hour of pickle ball every day, I have no problem doing elective surgery on them. And at the other end of the weight spectrum there are issues with being too thin. I screen carefully for patients with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia. Those conditions are serious illnesses and patients need evaluation, care and support – not plastic surgery. Thin patients who are well nourished and weight stable usually make excellent surgical candidates.
So as you can see, it’s not about the number on the scale or the BMI or the dress size. It’s about being healthy.
Thanks for reading! Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder