Is there an ideal weight for plastic surgery?

This is a frequently asked question when wanting to perform a plastic surgery procedure, especially for patients who are overweight. Most of these people believe that surgery will be enough to achieve the desired look. There is no official rule or protocol on what is the ideal weight to undergo plastic surgery. However, there is a consensus among experts that the results are better when the person is close to their ideal weight and that obese patients are subject to more risks when undergoing surgery.

Considerations on the ideal weight for plastic surgery

The calculation of the Body Mass Index (BMI) can verify if the person is within the considered ideal weight according to their height, but it is not synonymous with current health. Therefore, the plastic surgeon can take into account other factors when evaluating a patient’s condition: gender, age, physical conditioning and body structure. That is, regardless of the result of the BMI (except if it falls under obesity), the general health conditions are always evaluated in order to make the decision to perform or not a procedure.

Plastic surgery does not have weight loss as a purpose in any of its procedures. The goal is always to improve the contour and body appearance. It is important to emphasize that the body to be improved is the one the patient actually has, and not the one he would like to have.

Therefore, there are some factors to consider about the ideal weight for plastic surgery:

  • Obesity or overweight are risk factors in any surgical procedure, as they can increase cardiovascular risk, make anesthesia difficult, and complicate healing, as excess fat puts tension on the skin and tissues. For a good result, the ideal is that there is enough leftover skin when performing procedures that involve its removal, such as a abdominoplasty;
  • When an overweight patient undergoes surgery, results are lost if she loses weight after the procedure (this occurs with breast lift surgery, for example). On the other hand, if there is weight gain, there may be an enlargement of the scars and the formation of stretch marks; We tell the patient that variations above 5 kg more or less will cause changes in the result, it is that after definitive weight loss, adjustments in the operated areas may be necessary if any discomfort arises.
  • In procedures that remove fat, there is the illusion that this, by itself, will reduce weight. THE MAXIMUM POSSIBLE WEIGHT REDUCTION IS 7  % OF BODY. In an abdominoplasty, for example, you can aspirate localized fat and remove excess skin, and even so, the patient’s weight will remain above ideal. There are limits on the amount of fat to be removed to ensure patient safety, as blood loss also occurs during surgery. Treating localized fat does not necessarily mean losing weight.
  • The main objective of surgery when performed on overweight patients is to improve body contour with procedures that have the greatest visual impact and on the patient’s self-esteem (eg, very large breasts and abdominal apron). The procedure will bring body relief, a visual impact and it is expected that this stimulus will be used by the patient as a booster for an improvement in the quality of food and for the regular practice of physical exercise.

In summary: not everyone needs to lose weight to undergo plastic surgery. The ideal weight is the one that the patient will maintain more easily (to avoid oscillations and the consequent loss of achieved results).

Such procedures require a team that is prepared and used to them so that everything goes as expected.

Therefore, more than simply resorting to plastic surgery, a person who wants to lose weight should seek a multidisciplinary treatment, which involves a balanced diet and the practice of physical activities. The surgical procedure will be the last step of this process, as a way to improve the contours of the body – results that, in turn, will need maintenance by the patient.

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