Changes to AHPRA Cosmetic Surgery Regulations, as of July 1 2023, Learn More

Coco Ruby

Our Blog

Our Coco Ruby Skin Clinic team will ensure you receive exceptional customer service with a smile while visiting us at our Melbourne clinic. Please phone us on (03) 8849 1400 to schedule an appointment.

How To Lose Weight Before Your Plastic Surgery and Why It Could Be Important

Are you planning on having cosmetic surgery? Would losing weight help you get a better surgical result? Do you need to lose some weight before your plastic surgery procedure?

Learn some tips for losing weight before surgery to lower your risk of complications during and after surgery.

If surgery is not urgent, you may want to shed some pounds first. Not only can this lower your risk of surgical complications, but it can also speed up your recovery.

Your weight can significantly impact the outcome of cosmetic surgery, whether it’s a breast augmentation or an abdominoplasty.

Who may need to lose weight before plastic surgery?

Individuals categorised as “obese” face a higher risk of various health issues, such as heart and lung diseases, skin conditions, and chronic ailments. These challenges may include joint pain and reduced mobility, which can be attributed to excessive weight.

A Body Mass Index (BMI) exceeding the “healthy range” often signifies an accumulation of excess body fat. Being overweight or obese increases susceptibility to conditions like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, obstructive sleep apnea, gastrointestinal problems, and several types of cancer.

For those with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9, falling within the normal range, cosmetic surgery can be an option. However, individuals with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 (overweight) or 30 and 39.9 (obese) might need weight reduction to achieve their aesthetic goals. Beyond cosmetic concerns, shedding excess weight also diminishes the risk of surgical complications.

Please note that many plastic surgeons prefer patients to have a BMI below 30 or 35, while almost all surgeons refrain from operating on individuals with a BMI exceeding 40. In such cases, referrals to Obesity or Bariatric Surgeons for procedures like sleeve or bypass are typically made.

What are the surgical complications associated with being overweight or obese?

Common surgical complications if you have a high BMI or unhealthy weight include;

Delayed wound healing

  • Surgical wounds require healthy blood flow.
  • 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.
    • In a study of obese individuals, researchers found that obesity-induced macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies can delay the wound-healing process. [1]
    • Whilst, 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]

Increased incidence of infection

  • Evidence suggests that obese individuals are more prone to infection, which can delay the wound-healing process.
  • 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]
  • In another study, a strong association between obesity and the risk of skin abscesses, respiratory tract infections, and urinary tract infections was found. [4]

Problems with anaesthesia and medications

  • Excess fatty tissue can interfere with the delivery of the anaesthetic medication.
  • In addition, your surgeon may find it difficult to locate veins to administer medications.

Increased risk of cardiovascular problems, pulmonary embolism (PE) or heart attack

Obesity entails a heightened risk of cardiovascular problems, pulmonary embolism (PE), or heart attack due to the additional strain it places on your heart. In this context, your heart has to work considerably harder to maintain equilibrium within your body.

During surgical procedures, the use of anaesthesia coupled with this elevated cardiac stress amplifies the likelihood of experiencing a heart attack or chest pain. Alarming research findings further underline the association between obesity and adverse cardiovascular outcomes.

One study reported that obesity is correlated with premature atherosclerosis, characterised by the accumulation of plaque in the coronary artery. This contributes to an increased susceptibility to myocardial infarction (heart attack) and heart failure while also diminishing overall survival rates. [5] These findings underscore the critical importance of addressing obesity as part of your surgical planning to mitigate these serious health risks.

What can you do to help lose weight before plastic surgery?

The following are strategies that can help promote weight loss before 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 with non-starchy vegetables. They provide the same food volume just 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, suggesting that it can reduce your food intake. [7]

Eat foods rich in soluble fibre

Consuming black beans, lima beans, avocados, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, turnips, broccoli, kidney beans, and pears can help reduce your food intake. This is because soluble fibre 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 not only reduces your body weight but 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.

You might be planning plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures, only to discover that you will need to adjust your weight before you can have surgery. Losing weight can even be required before having bariatric surgery or liposuction.

Why getting a healthy weight is necessary for successful surgery

Attaining and maintaining a healthy weight is pivotal when considering any form of body surgery. Being significantly overweight or bordering on obesity can compromise both the quality of surgical results and elevate the inherent risks of the procedure. In addition to this, bariatric surgeries like gastric sleeves or gastric bands, although effective in shedding excess weight, might not lead to complete weight loss.

You should strive to reach a stable and sustainable weight, a prerequisite for scheduling surgeries like body lifts and body shaping procedures.

To become a potential candidate for surgery, one must take proactive measures to shed those extra kilos. Building a Support Team is often beneficial, consisting of motivating family members or friends, a supportive general practitioner (GP), a knowledgeable nutritionist, a psychologist, and other coaches who can provide guidance and encouragement throughout the process of adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Do you need to be at an ideal weight (or goal weight) before proceeding with surgery?

If you are planning on plastic surgery after losing weight – either on your own or through the help of bariatric surgery – you will likely need to plan your surgical journey to be adequately prepared. Body shaping can take several years and require several different procedures.

Dr Craig Rubinstein can help you create a custom surgical plan.

How does a person become obese?

Obesity is usually caused by the consumption of excess food or an under-expenditure of calories.

  • It may also relate to:
    • Genetic traits
    • Metabolic dysfunction
    • Chromosomal disorders
    • Sedentary lifestyles
    • Emotional problems
    • Hormonal problems
    • Certain medication effects
    • Or, a long-term lack of regular exercise.

It is much easier to gain weight than to lose it!

Sit-down jobs do not assist us in our goals to lose weight before plastic surgery. In fact, they increase our risk of weight gain and unhealthy eating patterns.

Diet – rather, your nutritional intake – along with regular exercising – can help you to lose weight before plastic surgery somewhat easily when you start using reasonable meal portions, drink plenty of water, and cut back on foods that are laden with calories but little actual nutrition.

What about those last 10 kilos to lose weight before surgery?

Those last 10 kilos are often very difficult to lose. This can be a result of multiple factors, one of which could be that you have lost weight so now your calorie intake is too high which has resulted in a stall on the scale.

However, we tend to get caught up in the actual number on the scale, but having a healthy BMI and a good muscle-to-fat ratio is more important.

If you’re tracking your weight changes in kilos, it seems the first 10 kilos tend to come off somewhat fast, and then every subsequent 10 kilos takes a bit longer. Every stage seems to slow down a bit. Then, when you reach the last 10 kilos, it seems almost impossible to shift, despite your efforts.

This is often the case even for those with a gastric sleeve, gastric band surgery, and other measures that limit your intake of food. It seems for most of us, the last stubborn kilos are the hardest to shift. But the good news is, it’s not impossible. It may just take a bit more patience and dedication over time.

Non-surgical weight-loss techniques to lose the last 10 kilos – Tips from a Nutritionist

Get more sleep

Most of us need at least 8-10 hours of sleep every night. Research has shown that sleep helps to burn more calories. When we lack sleep, we often eat more and have a slower metabolism. This combination means we often gain weight (or stop losing weight). When you sleep, your metabolism is improved and your appetite or hunger seems more easily regulated.

Eat healthy whenever you’re hungry

Whenever you’re hungry, always aim to eat something nutritious and healthy. Try a combination of healthy fats, vegetables and a protein source (fish, meat, or non-meat-based protein options). Not only will this balance help your hunger, but it will also make you feel fuller for longer.

No liquid calories

You have to cut down all your liquid calories. Say goodbye to all your aerated drinks, soft drinks, mixers, and alcoholic drinks so that you don’t get unnecessary calories. Try swapping to plain water whenever you can – or try healthy liquid alternatives such as coconut water, fresh fruit juice, and herbal teas like green tea or peppermint tea. Be sure whatever you are drinking isn’t laden with hidden added sugar. Avoid most pre-packaged juices (laden with sugar or preservatives) and smoothies made with milk-based products as they often have extra calories you’re not counting on.

Do not stop exercising

Exercise helps you to stay fit and prevents you from gaining the weight that you have lost. At the same time, it is very important not to overdo the workout. When you feel that the weight is not being lost, you need not work out more strenuously in order to make it happen. Just continue with your regular workout regimen or even swap your workouts around. Instead of adding in extra workouts, try swapping things around, for example, swap jogging with a cycle or yoga class or even some laps down at the local pool.

If you exercise more than you should, your body will be fatigued which can lead to muscle weakness and tiredness which can easily lead to cravings and food binges.

Eat healthy snacks

When people are able to lose the initial few kilos, they think that they have earned themselves the right to indulge in some sugary snacks, fried foods, or desserts. The way around this is to only eat healthy snacks, such as nuts, fruit, dried fruit, porridge, or salads.

Don’t be disheartened

Don’t lose hope if your weight loss suddenly slows down – or seems to stop – at a particular number on the scale. Losing your first 10 kilos or more is usually much easier than you first thought because making changes can make a major difference. But then it can become challenging. In spite of all your efforts, if the weight doesn’t seem to budge for you, keep going. Mix up your exercising, find a new distraction, and start paying attention to what foods seem to stall your weight loss and which ones help.

Remember, even small lifestyle changes towards healthier eating and portion control and regular exercises (such as walking and counting steps) can have a cumulative effect over time. So don’t despair if it’s slower than you wished it would be. Slower more gradual weight loss is often more sustainable than rapid as you change your habits and create a healthier lifestyle.

Unanswered Questions?

Need help choosing a surgeon? For further information, please email. You can also talk to a Patient Care Advisor who can answer your questions from 8 am-6 pm Monday through Friday at (03) 8849 1444.

References

  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 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3950544/
  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 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15492679/.
  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 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19627935/.
  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 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27188940/.
  5. Apovian CM, Gokce N. Obesity and cardiovascular disease. Circulation. 2012;125(9):1178-1182. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.022541. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693443/.
  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 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6266069/.
  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 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18469287/.
  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 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18589036/.

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 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16002776/.

Specialist Plastic Surgeons and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeons are dedicated to best-practice patient care and education, customising Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

Dr Craig Rubinstein
Dr Broughton Snell
Dr Stephen Kleid
Dr Gary Kode

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001124843

Dr Craig Rubinstein

Dr Craig Rubinstein is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon based in Hawthorn East, Melbourne. With over 20 years of surgical experience especially in all areas of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, but particularly in breast surgery. These include Breast Augmentation and Breast Reduction as well as Breast Surgery Revision.

Furthermore, he believes that surgical customisation, precision planning and technical expertise help him to provide optimal surgical outcomes for his patients.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001190266

Dr Broughton Snell

Dr Broughton Snell is a Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His training in Plastic Surgery took place in Australia and the United States of America (USA).

Dr Snell is a fully qualified specialist plastic surgeon having completed his Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon MED0001052799

Dr Stephen Kleid

Dr Stephen Kleid is an experienced Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon (Otolaryngologist) based in Melbourne with a passion for Septo-rhinoplasty, Septoplasty, as well as, a strong interest in Rhinoplasty Revision.

Dr Kleid trained at Melbourne University, then completed surgical training at various hospitals including Royal Melbourne, Royal Children’s, The Eye and Ear and St Vincents. He worked as a surgeon at the University of Florida Medical school for further experience.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001405964

Dr Gary Kode

Dr Gary Kode is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, with experience in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as non-surgical treatments.

Dr Kode is a member of several organisations, including the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), The International Confederation for Plastic and Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, and he holds a Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday - Friday.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.

Start your journey

Book a Consultation

Our Practice

Hawthorn East

759 Burwood Road, Hawthorn East, VIC, 3123

Get Directions

Get in touch

Ask us a question

Reach out to us to secure your appointment.

  • Looking for before and after photos?
  • Want to know more about recovery times?
  • Wanting to find out costs?

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.