BMI, Weight Loss & Cosmetic Surgery

Body Mass Index is one of the things considered to ensure patients are eligible for cosmetic surgery.

BMI, Weight Loss & Cosmetic Surgery

Weight can be a sensitive topic for many people and it can come as a surprise for many patients that their height and weight are taken into consideration for eligibility for cosmetic surgery.

As with any elective surgery, healthcare professionals go above and beyond to make sure patients are mentally and physically at their best prior to their procedure. One of the ways to ensure patients are physically fit for surgery is to measure Body Mass Index (BMI).

What is Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. It is a measurement used within the healthcare sector to indicate a patient's healthy weight. The BMI categories are as follows:

BMI Categories:

Underweight = <18.5

Normal weight = 18.5–24.9

Overweight = 25–29.9

Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Patients seeking cosmetic surgery are typically required by surgeons to have a BMI of 30 and below.

Preparing for surgery: BMI restrictions

Cosmetic surgery is elective which is why surgeons and hospitals go above and beyond to ensure the patient is mentally and physically at their best prior to their procedure. One of the ways this is done is by setting Body Mass Index (BMI) restrictions for surgery eligibility.

All our surgeons must ensure that the benefits of having the procedure outweigh any risks associated with surgery. Studies have shown that patients who have a BMI greater than 30 have an increased risk of complications occurring during and after the operation. The risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Issues with anaesthetic and airway management
  • Circulatory issues and blood clots
  • Wound infection and nerve injury

In order to prepare for having surgery, our surgeons recommend reaching a weight that complies with the BMI restrictions but is also an ideal and stable weight for you. This is important as any significant weight loss or weight gain after surgery can affect the overall results of the surgery. If patients are struggling to bring down their weight through diet and exercise, it is recommended they visit their local GP to discuss if there are any options available.

Surgery following weight loss

One study found that around 20% of obese and overweight people reduce their weight and maintain it for over a year. Add to this the fact that more and more bariatric surgeries are taking place, and you have a growing population of people who have lost substantial amounts of weight. However, there’s a seldom acknowledged side effect to weight loss that can prove extremely frustrating for those who experience it: loose skin.

Inspiring stories rarely mention that even though your body might drop impressive amounts of fat tissue, there aren’t many lifestyle changes that effectively combat the extra skin you’re left with once the weight is gone. Unfortunately, if you’ve worked hard to reach a goal, you may feel disappointed to discover that you still feel self-conscious about your body. No matter how lean and toned your muscles become, your hard work is hidden under the skin that has naturally stretched to accommodate your previous size.

Loose skin is a normal part of a body changing, but it can negatively impact your confidence or even overshadow the accomplishment of reaching your fitness goals.

There are many factors that affect skin elasticity, including how quickly you lost weight, genetics, sun exposure, general skin health, whether you smoke, and age since we all lose skin elasticity as we grow older. People also commonly experience loose, sagging skin on their belly and torso after pregnancy, and find that the excess skin remains even after the muscles have recovered and the excess weight has been lost.

Luckily, cosmetic surgery is an effective way to address loose skin after weight loss or change. There is a range of plastic surgery procedures designed to tighten, lift, and tone skin that can help you feel more comfortable in the body you’ve worked so hard for. Keep in mind, however, a majority of plastic and cosmetic surgeons recommend waiting at least a year after substantial weight loss before moving forward with surgery. This allows your weight to stabilise, which reduces the chances that your results will be impacted by any further significant weight changes after surgery.

Breast surgery and weight loss

Breasts can sag after weight loss because the ligaments supporting them become overstretched. Combined with less overall volume after weight loss, breasts may appear “deflated” and droopy. Your surgeon can discuss your options for restoring your shape, which can include excess skin removal, a breast lift, breast enlargement with an implant, or some combination of these procedures.

A breast uplift removes excess skin while lifting the nipples and breast tissue higher on the chest, providing an overall more youthful and perkier shape.

Breast enlargement can also address excess skin by restoring any volume lost during your weight loss journey. Considerable weight loss, pregnancy, and breastfeeding can all result in breasts that appear droopy and less full. A breast enlargement whether by implant or fat transfer can make the breasts appear fuller and firmer. An enlargement can also be combined with a breast lift to reposition the nipple and improve the overall shape by removing excess skin.

Body surgery and weight loss

Abdominoplasty, commonly called a tummy tuck can remove loose skin around the midriff and tighten the underlying muscles of the abdomen.

While diet can reduce excess fat tissue and exercise can tone the abdominal muscles, tightening skin that’s lost its elasticity is a little more challenging. Loose skin from pregnancy or drastic weight loss can leave the skin looking crepey but a tummy tuck can help firm the skin while also tightening the underlying ligaments and muscles to give the stomach a flatter, smoother appearance.

No two bodies are exactly the same, and weight gain and subsequent loss will affect everyone differently. If you’re interested in regaining body confidence and removing excess loose skin, a surgeon can recommend procedures that will help you achieve your goals, whatever they may be.

Face surgery and weight loss

Facelifts and eye lifts are just some of the other procedures that also remove excess skin from these parts of the face to provide a firmer appearance. Whether caused by pregnancy, breastfeeding, age or substantial fluctuations in weight, excess skin can be removed with the right procedure and help you feel even better in your body. You’ve done the hard work of reaching your goal weight, but if you have even further goals for your body, a plastic surgeon can help you get the body you feel most confident in.

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