There many ways that can help you lose weight before surgery and maintain a healthy weight after it.
Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of complications associated with surgery such as poor wound healing, higher infection rates, and postoperative clots. If you are overweight, losing weight before your plastic surgery can help decrease these risks.
A healthy diet, a regular exercise routine, weight-loss medications, and bariatric surgery are all options that can help you reach a healthy weight before undergoing any kind of surgery, especially plastic or cosmetic surgery.
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon in Australia who has performed many surgeries on patients following massive weight loss and pregnancy.
Is It Necessary To Lose Weight Before Cosmetic Surgery?
It is often necessary for patients with a high body mass index (BMI) to lose weight before surgery. Being overweight or obese puts you at a higher risk of developing complications related to your surgery.
Overweight and obesity can increase the risk of several health problems, including:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Coronary heart disease
- Type II diabetes
- Many types of cancer (e.g.: Endometrial, liver, and kidney cancer)
Additionally, having a High BMI at the time of your surgery can:
- Prolong your surgery time
- Increase your risk of wound healing problems
- Increase your risk of postoperative infections
- Increase your risk of developing blood clots
Moreover, cosmetic surgeries, such as a tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty, liposuction, or body lift torsoplasty surgery, remove excess skin and fat from different areas of your body to reshape and sculpt your body.
That’s why weight loss is important before body contouring surgeries- it allows your plastic surgeon to remove as much extra fat and skin as possible. Therefore, the closer you are to your ideal weight, the more likely you are to get a satisfying outcome from your cosmetic surgery.
To sum it up, reasons to be at your goal weight before plastic surgery include less surgery time, less risk of surgery complications, and aiding the success of cosmetic outcomes.
Ways to Lose Weight before Surgery
Losing a significant amount of weight can be challenging, especially if you’re starting from a high body mass index.
There are several things that can help you lose weight before plastic surgery. The journey toward a healthy body weight almost always starts with a method we all know – dieting.
- Food rich in lean proteins
And limit your intake of foods rich in:
- Added sugar
- High levels of salt
- Refined carbohydrates
- Saturated fat
A healthy diet usually consists of:
- Plenty of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains
- Fat-free or low-fat milk and other dairy products
- Sources of lean proteins such as fish, peas, beans, lean meats, nuts, and seeds
- Food low in added sugar and sodium
Eating healthy is all about balance. You should still be able to enjoy your favourite types of food, just keep the servings small. Sticking to a balanced diet even after your surgery can help you keep the weight off and maintain your aesthetic results.
Combining a healthy diet with regular physical activity can help you improve your overall health, reduce your risk of serious disease, and improve the outcome of your cosmetic surgery.
You can start by exercising moderately and then move on to a more vigorous workout routine.
Examples of moderate-intensity physical activity include:
- Brisk walking
- Light bicycling
- Recreational swimming
Examples of more vigorous physical activity include:
- Fast bicycling
- Competitive sports (e.g.: basketball, football)
3. Weight loss medication
Sometimes, no matter how hard you exercise or how long you go on a diet, you’re still not able to lose enough weight before your body contouring surgery.
In these cases, your doctor might prescribe a weight loss medication or pills to help you lose weight and keep it off before your liposuction procedure or abdominoplasty.
Most weight loss meds work by decreasing your appetite, increasing your feeling of fullness, or both.
You may be prescribed weight-loss medication in case:
- You have a body mass index (BMI) > 30
- You have a BMI > 27 and you have a serious health condition associated with obesity such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes
In general, weight-loss pills or injections are not recommended if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant.
Studies show that if you combine weight-loss medication with a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine, you can lose up to an extra 7% of your total body weight.
4. Weight loss surgery
Weight-loss drugs don’t work for everyone. Some people are able to lose some weight with diet pills and exercise, but they’re still not able to get close to their goal weight.
Sometimes bariatric surgery is the only way to lose enough weight before your body reshaping surgery.
Different weight loss surgeries, known collectively as bariatric surgery, can get rid of extra fat that couldn’t be lost by workouts, diet, or weight-loss meds. These include:
- Gastric bypass: gastric bypass, also known as Roux-en-Y, is one of the most commonly performed weight loss surgeries that creates a small pouch in the stomach. The new stomach pouch is then directly connected to the small intestines. Consequently, the food you eat will go directly into the small pouch and then into the small intestines, bypassing most of the stomach
- Sleeve gastrectomy: a sleeve gastrectomy is another weight loss surgery during which around 80% of the stomach is removed laparoscopically. This will help restrict the amount of food you consume
- Gastric balloon: during an intragastric balloon placement, a small saline-filled silicone balloon is placed in the stomach. This will help you feel full faster and reduce the amount of food you can eat
- Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD/DS): this is a less common type of weight loss surgery that involves two steps. The first step is a sleeve gastrectomy. The second step connects the end portion of the intestine to the duodenum near the stomach. A BPD/DS reduces the amount of food you can eat and decreases the amount of fat and proteins absorbed by your body
Weight loss surgery can help you reduce your total body fat and decrease your calorie intake. After bariatric surgery, your body will start using your stored fat as a source of energy.
What Is the Right Way To Lose Weight Before Surgery?
The right way to lose body weight before plastic surgery is different from on person to another depending on:
- Your body mass index
- How your body responds to diet, exercise, and medication
- Whether you have pre-existing health conditions or problems
- Your preferred method of weight loss
If you’re close to your ideal weight but you still need to shed a few extra pounds, a healthy diet and a regular workout routine can be a great way for you to lose weight before your plastic or cosmetic surgery.
In case diet and exercise don’t work out for you and you still need to get rid of extra body weight, diet pills or injections can help you lose weight and keep it off before your body lift or tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty surgery.
If diet pills don’t work for you, bariatric weight loss surgery can offer you a way to reach a healthy body weight before undergoing plastic surgery.
Whether it’s by diet, exercise, diet drugs, or weight-loss surgery, losing weight can significantly improve your health, protect you from serious health problems, and set you up for the recovery period after plastic surgery.
FAQs about Losing Weight before Plastic Surgery
Is it better to lose weight before or after an abdominoplasty?
- An abdominoplasty is not a weight loss surgery. It can reduce excess tissue on the stomach by removing extra fat and skin following significant weight loss. Hence, it’s better to lose weight and get as close as possible to your goal weight before your tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty surgery. That way, your plastic surgeon will be able to remove the maximum possible amount of excess skin and fat. Moreover, if you lose a lot of weight after your abdominoplasty, you’ll have loose belly skin again which can compromise your cosmetic results. Therefore, it’s important that you lose the weight that you need before your abdominoplasty and maintain a healthy weight after your surgery.
What happens if you don’t lose weight before surgery?
- Not everyone needs to lose weight before surgery. People with a high BMI may be at a higher risk of infection, slow wound healing, and other complications from their surgery. Moreover, being obese or overweight before your cosmetic surgery can lead to poor aesthetic results. However, if you’re at a healthy weight or close to your ideal weight, you probably wouldn’t need to lose any before your surgery. If you’re unsure, it’s a good idea to speak to a qualified surgeon such as Dr Hunt who can let you know whether you will need to lose weight to be a candidate for surgery.
Do I need to lose weight before a Post Pregnancy Surgery?
- It’s always best if you’re at a healthy weight before getting any type of surgery, especially cosmetic surgery. A post pregnancy surgery addresses different areas of the body (the tummy, breasts) that were affected by weight gain especially after pregnancy. Being close to your goal weight before your post pregnancy surgery will help your surgeon create a surgical plan that suits you and your goal outcomes.
Further Reading about Body Procedures
- Read Dr Hunt’s Post Pregnancy Surgery page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Post Weight Loss Surgery page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Liposuction page
- Read Dr Hunt’s blog on How to Get Rid of Belly Fat
- See Dr Hunt’s Real Patients Before and After Photos
- Obesity as a surgical risk factor – PMC
- Association of Preoperative Body Weight and Weight Loss With Risk of Death After Bariatric Surgery
- Body contouring following massive weight loss – PMC
- Body contouring surgery in a massive weight loss patient: An overview – PMC
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Specialist Plastic Surgeon
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon performing breast, body, face and nose surgery in Australia. He is a member of FRACS & ASPS and has over 20 years of experience providing cosmetic and plastic surgery in Sydney.
Careful, considerate and honest, Dr Jeremy Hunt works with you to find a solution that is suitable for your body and your lifestyle. Every patient is unique and requires a personalised approach to reach their goals.
Dr Hunt has provided his one-on-one service and attention to detail to thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia.
Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education
Dr Jeremy A. Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of ASPS – the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. He completed a Fellowship at the University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from well-established and experienced plastic surgeons.
Next Step – Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Want more information before scheduling your consultation?
- Find out more about pricing, medical payment plans and paying for your surgery
- Request more information about the procedure – call on 1300 157 200 or contact us
If breast reduction mammoplasty is something you’re considering, Dr Hunt can thoroughly explain all the options to you in a one-on-one consultation.
- Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.