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How do I know if I need to lose weight before my Cosmetic Surgery procedure?

Skin is skin and fat is fat. When the skin is loose it can be hard to identify which is which. How do you know the difference? Loose skin may look like fat because it takes up more surface area than tight skin. However, do not be fooled! You may have already accomplished the hardest part of your transformation by losing enough weight that Cosmetic Surgery now makes sense. Do not trick yourself into thinking you need to lose more as that lax skin is deceiving. In the image below, the patient had no change in weight after surgery, however, she appears to be much thinner:

Weight loss is not needed before Tummy Tuck or Body Lift surgeries if you are at a normal, healthy BMI (Body Mass Index). BMI calculates a person’s body fat based on his or her height and weight. See your BMI in the chart below:

Stretched-out skin from weight gain causes skin redundancy or excess. Tummy Tuck, Body Lift, Breast Lift and Inner Thigh Lift surgeries are procedures meant to manage skin laxity; not fat loss. Therefore, it is extremely important to be at a healthy BMI before having these procedures to avoid complications. Anything that puts you in the “overweight” category puts you at a greater risk for healing and anesthesia complications. If you fall into that category, we will discuss those potential risks during your consultation. It is our policy that we will not operate on persons with a BMI over 39.

What causes skin laxity?

The degree in which our skin reacts to trauma is often genetic. However, the most dramatic insults causing the body to need Mommy Makeover surgery are pregnancy or a significant weight loss. Losing 30 pounds or more can change your skin’s ability to retract. Skin quality is damaged after gaining and losing weight several times.

The woman in the above image is at ideal weight. You can see her natural shape behind the loose skin. No amount of exercise will help tighten the skin on her abdomen. In fact, she probably feels frustrated after hard workouts as her muscles are hidden by the drape of skin covering them. This women doesn’t need weight loss. She won’t benefit from Liposuction as she has excess skin, not fat. She requires a Tummy Tuck to manage her loose skin.

Often, patients find us during their halfway weight loss mark. For instance, a patient may have lost 60 lbs. and need to lose 60 more. She will have much better results and fewer complications if she is within 10- 15 lbs. of her weight loss goal as more skin can be removed when it isn’t filled with excess fat. Drs. Wolfe, Vath, and Steinwald set reasonable expectations during the consultation process so that patients understand the best time to schedule their surgeries to obtain optimal results. The Medical Director of our surgical facility, Anesthesiologist Dr. Hopkins, works hand-in-hand with our surgeons and nurses to make sure our patients’ health and safety is the number one priority within our clinic.

Kari Roland
Patient Counselor

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