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Do I Need to Lose Weight Before My Plastic Surgery Procedure?

A woman measures her waist while contemplating a tummy tuck.

Skin is skin and fat is fat—but sometimes it can be hard to tell. Loose skin can occasionally look like fatt because it takes up more surface area than tight skin. However, don’t be fooled into thinking you need to lose more weight before committing to plastic surgery. Many patients come to Denver area office thinking they’re a few pounds off, but they’re actually more than ready to complete their body transformation.

Losing Weight Before Plastic Surgery

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 creates 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 complications with healing and anesthesia. If you fall into that category, we will discuss those potential risks during your consultation. It is our policy to not operate on persons with a BMI over 39.

What Causes Skin Laxity?

The degree to which our skin reacts to trauma is often genetic. However, dramatic changes like pregnancy and major weight loss often require procedures like a mommy makeover to correct. Losing 30 pounds or more can change your skin’s ability to retract. Skin quality is damaged after gaining and losing weight several times.

In the image below, the patient had no change in weight after surgery, however, she appears to be much thinner. 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 woman 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.


When Is the Right Time for Cosmetic Surgery?

Often, patients find us during their weight loss halfway mark. For instance, a patient may have lost 60 pounds and need to lose 60 more. She will have much better results and fewer complications if she is within 10 to 15 pounds 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 are the top priorities within our clinic.

Ready for the Next Step?

If you’re ready for a mommy makeover or other plastic surgery procedures, our Denver area doctors are here to help. Request a consultation online to learn more about your cosmetic surgery options.

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