Relationship between High BMI and Post-Operative Complications.
Before committing to any cosmetic surgery, patients should be in good physical and mental health. Preferably, they must be free of any active diseases or conditions that could make them unable to endure surgery and recovery period. According data published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2017, 39.8% of the U.S population over 20 years is currently affected by obesity. These statistics represent roughly 93.3 million of adults in America (1). “Normal” weight, “overweight” and “obese” are defined by the CDC using a formula that calculates Body Mass Index (BMI), which is based on people’s height and weight. A BMI range of 20 to 25 is considered as “normal”, a BMI of 25-30 is defined as “overweight”, and a BMI over 30 is technically considered as “obese”. Although the BMI calculation is not perfect (since it does not consider the differentiation between muscle mass versus fat mass), it constitutes a useful resource for plastic surgeons to predict the risks of surgery and the likelihood of optimal results.
It is worth noticing that the higher the BMI, the higher the risks of surgery. According to recent medical studies, a BMI higher than 30 is associated with an increased risk for wound complications, such a wound dehiscence (the wound opens along a surgical incision), infection, or tissue necrosis (caused by a lack of blood and oxygen to the tissue), among others. Many plastic surgeons consider a BMI above 30 to be in the range where surgery intervention should be delayed until weight loss is achieved. In this case, plastic surgeons might recommend patients to follow a weight loss program by a dietician and a customized exercise program by a professional trainer before undergoing a cosmetic surgery. This applies specially to patients who are undergoing procedures that include large incisions such as an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and reduction mammaplasty (breast reduction) surgery (2).
The final outcome that a patient can get is likely to be much better and aesthetically pleasing if his/her weight is in a better range. It’s highly recommended to be as close to your ideal weight as possible before committing to an aesthetic procedure. When your weight has become stable and regular exercise is part of your life, you will be a better candidate for safe cosmetic surgery. Moreover, implementing healthy eating habits and regular exercise (taking advantage of the increased metabolism after surgery) is essential to keep stimulating weight loss and maintain your wonderful results.
(1) “Adult Obesity Facts”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html.
(2) “Risks of Breast Reduction Surgery”. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. https://www.plasticsurgery.org/reconstructive-procedures/breast-reduction/safety