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Is Plastic Surgery a Solution for Obese Patients?

Posted October 7, 2021 in Plastic Surgery Candidates

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Carrying around a few extra pounds is common. In fact, according to 2017-2018 statistics by the CDC, obesity prevalence was over 42 percent in American men and women. 

Woman pinching oblique fat over her jeans.

Many people desire to lose weight. For some, this is for aesthetic reasons. Maybe they want to look better in their favorite date-night dress; maybe they want to flaunt their curves in a bikini; maybe they want to re-enter or rise up in their work industry and feel a fitter physique will help them accomplish that. For others, the desire to cut pounds is to improve their overall health. Statistically, men and women with higher BMIs are more prone to health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. 

Whatever the reason for wanting to cut pounds, men and women consider many options outside of the traditional diet and exercise route. And for some, that consideration leads to plastic surgery. 

Why Do People Consider Plastic Surgery to Lose Weight?

Body contouring plastic surgery, such as liposuction and tummy tuck surgery, reinvent the physique. These procedures remove excess fat, trim excess skin, and tighten the underlying tissues to provide a fitter, more defined, and healthier-looking body frame. 

Since these are surgical procedures, they don’t require a lot of grunt work for the patient. They go in; they have the surgery; they go home. So, in theory, plastic surgery should be the perfect answer for people wanting to get rid of their excess weight. However, in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

If you are obese (meaning that you have a higher BMI than what is considered normal and healthy), plastic surgery is not the one-step, solve-all solution. These procedures will not suddenly transform your body into being runway-ready. In fact, plastic surgery on obese patients may even prove to be slightly dangerous.

Why Does BMI Matter in Plastic Surgery Candidacy?

BMI are three letters thrown around a lot when discussing weight and health. This stands for body mass index, and even though many people are aware of what the name is, they are not as clear on what those three words mean. 

Your body’s BMI is a calculation of how much body fat you have. This is determined by your weight and height. While BMI calculations are not perfect (as muscle and bone density can slightly skew these numbers), they are a reliable, basic determination. 

What Does My BMI Number Mean?

Your BMI value will place you into classification from being underweight (a BMI under 18.5) to obese (a BMI over 30) to morbidly obese (a BMI over 35).

Illustration of body mass index (BMI) scale.

Where you fall in this category will help your plastic surgeon determine if you are a good candidate for plastic surgery. Traditionally, you are a candidate for plastic surgery if you have a normal or overweight BMI (under 30). 

Patients with a BMI above 30 (obese or morbidly obese) may be asked to lose some weight before considering their chosen procedure.

What Are the Risks of Plastic Surgery for Obese Patients?

Obese patients have a higher risk of complications during and after their surgical procedure. 

These include:

  • Blood clots
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Wound healing issues
  • Infections
  • Fatty liver
  • Sleep apnea

In addition to these health concerns, the higher your BMI, the less satisfactory your aesthetic results may be. 

While plastic surgery body contouring procedures can provide transformative results, they have their limitations on how much fat they can safely remove. Additionally, some fat areas common with obese patients are not safe to remove during a liposuction procedure. 

Therefore, even though you are putting the time and financial cost into plastic surgery, you may not see the transformation you hope for. 

Are You a Candidate for a Plastic Surgery Procedure?

To see if plastic surgery is right for you, contact Dr. Spies at the AZ Plastic Surgery Center. He will be able to determine if you are at a healthy weight and BMI for a successful and transformative plastic surgery process. Call us at (480) 359-1019 or fill out our online contact form.  

Contact Us Today

Dr. Spies is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and highly experienced in breast lift surgery for over 35 years. If interested in undergoing this procedure, please feel free to call 480-359-1019 to schedule a consultation.

Verified Realself

Dr. Spies' office is located in Paradise Valley, Arizona just adjacent to the Paradise Valley Cosmetic Surgery Center


Robert J. Spies, M.D.
5410 N Scottsdale Rd C 100
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Tel: 480-359-1019