The Importance of Weight Loss Before Surgery

By Dr. Darshan Shah

Thank you very much for choosing our office for your plastic surgery procedure. One of the core values of our practice is to become your friend and partner in your life changing surgical procedure. Our practice philosophy is to emphasize to you that plastic surgery is the end, or the icing on the cake if you will, of your transformation- not the beginning. It is of utmost important that you be close to your ideal body weight before doing surgeries such as liposuction or a tummy tuck to achieve ideal results.

At our practice, we use a sophisticated analysis system of making recommendations for weight loss before surgery. One of the best indicators of whether or not you are ready of plastic surgery is your BMI, or Body Mass Index. (See table below) BMI is a standard height to weight ratio useful for classifying risks associated with weight. The World Health Organization (or WHO) developed this system to help people gain an understanding, in part, of where a person’s weight should be for optimal surgical results.

It is important that you understand that if your BMI is 30 or above, you will not have the best results from your procedure. An ideal BMI for surgery would be 28 or less. In the case of an abdominoplasty, a high BMI makes it difficult for the surgeon to pull your belly as tight as possible. With liposuction, our maximum limits would be reached quickly, limiting the sculpting that could be done.

BMI Calculator

We want to be your partner and coach in attaining an appropriate BMI before you undergo surgery. Weight loss, in my opinion, can only be achieved with good dietary habits combined with aerobic exercise. It is very important that you follow a diet regime that is healthy and not a fad diet. In this way, you can maintain your healthy weight for the rest of your life.

Good diet regimens that I recommend can be found at and Also, don’t forget to take multi-vitamins and drink at least 8 full glasses of water every day.

Another very important aspect of weight loss is a good combination of aerobic and weight training exercise. Sticking to an exercise regime is very difficult. A few things to make it easier include: exercise with your significant other, go to a gym where you feel comfortable (an all woman’s gym or a gym with a pool to make it easier for your joints), and get a personal trainer who you enjoy working with. All these things in combination will ensure the success of you sticking to your workout routine.

Finally, it is very important that you see your primary care physician and get an evaluation. Sometimes latent diabetes or hormone disturbances in your thyroid or other glands can make weight loss extremely difficult. Have your physician examine you and order laboratory work that will “rule out” any hormonal issues that could sabotage your exercise routine.

I truly hope that we can help you get to a point where cosmetic surgery will give you amazing and long lasting results. Please, do not hesitate to come in any time for more advice, support and another chance to step on our scale and see how well you are doing in achieving your goals.

Content written and approved by Darshan Shah, MD Plastic Surgeon.

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