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I want to lose weight before my surgery, how close should I get to my goal?

This is a good question that I discuss with prospective cosmetic surgery patients almost daily.

The answer depends on a few things and is highly dependent on your starting point. Let me explain.

First, if you are within 5 to 10 pounds of where you would like to ideally be, I think you are fine. There is no reason to delay your procedure. The reason is because when we lose weight we do it from fat stores all over our body. So it’s not as though you are going to lose all 5 pounds from your breasts or tummy or thighs or whatever we are working on. You will lose it from all over and so this amount of weight loss isn’t going to change the shape of one particular area that dramatically.

Now, if you think that you are going to loose 15 to 20 pounds you should probably wait. It is safe to have surgery at this point but 20 pounds of fat is a LOT of fat. Fat as a tissue is not very dense, so 20 pounds of fat is a lot of bulk. For instance, when I do tummy tucks and take off that hand full of skin and fat  that lives from your belly button down to your pubic area, from hip to hip, that typically weighs 3 to 4 pounds, max! People are shocked to hear that, but it’s true. So, 20 pounds of fat coming off is like 5 of the lower tummy rolls being removed. That’s a lot, so folks in this category are better off dropping the weight. The weight loss probably won’t change the procedure we choose to do, it will change the specifics of what I do and you will look better after at a lower weight.

If you are 50-100 pounds overweight, we need to talk. Significant weight loss in this category is not common so you need to be honest with yourself as to whether you are really going to loose this weight or not. Weight loss of this magnatude requires a total change in how you eat, what you eat, and a regimented exercise routine. If that’s not realistic, we can proceed with surgery, if it is we need to wait.

If you are 100 pounds over weight Cosmetic Surgery is usually not an option. At this point, your risks for anesthetic and surgical complications start to really increase. In general, I think it is safer to delay until you are able to lower your body weight in order to maximize your safety and results.

Lee Corbett, MD



All posts on this blog are authored by Louisville, Kentucky body contouring surgeon Dr. Lee Corbett. Dr. Corbett specializes in cosmetic plastic surgery including facelifts, browlifts, blepharoplasy, Botox, Juvederm, Restylane, breast augmentation, breast lifts, breast reductions, body lifts, liposuction,  and tummy tucks.

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