A huge proportion of Australians are overweight, or obese. Many of us struggle to be the weight we would like to be – and the weight that is medically healthy.

Recent findings by Johns Hopkins Research found that obese patients are 12 times more likely to have complications than those who are a healthy weight. These risks included increased anaesthetic risks, inflammation, infection and pain.

This statistic is obviously concerning, but according to Dr Nicholas Moncrieff, a Specialist Plastic Surgeon at Hunter Plastic Surgery, it has real implications for those seeking plastic surgery procedures.

“Given that the procedures I perform are elective, not emergency, it would be negligent of me to operate on patients when the risks are so much higher due to weight” explained Dr Moncrieff.

Excess Weight Impacts the Final Result of Plastic Surgery

According to Dr Moncrieff, patients who have surgery when they are carrying excess weight have higher rates of unwanted repercussions. These can include delayed wound healing, wound breakdowns and excessive scarring. Given people undergo plastic surgery to improve their aesthetic appearance – this is not a result that Dr Moncrieff is prepared to risk for his patients.

What Weight is the Ideal for Plastic Surgery?

Given everyone has a different body shape and height, the best way to measure a health weight is your BMI (Body Mass Index). According to Dr Moncrieff you would want to be at or below a BMI of 30.

“Due to the risks of surgery, I do not operate on patients with a BMI of 30 or over,” said Dr Moncrieff.

Remember, the closer you are to your ideal weight, the less risks are involved in undergoing surgery – and the better your results.

What About Being Underweight?

A potential patient that is underweight is also at greater risk of complications, compared to someone within a healthy weight range. The other factor is some patients that are underweight could be suffering from an underlying health condition.

“I do not operate on patients with a BMI lower than 18.5 unless there are exceptional circumstances,” explained Dr Moncrieff.

Patients that have Lost a Lot of Weight

This is a wonderful achievement, but some patients can be left with lots of extra skin and tissue and this can throw out their BMI number. For these people, Dr Moncrieff suggests that you contact the Practice Manager at Hunter Plastic Surgery to review photos before they can able to book a consultation.

Medicare Item Numbers and Eligibility

Medicare item numbers to help with post-weight loss surgery require your weight to be stable for at least six months. The rules for rebates from Medicare and funds can change a lot and without notice! So, understanding them as they apply close to your planned surgery is really important.

Avoid Large Weight Fluctuations After Surgery Too

If your weight shifts significantly, this can cause the internal tissue to sag and the skin to lose elasticity. After breast and body surgery, such as a Mummy Makeover, it is important to try to maintain a steady weight within 5 kgs of your pre-surgery weight if you want to preserve the outcome of your surgery.

For some body contouring surgeries, Dr Moncrieff may also have removed another 5-10 kgs. So, in these cases, you need to maintain your new ‘normal’ weight. For example, if on the day before surgery you were 80kg and Dr Moncrieff removed 10kg, you should aim to keep your weight around 70kg. This will maximise the longevity of your surgical results.

In the above example, if your weight creeps up to 80kg again, it will mean all areas of your body look bigger, including where you had treated. This may result in your tummy looking very tight and ‘barrel like’ as the internal fat levels increase and other body areas looking much larger than they used to.

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