Summary: Sometimes, surgery is a great way to fight obesity. For many people, bariatric surgery is a life-saving procedure. What’s interesting, however, is new research that seems to indicate that plastic surgery and obesity might not be the best combination in the world, and can lead to increased risks of complications and emergency room visits after your procedure. That said, plastic surgery is still remarkably safe—and you should talk to your plastic surgeon before making any decisions, rash or otherwise.
Links in Complications of Plastic Surgery and Obesity
Plastic surgeons have worked incredibly hard—an invested much research—at making their procedures lower risk. This makes sense. Elective procedures become much less enticing the higher the risk levels. In other words, breast augmentation is much less appealing when there’s a risk you’ll never wake up. Luckily, breast augmentation is an incredibly safe procedure. So, too, is something like a facelift. But it’s taken a while for plastic surgery to become as reliably safe as it is today. Even still, there’s no plastic surgery procedure that is not completely devoid of risk. That’s just how surgery is.
But that risk can change depending on who you are, it seems. For a long time, it was simply assumed that the older you were, the higher the risk. It makes sense on an intuitive level. But intuition does not always equal fact. Indeed, when researchers looked into the age factor, it didn’t seem to impact the overall complication rate—it’s true that age had an effect on what types of complications surgeons saw in post-operative settings, but the overall complication rate didn’t seem to alter terribly drastically from older patients to younger patients.
Overall Health is a Factor
However, what does seem to have an impact is overall health. Indeed, according to a recent study published by Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery obesity seem to have a large affect on complications and hospital visits after plastic surgery. This doesn’t mean that, if you’re obese you cannot have plastic surgery. It simply means that, with higher risk, should come higher awareness. In other words, you should be aware that you might run into complications slightly more often.
There’s a lot of speculation as to why this might be, and most of that speculation is centered around general health, as the intensity of the procedure did not necessarily have a large impact on the rise of complications. In other words, whether it was blepharoplasty or tummy tuck, the rise in complications was statistically pretty even. This leads the researchers to believe that it’s general health which has the greatest impact on complications after plastic surgery. It should also be noted that, as complications rise, so too do the number of trips to the emergency room. And as noted in this research, those who were obese had a higher rate of emergency room visits after plastic surgery than those who did not.
That said, there are certainly times when obese patients will require plastic surgery—as in the case of liposuction or a tummy tuck or even facial plastic surgery such as blepharoplasty or facelifts. And, to be sure, these are still generally very safe procedures. But the increase in the complication rate is definitely something that every patient should discuss with his or her doctor. Perhaps more important than overall body weight, in some cases, is a consistent body weight. According to the website of the Connecticut facial plastic surgery experts at Westport Facial Plastic Surgery, a constant body weight will help preserve the desired results, where as a body weight that fluctuates could dampen those results.
You Can Still Achieve the Transformation you Desire
At the end of the day, everybody deserves to be happy, and those who are obese are no different. In some cases, diet and exercise may not be effective ways to combat that obesity and something more extreme is required (such as various forms of bariatric surgery). In some cases, those bariatric surgeries can be followed up by other body contouring plastic surgeries in order to achieve the overall desired results. At that point, whether the “obesity” will be a factor in complications is pretty fluid, and will be up to you and plastic surgeon to discuss.
So if you’re interested in plastic surgery, you should definitely discuss this fact with your plastic surgeon, but you also should not let it dissuade you from what is, overall (though it does carry inherent risks) a pretty safe set up surgical procedures.