Is plastic surgery an option for obese people?

Is plastic surgery an option for obese people?

21st Feb 2019

Is plastic surgery an option for obese people?



Obesity affects the lives of millions of people all around the globe. Some of the effects of being obese or severely overweight are easy to notice while others are unknown to the people not confronted with the issue. Obesity is almost always associated with health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, chronic conditions, not to mention psychological disorders. Obesity is also associated with a shorter lifespan, infertility and many other problems.

In some cases, obesity affects the whole family. Obese parents raise kids that will be overweight due to the exposure they have to certain eating habits. In other cases, obesity is triggered and sustained by an emotional trauma. There are many causes of obesity but not too many solutions for it. Nowadays, the treatment for obesity is undergoing bariatric surgery or a drastic weight loss program that can combine medication with physical exercise and a strict diet. There are no magic creams or pills that can be used to get rid of the excess weight forever. Moreover, plastic surgery is not a solution for obese patients, and in this article we will discuss why this is the case.


How to lose weight

Some people want to lose weight to feel better about themselves, while others are advised to do it so they can undergo surgery. There are many cases in which obese people can’t undergo a certain surgical procedure because of their weight. In this case, the obvious solution is bariatric surgery. Many times, bariatric surgery is performed on patients who need to lose a considerable amount of weight in a short period of time to be eligible to undergo another surgical procedure that will improve their health.

Nowadays some people tend to believe that bariatric surgery is the fastest way to lose weight and everybody can do this and get rid of obesity. This is not always the reality. While bariatric surgery can certainly create the premises for weight loss to occur, it is not a guarantee that it will happen to the extent desired or that the patient will never gain weight again. When it comes to obesity, it is not only about the excess of kilograms. Most often there are traumas and psychological issues associated with excessive weight gain. These issues need to be addressed for the weight loss to occur and for the patient to be able to sustain the results achieved with bariatric surgery over time.

Bariatric surgery requires a period of preparation. During this time, the patient is advised to keep a certain diet and even lose some of the weight even before the procedure. Being able to do so before the surgery is a step toward achieving good results.

When bariatric surgery is not an option for the obese patient due to various reasons, a weight loss program can help with getting back in shape. A successful weight loss program should have a physical exercise component, a diet component, and an emotional component. Just like in the case of bariatric surgery, it is not enough to address just the physical issues. A complex weight loss program followed for a variable duration of time (between six months and up to two years or more) can lead to spectacular results.


Plastic surgery for obese patients

Obese people might see and feel that society is not completely embracing them. There is a certain level of social discrimination that is obvious. There have been numerous discussions about asking obese people to pay more for plane tickets and health insurances that can lead anyone to believe that obese people are indeed seen as different and not necessarily in the good sense of the word. People diagnosed with obesity often find it difficult to get and keep a normal job, have a normal sex life, and so on. The limitations imposed by their own weight weighs them down immensely. People confronted with obesity often show signs of depression and other emotional conditions. There are advertisements for liposuction that claim to slim down the body or a picture of a woman who is overly Photoshopped. Some people might think that plastic surgery can do just the same for obese patients, but this is not true.

When obesity is present, the patient has a considerable amount of fat tissue that is all over the body. There is subcutaneous fat, but also fat around the organs and in the abdominal cavity. Liposuction is a procedure that only targets localized fat deposits that are subcutaneous. This means that during the procedure, the plastic surgeon will use a small tube called a cannula introduced under the skin through tiny incisions and move it back and forth to dislodge and suction the fat in the area. But it can only work on the fat under the skin and on localized areas. We can’t treat the whole body with liposuction and more importantly, we can’t extract more than six or seven liters of fat during a single session as this might trigger life-threatening complications. It is also important to know that when significant amounts of fat are removed, there is a risk for skin sagginess to occur.

Performing liposuction on an obese patient won’t do him or her any good. The only results that can be achieved is a slight improvement in a certain area of the body treated with the procedure. However, there are other reasons why it is not a good idea to undergo plastic surgery if you are obese.


Surgical risks for obese patients

Obesity is often associated with cardiovascular diseases which are often a contraindication for plastic surgery. Diabetes can also be present in many cases, just like other chronic conditions that are contraindications for plastic surgery.

Plastic surgery is performed on an elective basis. This means that the patient doesn’t have to undergo plastic surgery to save or improve his life; he chooses to do so to enhance physical appearance. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of the procedure and the consequences it can have on the patient’s health and well-being. For obese patients, any surgical intervention poses a great risk. The complication rate for obese patients is exponentially increased compared to patients with a normal weight. In other words, if you are obese and contemplating undergoing plastic surgery, you should know that you are subjected to many more risks compared to patients who are close to their ideal weight.


Plastic surgery for patients after obesity

Plastic surgery is certainly not an option for obese people; however, it is the best method and the only effective one to reshape the body after weight loss. Many patients undergoing bariatric surgery or other weight loss methods discover that even after achieving their ideal weight they don’t have the body they had before gaining weight. This happens because weight loss after obesity is often associated with a considerable amount of skin sagginess. The kilograms were shed off, but the skin that was overly stretched and has lost elasticity in the process can’t get back to the initial shape and it stays hanging and forming skin folds that are uncomfortable and unaesthetic.



There are many plastic surgery procedures that can be performed for patients who have lost a massive amount of weight. These are breast lifts or breast reductions, brachioplasty, thigh lifts, tummy tucks and butt lifts. Other procedures can be performed with these, depending on the characteristics of the patient. Liposuction is often performed to remove stubborn adipose pockets from areas of the body difficult to target with other methods.

The recommendation is to schedule plastic surgery at least six months to a year after you have achieved the desired weight and when you know that the weight loss process is final and you are at a weight that you can sustain for a long period of time. Keep in mind that the results achieved with the help of plastic surgery can be altered if ulterior weight loss or weight gain occurs, especially if fat transfer or liposuction procedures were performed. The advice is to keep a stable weight after plastic surgery and also to avoid other external factors that can have a negative impact on the results of the procedure.

Keep in mind that plastic surgery is not an option for obese people, but it is a good choice for patients who were once obese, lost weight, and are now looking to improve their physical appearance.


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