How to Lose Weight Before Surgery

Pre Plastic-Surgery Weight Loss

pre surgery weight loss diet plan

Gaining weight is much easier than it is to lose weight. However, with the correct guidance, practices, and through your determination and willpower losing weight before surgery is possible.

If you are undergoing any surgery and you are obese, your doctor may recommend you to lose some weight before the surgery. Losing excess weight before any surgery well help both during and after your surgery. It is shown to be effective in reducing complications and helping you give a more aesthetically pleasing and longer-lasting result.

Benefits of losing weight before surgery

Surgery carries higher risks if you’re not at a healthy weight, leaving you prone to developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, obstructive sleep apnoea, and gastrointestinal problems. It even puts you at higher risk for various types of cancers. Losing just 5-10% of your body weight could significantly improve health outcomes and decrease associated perioperative risk. Some major surgery-associated risks like infection, blood clots, and heart attack can be avoided.

If you want to undergo any surgical procedure with the best probabilities of good surgical results – and least surgical risks – you will have to take some personal steps to shed those extra kilos.

What is BMI and the ideal BMI for plastic surgery?

operation diet bmi chart

A Body Mass Index or BMI is a value used to classify and categorize whether a person lies within a healthy body weight. Or in layman’s terms, BMI is a value broadly used to characterize a person as underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese based on tissue mass and height. The BMI compares your body weight² (kg) over your height² (m²) to gain a value that gives us a general estimate of your health. However, this is not an absolute depiction of your current health status as it doesn’t take your gender, age, existing health conditions, or body definitions into consideration.

General BMI ranges are categorized below:

  • BMI below 18 – Underweight
  • Between 18 and 25- Healthy Weight
  • Between 25 and 30 – Overweight
  • Between 30 and 35 – Obese
  • Between 35 and 40 – Severely Obese
  • Over 40 – Morbidly Obese

As your BMI will determine the results from the surgery that includes how long your surgery results will persist and how aesthetically pleasing they look. The maximum allowed BMI for plastic surgery is 40 with BMI closer to 30 is preferred.

Risks of being overweight and having surgery

Anesthetics are medications that put patients to sleep during the surgery. During the administration of anesthetics, obesity can cause patients the following common problems;

  • Figuring out the correct dosage of anesthetics required.
  • Locating the vein used to administer anaesthetics and other emergency medications intravenously.
  • The presence of excess fatty tissue can further hinder with the administration of the medication.
  • Difficulty while inserting the breathing tube.

How to lose weight before surgery

how to lose weight fast before plastic surgery

Some pointers that can be useful in helping you lose weight before surgery are as follows:

Sleep more

Research has shown that sleep assists in burning calories. When we lack sleep, we eat more and have a slower metabolism rate. This combination of less sleep and an increase in nutritional intake often results in weight gain, or we stop losing weight. Sleeping improves your fat loss metabolism, regulating your cravings for food or hunger more easily. In contrast, when you do not get enough sleep or are sleep deprived, your body produces hormones that leave you feeling hungrier more often. So at least, 8-10 hours of sleep every night is recommended to aid the natural process of weight loss.

Eat healthily

Always try to eat nutritious and healthy. A meal is a serving of vegetables, healthy fats, and a protein source. This meal will help to satisfy your hunger making you feel occupied for a prolonged period.

Avoid or reduce sugary drinks

Liquid calories like carbonated drinks, soft drinks, and alcoholic drinks should be either avoided or reduced cutting down any unnecessary calories. The best alternative to such sugary drinks is plain water or healthy alternatives such as coconut water, fresh fruit juice, and various herbal teas. Whatever you may be drinking make sure it doesn’t contain any hidden added sugar. Instead of such sugary drinks, drinking at least two litres of water per day is recommended.

Continue exercise

Exercise helps you to stay healthy and restricts you from gaining the weight that you have lost. However, it is important not to overdo the workout. Continuing with your workout regime even when not losing weight is the correct choice over working vigorously. Exercising more than you regularly do will result in muscle weakness due to fatigue.

Be patient and persevere with your plan

After a period of exercising, the weight loss will slow down than it initially did. The weight loss in the initial period is particularly due to the sacrifices you made which made a major difference in assisting you in your weight loss journey. Despite your best efforts, there will be times where the results won’t match your expectations. It is best to avoid feeling discouraged and having patience and persevering with your weight loss plan.

Every minor lifestyle changes you make towards healthier eating like portion limitation and regular exercises like walking and counting steps can have a collective effect over time. Even if the weight loss is not as how you projected it to be you should not lose focus and persevere for your goal.

Weight Loss Alternatives

Pre-surgery Nutrition

If your BMI is anywhere from 18 to 30, you can continue with your regular meals before the surgery. However, in cases where the BMI is above 40, the rapid weight loss diet program can be undertaken. In this type of diet, you can lose more than 1-2.5 kilograms a week over several weeks.

These diets help to lose weight quickly and are less commonly suggested by health care providers. As the hormonal and bodily stress caused by rapid weight loss may not be safe for some people to do on their own they should be closely monitored by a supervisor.

These diets are usually not recommended for more than several weeks. These include:

Very Low-Calorie Diet (VLCD)

On this diet, you may have as few as 800 calories a day and may lose up to 1.5 to 2 kg a week. The food that you will be intaking will be mostly meal replacements, such as formulas, soups, shakes, and bars instead of regular meals. This ensures that you get all of the nutrients, while also keeping you on a restricted diet plan.

A VLCD is only recommended for adults who are obese and need to lose weight for health reasons. These diets are often used before weight-loss surgery. You should only use a VLCD under the supervision of your provider and not recommend using it for more than 12 weeks.

Low-Calorie Diet (LCD)

The calorie intake in LCD is 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day for women and 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day for men. However, you should still be overseen by a provider. An LCD is much better than VLCD; however, you will not lose weight as fast as VLCD, but you can lose just as much weight with a VLCD. The meals are usually a mix of meal replacements and regular food making it easier to follow than VLCD.

Intermittent Fasting

Even though fasting has become more popular recently, it is an early form of caloric limitation.

There are several fasting plans and it is debatable which may be the best. One of the most popular is the 5:2 system, which requires two days a week of fasting or VLCD and 5 days a week of eating your normal diet. Other diets that combine fasting can aid in rapid weight loss.

Time-Restricted Eating

Frequently compared to fasting, but the two approaches are somewhat different. Time-restricted eating restricts the number of hours per day that you can eat. One of the most prevalent approaches is ’16/8 Intermittent Fasting’. During this time-restricted eating plan, you can eat your meals only during these 8 hours, say from 10 am to 6 pm. After these 8 hours, you are not allowed to eat anything for the remaining 16 hours. Even though this method can help in rapid weight loss, but there is little knowledge about whether the weight loss is maintained.

Fad Diets

Fad diets severely limit calories to achieve rapid weight loss. These diets are not considered safe and do not warrant long-term weight loss.

You are at risk for reacquiring the weight you lost if you return to your former eating habits or stop following the diet plan.

Weight loss & Surgery FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions About Losing Weight Before Surgery

weight loss surgery healthy eating

Should you lose weight before surgery?

If your BMI is above 35 then you should lose weight before surgery. By losing weight the perioperative risks are minimized and also the final result that you desire will be more possible to achieve and long-lasting.

Can you have surgery if you’re overweight?

Apart from Bariatric surgery and liposuction, losing weight before the surgery is necessary, other cosmetic surgeries generally can be performed even if you’re overweight. However, losing 5-10% of your weight will steer you clear of risks while performing the surgery and gives you a longer-lasting and better result. The preferred BMI for plastic and cosmetic surgery is somewhere near to 30, but surgery can be performed up to BMI 40.

What is a healthy BMI for surgery?

The BMI compares your body weight² (kg) over your height² (m²) to gain a value that gives us a general estimate of your health. Even though the maximum allowed BMI for plastic surgery is 40, the preferred BMI is somewhere near 30.

What foods cause rapid weight loss?

The food we eat can greatly influence whether we gain or lose weight. Ensuring that you get enough nutrients that you need while undergoing rapid weight loss, the foods that can be eaten are meal replacements, such as formulas, soups, shakes, and bars instead of regular meals. These foods should be generally taken under supervision.

How much weight can you lose in a month?

Rapid weight loss can be achieved by undertaking diet plans such as the Very Low-Calorie Diet (VLCD) or the Low-Calorie Diet (LCD). You can lose the same amount of weight through either of the plans but weight loss through LCD is slow when compared to VLCD. You can lose anywhere from 1.5 to 2 kg per week for several weeks through the VLCD plan. This roughly equates to 6 to 8 kg per month. However, VLCD is not recommended for more than 12 weeks.

VLCD and LCD are generally advised to adults who cannot lose weight efficiently through normal means especially due to health conditions. These are generally harmful to your overall wellbeing and should only be performed under supervision.

Is general anesthesia safe for obese patients?

Medications that put patients to sleep during the surgery are anaesthesia. The most commonly preferred anesthesia during plastic or cosmetic surgery is general anesthesia. Even though general anesthesia is safe, the excess amount of fat can cause problems for both the patients and the surgeon. During the administration of anesthetics on obese patients, the following common problems are commonly encountered:

  • Figuring out the correct dosage of anesthetics required,
  • Difficulty locating the vein used to intravenously administer anesthetics and other emergency medications.
  • The presence of excess fatty tissue can further prevent the administration of the anaesthetics.
  • Difficulty while inserting the breathing tube

Medical References

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About Dr Mark Doyle FRACS (Plast) – Queensland Plastic Surgeon

Servicing patients in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and New South Wales NSW – Northern Rivers, Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and more.

Dr Mark Doyle is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with over thirty years of experience performing BreastBodyFace and Nose surgery. As a highly esteemed plastic surgeon, Dr Mark is driven by an intense passion for helping patients achieve a happier, more beautiful self through advanced cosmetic surgery procedures.

He maintains a strong commitment to achieving the best possible results for all his breast, body, face and nose patients, both men and women.