The link between your BMI and cosmetic surgery

cosmetic surgery and BMIFor many men and women that are dissatisfied with their appearance, a cosmetic surgery procedure can seem like a fantastic opportunity to achieve the body of their dreams. However, if this dissatisfaction results from being overweight then it’s time to step back and look at the bigger picture

BMI guidelines for cosmetic surgery

There are no established guidelines that state a certain BMI, or Body Mass Index, prevents or guarantees that you can undergo a cosmetic surgery procedure. However, higher BMIs do mean greater surgical and anaesthetic risks and a BMI assessment will always be part of the consultation process at our Leamington cosmetic surgery clinic.

Your Body Mass Index is a calculation based on your weight and height and the more you weigh, the higher your BMI. For patients between 25 to 29 on the BMI scale, there is low surgical/anaesthetic risk; from 30 to 35, the risk increases but surgery may still be considered, as long as the patient is otherwise in good health, and also depending on the particular problem. More caution must be taken for possible Abdominoplasty/Tummy Tuck, for example. Over 35 and there are significantly increased surgical risks, which must be taken into account and demand much more caution.

For patients with a BMI over 35, they are typically advised to lose weight prior to surgery (preferable too for those between 30 and 35). Often these men and women have developed associated health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure which further complicates matters.

Potential surgical risks include problems with anaesthesia, airway complications, chest infection, deep vein thrombosis (clot in the calf veins), pulmonary embolism (a clot breaking off and going to the lungs), poor wound healing after surgery and an increased likelihood of infection

Another factor that must be taken into account is the impact your weight will have on the final outcome of your cosmetic surgery procedure. Body contouring surgery, whether it’s a tummy tuck, thigh reduction or arm lift, all produce a better result when you’re close to or at your ideal body weight. Liposuction removes fat cells permanently and these can’t ‘grow back’ but putting weight on again after your procedure can cause the remaining fat cells to expand. Even the outcome of procedures such as a breast augmentation or a facelift can be affected if you experience marked weight fluctuations post surgery.

Cosmetic surgery is elective, which means that it is never necessary, and for that reason it is imperative that patients limit surgical risks as much as possible. Achieving and maintaining their ideal body weight results in a better sense of wellbeing and also means more chance of them being highly satisfied with the outcome of their surgery.

Breast implant myths explored

breast implant mythsA recent study much covered in the media, which claimed that breast implants could possibly increase the risk of a false heart attack diagnosis, understandably left many women nervous, whether they’ve previously undergone a breast augmentation or were considering enhancing their breasts.

The research findings were presented at the latest conference of the European Society of Cardiology in Vienna. One of the researchers at the Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco claimed that all women without implants in the study had normal ECG results but, in the women with breast implants, a staggering 57% had abnormal results.

Delve a little deeper though, and it’s not quite as straightforward or as potentially worrying as you may have first thought. Another expert analysed the same data and found 38% of women with breast implants had abnormal ECG results, along with some of the women without. Also, the researchers only assessed 28 women with breast implants and 20 without, which is a relatively small number to extrapolate concrete findings from.

However, it did make me consider the many breast implant myths and misconceptions that still abound, despite breast augmentation being the UK’s most popular cosmetic surgery procedure.

Breast implant myth #1: Your breast implants will need to be replaced every ten years

There is much confusion over how often your breast implants will need to be replaced and that’s partly because there is no definitive answer. Complications arising from having a foreign body implanted in your body can mean that you need to have revision surgery at any point from your initial procedure.

However, if there are no issues with your implants – they have not ruptured or hardened, there is no swelling or tenderness and you’re still happy with your size or shape then you certainly don’t need to have them changed promptly at the ten-year point. Rupture rates differ but approximately only about 15% will be affected before the tenth year; however, from then on, the likelihood of them rupturing increases every year.

I do make all of my Warwickshire breast augmentation patients understand that the decision to have breast implants may mean having them replaced at a future date.

Breast implant myth #2: You won’t be able to breastfeed with breast implants

Breast augmentation surgery is very popular with younger women who are dissatisfied with the lack of development of their breast size. Typically, these women are also planning to start a family at some point, so a natural concern is whether it will still be possible to breastfeed.

Nothing is certain about breastfeeding post-augmentation – you may have been unable to do so even without surgery – but most women find they can still breastfeed afterwards. Placing the implant under the muscle and using an inframammary incision, situated underneath the fold of the breast, tends to pose less risk to the milk ducts and mammary glands

Breast implant myth #3: You can’t have a mammogram with breast implants

As with the ECG study above, there are concerns that breast implants impede certain diagnostic tests. However, although breast implants can make mammography slightly more challenging for the radiographer, it is not true that they make it impossible. Inform your radiographer that you have implants and they will use a slightly different technique to ensure that the breast tissue can be scanned properly.

If you have any further questions about breast implant surgery, call 01926 436341 to make a consultation at my Leamington cosmetic surgery clinic.