Should the heart be checked After Massive Weight Loss (before plastic surgery)?

What are the risks associated with undergoing plastic surgery after a massive weight loss? Are bodies that have been through a drastic change weight, ready for more stress? Would the strain on the heart be a factor before considering plastic surgery?

Doctor Answers (4)

Should the heart be checked After Massive Weight Loss (before plastic surgery)

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Before any surgeries is contemplated, you must get an EKG. If there are any questions on the EKG, then you should be examined by a cardiologist.  Sometimes an echocardiogram is also required.
The way I look at it, you are much healthier now after losing all that weight.   There is in fact now, much less strain on your heart because of the massive reduction in your weight. For the most part, your heart should be healthier. However,  before any surgery, especially reconstructive plastic surgery after massive weight loss, your heart should be checked. Good luck with your weight loss journey. Good luck with your reconstructive surgery after massive weight loss. Sincerely, Dr. Katzen


Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Loose skin after massive weight loss

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The risks are numerous include blood clots, infection, seroma fluid collections, bad skin scarring, delayed healing and/or disruption of incision sites or loss of skin near the skin closure lines etc. These risks can be minimized with appropriate attention to patient care before, during and after surgery. Additional risks can be related to the way in which the weight was lost. For example certain weight loss surgical procedures are associated with malnutrition because of diminished gastrointestinal absorption of nutrients. All massive weight loss patients should get a medical clearance from their internist or GP before undergoing plastic surgery. Once cleared there should not be any issue with heart function during or after surgery.

Some years ago Phen-Fen combination medications were used to help weight loss but at the expense of heart and lung condition. The combination has since been discontinued.

My response to your question/post does not represent formal medical advice or constitute a doctor patient relationship. You need to consult with i.e. personally see a board certified plastic surgeon in order to receive a formal evaluation and develop a doctor patient relationship.

Aaron Stone, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Massive weight loss plastic surgery risks

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Absolutely your heart should be checked, although I agree with other commentaries that your heart and your overall health should be greatly improved after weight loss. Actually that goal should be the primary reason for losing the weight in the first place. However, in my opinion, a complete physical with blood work is mandatory after massive weight loss prior to any plastic surgery. The most common finding is that you can lose protein which shows up in Total protein / Albumin studies. If the weight loss has been too rapid or achieved through marginal or dangerous medications then electrolytes can be out of balance. The longer your weight has been stable after the loss the better, but I suggest a complete evaluation as it always better to be safe than sorry. 

Jay Burns, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

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Heart evaluation before plastic surgery

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Certainly it is reasonable to be thoroughly evaluated prior to plastic surgery and this includes your heart.  Massive weight gain would generally be more stressful on the heart than the weight loss as long as the weight loss wasn't done with drugs or starvation.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.