What Do Doctors Mean by "Good Health"?

as i read the really great blogs by doctors on this web site i keep seeing the comment "as long as you are in good health"...you can get good liposuction or plastic surgery recovery.  Can a doctor please list the key things you mean when you say "good health".  i know this sounds basic, but maybe you define it differntly than me!

Doctor Answers 8

In good health

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Several different conditions and medications that might be taken by you could interfere with a good recovery and good result. Diabetes can increase the risk fo poor healing and infection, liver disease can affect the safety of the local anesthetic being used, high blood pressure can be elevated by the adrenaline in the local anesthetic, kidney disease and chronic pulmonary or heart disease could be concerns. Chronic skin infections, keloid formation and other history of skin problems could create a higher chance of complications.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Good health and plastic surgery.

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Good question!

In Manhattan, we go through a long check list to detect even rare conditions, but for most patients, good health means:

1) Normal heart, lung, and kidney function.

2) Normal blood pressure.

3) No obesity or diabetes.

4) No smoking.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Are you in good health?

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Dear Mom,

Your question at first glance seemed ridiculous. However, upon further reflection, I came to find it quite valid. A quick analogy for you is when I ask my patients if they exercise regularly. The affirmative response, on further questioning, ranges from a walk around the block a few times a week to cardio and weight training with a trainer 7 days a week. So, you are correct in identifying that your definition of "good health" may be different than mine. And perhaps, I should ask for your definition before I answer. "Good health", when used by a plastic surgeon generally means no medical problems, such as heart disease, or high blood pressure and no prescription medications. For us, this defines a patient that is a low risk for complications of surgery.

Good health

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The real key is what does the doctor that will be treating you - their definition as they will be responsible for you and part of the decision process.

In my practice, good health means different things. The more expensive the procedures planned, the higher the standard.

In general, local anesthesia & an in office, short procedure - good health means no allergies to the medication planned and normal blood pressure, etc. For more involved cases, patients are required to obtain a physical exam from their primary care doctor and blood tests may be more extensive. The same for procedures that require general anesthesia. So, there is no one correct protocol for all patients since we don't know what you are having done.

Michael Kulick, MD, DDS
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Good health means that you can tolerate surgery

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When a surgeon says that they want the patient to be in good health to have surgery, they want the patient to be able to safely undergo the procedure and tolerate the anesthesia. This generally means, no heart or lung conditions, no bleeding disorders, to previous reactions to anesthesia, in relatively good shape (can walk up stairs) and not too heavy (obesity leads to many problems with surgery), no current infections and mentally able to understand the surgery. In plastic surgery, most procedures are elective and safety is the #1 concern.

Good Health when it comes to plastic surgery

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Good health when it comes to plastic surgery may involve:

  1. Youth
  2. Good diet
  3. Exercises routinely
  4. Good cardio pulmonary function
  5. Non-smoker
  6. No substance abuse
  7. Zero to low alcohol intake'
  8. Near Ideal body weight
  9. Good mental status
  10. Great psychological outlook'

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being

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This is a great question! The definition of health by the WHO(world health organization) is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.

When surgeon use the term "healthy" it means that the patient does not have any medical condition that would prevent general anaesthesia or would lead to a higher risk surgery. Uncontrolled blood pressure, diabetes, or cardiac disease are one of the few examples of medical conditions that would alter the surgical outcome.

Best of Luck!

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

"Good Health"

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When a doctor states that you are a good candidate if you are in "good health" he is stating that you do not have any illnesses, chronic conditions, or genetic disorders, or psychiatric disorders that may negate your safely having a surgical procedure (at least an elective or non-emergency type of procedure).

  • Heart disease, lung disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, certain blood disorders or bleeding tendencies, etc., are not absolute contraindications, but if you have them, then you would need evaluation by a specialist to ascertain your risk factors.
  • Certain medications may put you at risk for complications during or after surgery.
  • Psychiatric illnesses also are not absolute contraindications but a psychiatrist/psychologist should evaluate you to be sure that you don't have any underlying problems that may interfere or complicate your procedure.
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder probably is an absolute contraindication and this is a disturbance of body image.

You can see that this is complicated and that is why no one should take any surgery lightly. To me there is no such thing as "minor surgery". You physician should not take things lightly either. You need to be honest with him/her about your health, medications, drug usage or abuse, etc.

The surgeon should take a thorough history and ask you lots of questions to decide what your particular risk factors are and he/she should tell you directly and honestly what he feels they are. The good news is that good health doesn't necessarily mean perfect health and most people are fairly good candidates for procedures.

Theodore Katz, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon

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.