Does Bulimia Make It Any Riskier to Have Plastic Surgery?

I'm specifically concerned about anesthesia issues, not the stitches that could be obviously be damaged by repeated vomitting.

Doctor Answers 5

Bulimia and Plastic Surgery

With bulimia you have a very high chance of electrolyte disturbances and also malnutrition.  Both of these would be contraindications for plastic surgery as it would increase the risk of anesthesia and negatively affect wound healing, respectively.  Also with bulimia, there is likely a component of body dysmorphic disorder which would make it difficult for any surgical procedure to satisfy your expectations from plastic surgery.  My advice would be to seek treatment for your bulimia as your primary focus.  Good luck.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Bulemia and plastic surgery

If you are bulemic you need to have this evaluated first. You did not mention the type of surgery that you wanted.  But bulemia is a condition that needs to be treated before doing anything further. 

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Bulimia and cosmetic surgery,

Are you talking about bulimia prior, during or after the plastic surgery procedure. Generally, the answer is yes, it can effect it all in many different ways such as malnutrition resulting in poor wound healing or higher risk of wound breakdown.Fluctuations in weight are not ideal in the peri-operative period. Vomiting could lead to a higher risk of hematima.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Bulimia, body dysmorphic disorder and plastic surgery

That depends it can make it risky enough to be life threatening especially if the operating surgeon is unaware that you have it. Self induced vomiting after surgery can tear suture lines, rupture your esophagus (Boerhaave's), cause fluid and electrolyte imbalances with dire consequences, ruin your teeth etc. I would hope that you mean you had bulimia in the past and are worried about residual effects on upcoming surgery. If that is not the case you should have medical clearance by an internist and psychological clearance by a psychiatrist or psychologist before undergoing even minor cosmetic plastic surgery. Even if the planned surgery is unrelated to weight such as a rhinoplasty the specter of body dysmorphic disorder has to be addressed. No safe surgeon should operate on a patient with any type of body dysmorphic disorder without prior consultation with and input of appropriate non-surgical specialists even if the planned elective surgery is not considered cosmetic.

Aaron Stone, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Bulimia and Cosmetic Surgery

Bulimia is a serious disease and is a manifestation of a body dysmorphic disorder.  This is generally considered a contraindication to cosmetic surgery in the face or the body. A bulimic patient would likely have problems with the procedure,  the anesthesia, the healing process, and the psychological aspects of healing.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 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.