Is It Protocol To Wait 3-6 Months After Weightloss to Have Surgery?

I am a 22 year old with no children and have lost about 70lbs in the past year & am 22lbs away from my goal.I'm planning to have surgery Jan.2012 to have a tummy tuck without MR and a breast lift.I’ve read is it important to wait 3-6 months for my weight stabilize before having surgery,why?I’ve seen the same saggy skin for a good amount of time and do not understand the point of waiting an add'l 3-6 months. Also,is it advisable to combine an armlift with the tummy tuck & breast lift?

Doctor Answers 16

Weightloss and Having Surgery

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First of all I would like to congratulate you on your weight loss. Do make sure your surgeon is a board certified plastic surgeon that specializes in body contouring procedures. Performing surgery on patients with a significant amount of excess skin takes a skilled and specialized surgeon. The weight loss procedures are not easy and can definitely leave you with scarring if it is not done correctly.

As far as your surgeon’s recommendation for you to wait 3-6 months, that is an accurate recommendation. Sometimes for patients that have had weight loss surgery, I will recommend for them to wait until they have lost all the weight they want to lose and to be about 20 lbs. above their goal weight before surgery. The extra fat will be used to contour the patient’s body.

The reason your surgeon is probably recommending this for you is for your weight to stabilize so that you get the best results. Fluctuation of your weight after surgery may leave you with results you were not expecting and may leave you unhappy and back in your surgeon’s office for a revision.

As far as combining procedures, that is essentially up to your surgeon.

Weight Loss and timing of surgery.

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The reason behind waiting for weight stabilization is for nutrional purposes. A tummy tuck with a breast lift is a major operation which will stress your bodies ability to heal. It requires a stable metabolic state with adequate protein stores, vitamins, and preferrably normalized blood levels. Weight loss is usually done via modifications of diet and exercise which can negatively affect these levels. In addition, being at a stable weight will lead to a more predictable surgery and less chance of a revision.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Tummy Tuck Timing?

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Thank you for the question.

There is no magic number of months to wait.  You will know physically (when you are at your baseline weight) and emotionally when you are ready to proceed with this major operation.  This planning would involve making sure you have enough help for your newborn and yourself during the recovery period (approx. 3-4 weeks).  
I do however have another  word of advice for you. Patients who are about to undergo tummy tuck surgery spend a lot of time thinking about the physical preparation for the procedure (for example weight loss issues) but do not spend a lot of time thinking about the emotional aspects.
It is not uncommon for patients who undergo the procedure to experience severe “mood swings”. These emotions may range from depression ( “why did I do this to myself”) to elation  (which may lead to over activity). I think it is helpful to be aware that these emotional swings do occur postoperatively. 
Suggestions I have for patients undergoing this procedure: 1. Make sure you have a strong support system in place who have time/patience to take care of you. 2. Be patient with the healing process, understanding that it will take several weeks to months to feel “normal” again. 3. Be prepared to distract your mind with things of interest such as books, magazines, and movies. 4. Expect less of yourself; do not go back to work too early and let others take care of you (for a change). 5. Keep in close communication with your surgeon and do not hesitate to communicate questions/concerns and the emotional swings that you may experience. 6. Keep in mind the end result!
I hope this helps.

IIt is very important to eliminate as many variables as possible before proceeding with body contour surgery,

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and waiting for your body to establish a steady state in terms of weight loss is important for achieving the best possible result.  Look at the changes you've seen over the course of your 70 lb weight loss (congratulations on your achievement) and you can understand why it is important to weight for your body to accomodate to the weight change.  SUrgery will futrther refine your look, but it should be done after you have reached a steady weight.  A reasonable period of time to wait would be six months, and I would strongly recommend that you follow your surgeon's advice and not rush into surgery before your situation has been optimized.

Michael H. Rosenberg, MD
Mount Kisco Plastic Surgeon

Timing of surgery and weight loss

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I do not feel as strongly that you need to wait 3-6 months after you have lost the majority of your weight in order to forward with surgery. There are several other issues that are important however. First, how did you lose the weight? Was it through a healthy diet and more exercise? Hopefully "yes". If so, your body is fairly well primed to have surgery and you should do very well. This is a lifestyle change and will complement the changes you see from surgery. it's important to continue after your surgery. If you went on a crash "fad" diet, than i think you will be disappointed when your weight returns, probably sooner than later. If you have surgery early after weight loss in this case, you might get frustrated and angry that you spent time and money on surgery, only to lose the benefits after weight gain. You certainly should be off all weight reduction medications, like phentermine, for at least 2 months before surgery as these medications can have a bad effect on your anesthesia. patients who have had massive weight loss after gastric bypass surgery should wait until their weight loss stablizes. This usually occurs about 1 year after their bypass. In all cases it is important to have a healthy high protein diet in order to help heal from surgery. Vitamins with extra minerals are also very helpful. 

Tummy Tuck and Breast lift after weight loss

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Congratulations on your weight loss. There is no fixed amount of time before a patient can proceed with a tummy tuck and breast lift. It will be based on the personal preferences and schedules of the surgeon and patient. Arm lift, tummy tuck, and breast lift seem to be an extensive amount of surgery. However, in person consultation and exam with 3 - 4 experienced and expert plastic surgeons will be necessary to explore your options.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

At least 6 months

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you need to wait at least 6 months from the time your wait has stablized.   I also like to make sure your close to your ideal body weight.

Andre Aboolian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Tummy tuck after weight loss

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Whether you need to wait for a period of time after weight loss to have a tummy tuck will depend on your individual situation and your surgeon. There is no standard "protocol" regarding this. The most important thing regarding your weight is that after you have the surgery done, make sure that you do not gain weight. This may seem to be an obvious answer but I've seen it happen in patients more times than I can count regardless of telling patients this both before and after surgery.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Timing for surgery after weight loss

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I do not believe there is a magic amount of time that should elapse after you have achieved your weight loss goal.  As long as you are healthy and your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for the procedure then I see no need to wait.  Donald R. Nunn MD Atlanta Plastic  Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

How long to wait after weight loss

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Since the procedures you are having are body contouring procedures to re-shape the body and breast, it is important to be confident that the weight and lifestyle you have attained are stable. Many patients cannot maintain their goal and revert to old habits and so the surgical results might be short-lived. By waitinf a significant amounbt of time, generally 6 moinths, both you and your surgeon can be more sure of the longevity and predictability of your results.

Robin T.W. Yuan, M.D.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills 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.