My cholesterol is 227. My PCP says I am good for TT. Surgeon says she will not perform surgery unless it's normal. Who's right?

I have only 30 days until my surgery, is it possible to Lower my cholesterol in 30 days ? Or should I reschedule my surgery?

Doctor Answers 12

Is high cholesterol a contraindication to having elective #plasticsurgery and #tummytuck ?

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Thank you for sharing your question.  While high cholesterol may not be a common measure used to indicate if one is or isn't a candidate for elective surgery, it's clear your operative surgeon has set his or her boundaries.  I would either speak with your surgeon directly or seek a secondary opinion in person with a plastic surgeon certified by the american board of plastic surgery.  I hope this is helpful and wish you the best.
Brian S. Coan, MD, FACS

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

High cholesterol and surgery

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High cholesterol presents a long term increased risk for heart disease. It does not pose any short term risk in the setting of surgery.

Elevated cholesterol and surgery

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Your surgeon is probably hoping you will loose some weight by trying to lower your cholesterol; which may be beneficial to your results. Other than that there is no reason I know of to postpone surgery for a high cholesterol.

Morad Tavallali, MD, FACS
Vienna Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Elevated cholesterol is not a risk factor for surgery

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Elevated cholesterol is not an accepted indicator of surgical complications. If this elevated cholesterol also accompanies obesity, severely elevated lipids, hypertension, or diabetes...then yes, you are not a good candidate for elective plastic surgery.  We have many may years of surgical data that has been analyzed so that we can properly evaluate our patient's surgical risk factors. Moderately elevated cholesterol is not one of them. There is either something missing from this story, or your surgeon is not up-to-date on current recommendations. Maybe he or she is looking for a reason not to operate on you? Not sure but I am confident that the other surgeons who respond will be as baffled as me. Speak to your surgeon personally and see what the full story is. Maybe you are missing some key information. If you are not comfortable, get another opinion. 


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I'm not aware of cholesterol being an indicator of risk of surgical complications. I would discuss your concerns with your surgeon regarding timing, etc, and if you don't feel comfortable with her policies or explanation, consoder a second opinion. 

Hope that helps,

Christopher D. Knotts, MD, FACS
Reston Plastic Surgeon

Cholesterol and TT

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Thank you for your question and congratulations on deciding to move forward with a tummy tuck!  I personally do not use cholesterol as a determinant to do or not do surgeries, including tummy tucks, but your surgeon may have her own reasons for not wanting to proceed with surgery at this time.  Open communication with her about her reasons would be helpful for you to understand and feel comfortable with the plan.  There is a difference between the numbers in the breakdown of your cholesterol (HDL, LDL and triglycerides).  I would advise continuing to work with your PCP towards obtaining a healthy balance of cholesterol and a healthy diet and exercise plan.  The better your overall health and weight is before a tummy tuck, the better your outcome. 

Best of luck!  

Claire Duggal, MD
Annapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Cholesterol and surgery.

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I see no need to worry or to diet to bring down a number that is meaningless )in terms of a tummy tuck's safety). There are other factors that may be playing a role in your surgeon's insistence on lowering your cholesterol. Eat multiple small feeding and do light walking. All surgeries carry risks so choose your surgeon and surgery carefully and good luck.

Ayman Hakki, MD
Waldorf Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

My cholesterol is 227. My PCP says I am good for TT. Surgeon says she will not perform surgery unless it's normal. Who's right?

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Assuming you are otherwise a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery, your cholesterol level should not be a contraindication. You may wish to communicate this question directly with your plastic surgeon and ask for her rationale.   If still in doubt, you may wish to seek second opinion consultations with other board certified plastic surgeons in your area. Best wishes.

High cholesterol

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In 25 years of doing plastic surgery I have never seen a high cholesterol level being a valid reason to not do elective cosmetic surgery. I would recommend that you ask your surgeon what the science is behind his recommendation. you may want to seek the counsel of another board-certified plastic surgeon in your area. Good luck with your tummy tuck.

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 56 reviews


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It seems like an odd requirement. While I agree your long-term health will benefit from lowering your cholesterol, I do not see any reason that it should put off surgery. Perhaps there are other reasons the surgeon does not want to do your surgery and is using this as an excuse. I would seek the opinion of another surgeon and  sure that the surgeon is a board-certified in plasticsurgery.

Good luck!

Mark T. Boschert, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 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.