The World Health Organisation defines 'overweight' as a weight that is 10 to 20% higher than 'normal', (a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 to 30). 'Obesity' is when a person’s weight is 20-50% above ‘normal' (BMI 30-35). 'Morbid obesity’ (BMI over 35) occurs when an individual is over 50% above 'normal' weight. At this level, they are sufficiently overweight that their condition interferes with health or normal functioning.
Excess weight is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, some musculoskeletal conditions and some cancers. Obesity is associated with increased risk from anaesthesia and surgery and is a known cause of poor healing. For many elective procedures, including most cosmetic procedures, a BMI over 35 is a contraindication for surgery.
More and more obese patients are requesting procedures which they cannot receive until appropriate weight loss has occurred. Plastic surgery is NOT an effective treatment for obesity.
Liposuction, for example, is used to treat patients with isolated areas of excess fat. It is not an appropriate surgical treatment for weight loss. A patient whose weight has been stable but but who has trouble with certain problem areas is a good candidate for liposuction — not someone whose weight has been increasing and is seeking generalised fat reduction.
Obese patients should proceed with caution when considering any surgical procedure. Many of my colleagues and I request that high BMI patients reduce their BMI to under 30 in order to minimise risks from surgery and maximise the cosmetic benefit. Healthy eating and exercise should be built into the patient’s regular routine, rather than losing weight for a procedure. Without good habits in place, any improvement from surgery may be short lived.
If you have lost weight
Congratulations! Losing the weight is a positive step with mental, physical and medical benefits, however it might not be the end of the journey. Patients who have lost substantial weight are left with the issue of loose and sagging skin. Some feel a sense of failure since they continue to carry the stigma of excess weight and consequently still feel “Fat”. In addition, there may be issues related to hygiene, skin breakdown, sweating, rash and odours.
Surgery is often the only option to correct these issues. Common procedures performed in Perth include:
In Perth, many patients have combined procedures to achieve the best result and liposuction may also be performed. It should be noted however, that as with all surgical procedures, there will be scarring and this will vary depending on the individual patient and the procedures performed.
The best long term solution is for people to follow a sensible healthy eating plan and to commit to a regular exercise program.