If you’ve gone through a period of significant weight loss— whether through bariatric surgery or dieting — extra caution must be used in evaluating your readiness for weight loss surgery. This is one factor you should consider when selecting your plastic surgeon. It is imperative your doctor has your overall health in mind when discussing the surgical possibilities with you, and that they perform a thorough health evaluation prior to your procedure, to confirm everything will go smoothly.
Nutritional Considerations and Surgical Readiness
As you know, because your food intake is altered your nutrition can be compromised. The decrease in calories that facilitates significant weight loss often includes a concurrent decrease in protein. Thus, this lower protein and caloric intake may result in poor wound healing, anemia (a decreased red blood cell count) and impaired clotting mechanisms.
For that reason, prior to reconstructive surgery, it is highly recommended that you pay special attention to your diet, avoiding empty calories and increasing your protein intake. The simplest way to do this is to supplement your diet with high protein, low sugar foods. Good choices include “ready to drink” protein drinks such as those available from CytoSport and blendable protein boosters like Nectar Sweets and Matrix. You may find other high protein foods in the Atkins product line, and there are more options to choose from every day. In fact, many patients are now shopping online to find the widest variety available and benefit greatly from product reviews and recommendations.
Further, simple lab tests can and should be done to check to make sure that your nutrition level is adequate to allow you to tolerate the surgery. Those laboratory examinations include tests for liver and kidney function as well as blood clotting and cell counts. Should you undergo surgery with protein deficiency, wound healing may be impaired. This can result in anything from poor scarring to incision separation.
Medical Considerations and Surgical Readiness
Although many medical issues resolve themselves as patients lose weight, long-term obesity can have lasting impacts. Sometimes, the demands extreme weight puts on the body can cause cardiac disease and pulmonary issues. Therefore, a careful medical evaluation is always important prior to plastic surgery after weight loss and depending on your age and physical condition, certain simple tests may be required to eliminate the possibility of undiagnosed heart or lung disease.
Don’t be discouraged by the steps that may be required to safeguard your health. Many California patients are actually healthier after weight loss surgery than their age matched counterparts, due to the diet modifications and exercise programs that have improved their overall health.
Nevertheless, talk with your doctor about the above medical considerations prior to embarking on a surgical plan. For every post weight loss patient, it is important that we:
- Rule out the possibility of medical issues that would compromise surgery
- Perform basic tests to ensure surgery will be safe
If you feel that Kaufman & Davis Plastic Surgery can help and you would like to learn more about a specific procedure, please contact us online or give us a call at (916) 983-9895.