To diet or not to diet? That is the question. Sometimes it seems like that's always the question.
But in the case of cosmetic work, it might mean a little money savings, or a better result.
Certainly it seems logical that if one is considering liposuction, slimming down makes sense because there would be less fat to remove… ergo, take less time, so cost less money. Although I don't think doctors charge by the minute, the overall procedure has got to be easier, right?
Not so fast, says Wendy Lewis, our go-to guru on all things aesthetic, in a procedural sense (although, for all I know she may be a great interior decorator, too):
Liposuction is the wild card, she says,
If you are overweight or have a BMI greater than 30, it may be suggested or even required by some cosmetic surgeons that you lose some of the extra weight before having surgery. Liposuction can also be done in stages; such as your upper half or lower half or mid section. Losing weight after liposuction is a big plus and will serve to make your results look even better."
That makes sense for liposuction, because that directly involves fat, but what about other procedures? Like jowls, for instance. If you lose weight you may not even have them anymore — or much less. Lewis says:
The general rule is that if you are having any large surgical procedure — facelift, breast lift or reduction, tummy tuck — it is best to be at a stable weight before going under the knife. …if you lose weight after the surgery, you may increase your chances of residual sagging skin. Having a rhinoplasty [nose job] or eyelid procedure is not really a factor, but especially with body work, it is recommended to be at a good weight."
For non-invasive procedures, like injections in nasal labial folds for example… if you have filler and then lose the weight, does it look weird? Does the filler stick out?
Of course if you lose weight after 40 — 10 pounds or more — it shows in your face. However, if you have [for instance] fat injections to your face, and then gain weight, there have been instances of odd looking formations — uneven areas, inflated parts — that are not ideal or expected. I have seen some strange looking patients..."
Dr. Yael Halaas, a NYC facial plastic surgeon, weighs in on the situation with an adamant: "Definitely before surgery, lose the weight." For injections, she also suggests having the procedure before weight loss.
When we lose weight, our face tends to deflate. Although our bodies look better, our face may look more saggy, hollow and old. This can be dispiriting!"
Of course that's true. It's that old adage: After 45, it's your body or your face. Ugh. But if you look better facially, which makes you feel younger and thus more energetic (as happened to a friend of mine), you might be inspired to be more physical, and start working on getting in shape below the neck.
If the weight loss comes first, Dr. Halaas suggests,
…carefully and selectively refill[ing] the face in key youthening areas. Overall, see a doctor who is not going to overfill, so a patient looks natural before and after weight loss."
I'd be inclined to side with lose the weight first, but that can be hard, and a little extra energy, inspiration and instigation always helps.
Maybe make the appointment for a few months in the future, then get on a regimen — but by the time the date arrives — you may decide, depending on what your issue is, that you don't need the procedure after all.
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