Plastic surgery has become increasingly safer over the last several years, as doctors have found ways to minimize post-operative infections and other complications. But while the risk associated with most cosmetic procedures is relatively low, a recent study has found that obese patients actually have a higher likelihood of developing complications following surgical procedures.
In order to best understand the study, it’s important to know what doctors mean by “obese.” Given the vast differences in height and body type, simply having a higher-than-average weight doesn’t necessarily constitute obesity. Instead, doctors are increasingly using a person’s body mass index (BMI) to determine whether or not they’re at a healthy weight. In short, doctors determine your body mass index by taking your weight and dividing it by your height. Generally, a BMI of 18.5 to 25 is considered normal, while a BMI of more then 30 is considered obese.
For the study, researchers examined the data of roughly 48,000 plastic surgery patients. Although all of the cosmetic surgeries they looked at were simple outpatient procedures, there was still a wide array of procedures, including everything from breast augmentation to liposuction.
Of the patients involved in the study, nearly 2,000 of them were considered by the researchers to be obese. Further, these obese patients had a higher likelihood of developing complications following their procedures, with more than 7% of them being admitted to the hospital within 30 days of their surgeries.
Conversely, only 4% of the patients who were considered a normal weight visited the hospital following their procedures. Altogether, the researchers determined that obese patients are roughly 35% more likely to experience significant complications following a plastic surgery operation.
In addition to the health risks, these post-operative complications also place an added financial burden on obese patients. According to the researchers, the obese patients in the study who developed complications paid, on average, between $4,000 and $7,000 more for their procedures when all was said and done. Part of this added cost comes from the fact that most insurance policies don’t cover the cost of complications arising from elective surgeries.
Obese patients may be at a higher risk of developing complications, but plastic surgery is never a risk-free endeavor for anybody. If you’re thinking of undergoing cosmetic surgery, be sure and talk to your doctor about all of the risks, regardless of your weight.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about plastic surgery, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!