Cosmetic Surgery in Atlanta, GA, and Alpharetta, GA, with Dr. Alderman

Dr. Alderman is often asked what can be done prior to plastic surgery to optimize surgical results. There are a few key issues that will impact the results of cosmetic surgery related to a healthy lifestyle and nutrition. However, the most important thing a patient can do prior to surgery is to achieve their ideal body weight.

Why is it Important for a Patient to be at an Ideal Body Weight Prior to Surgery?

When a patient is considering breast or body cosmetic surgery, Dr. Alderman always stresses the importance of being close to an ideal body weight that can be maintained long-term. The reason is two-fold and is related to surgical risk and surgical outcomes. It is well documented that obese patients have a higher risk of surgical complications compared to a patient at an average weight. In addition, the surgical procedure is tailored to your current body size. Losing a significant amount of weight after surgery may result in a less optimal surgical outcome.

How Does Losing Weight After Cosmetic Breast or Body Surgery Impact Results?

Dr. Alderman can only recontour a patient’s breast or body to their current weight at the time of surgery. Losing weight after surgery may result in more skin than desired in the surgical area. Usually, losing 5-8 lbs. will not significantly impact surgical results. However, losing a significant amount of weight, such as greater than 15 lbs., will often result in loose skin. For example, a breast lift may relax more than desired, or a tummy may have more redundant skin compared to the results immediately after the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) procedure. Dr. Alderman wants you to have the best outcome possible. And because of that, she stresses the importance of being close to your desired weight at the time of surgery.

How do you Determine the Best Weight for a Patient?

Patients often ask what their goal weight should be. That is a highly individualized decision, but a good rule of thumb is to use a BMI calculator. BMI stands for Body Mass Index, and it is a calculation that uses the ratio of height and weight. A BMI calculator is easy to find on the internet, and it is a good starting point when trying to find your optimal body weight. Current guidelines are that a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, and anyone with a BMI over 30 is considered obese. 

How is BMI (Body Mass Index) Related to Surgical Risk?

Patients who are obese have a higher surgical risk than those with average body weight. The risks include a higher incidence of infection and wound healing issues. In addition, overweight patients can have high blood pressure, which increases the risk of bleeding with surgery. Obesity can also be associated with sleep apnea. Patients with sleep apnea who are not treated with a CPAP machine can have difficulty breathing while sleeping after surgery if on narcotic pain medication.

For all of these reasons, Drs. Alderman and Joiner stress the importance of being at a healthy weight at the time of elective cosmetic surgery. Breast and body contouring surgery are not weight-loss procedures. These procedures are designed to recontour your body when you are at a healthy weight.

Request a Consultation

If you’re in the Atlanta area and have any questions about a procedure or wish to schedule a consultation with Dr. Alderman, please contact our office.

What Can I Do If I am Having a Hard Time Losing Unwanted Weight?

Talk to Dr. Alderman and her team if you need help achieving a healthy weight before surgery. Dr. Alderman has several resources available to help support you in achieving your weight loss goals. Most patients can reach a healthy BMI through diet and exercise. And proper nutrition is the most critical element of weight loss. Most experts believe that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. Dr. Alderman recommends you have nutritional counseling by an expert that can design a program specifically for you. She has several options available, so just ask her for recommendations. Some patients need more extreme help. For patients who are morbidly obese, surgical intervention may be the best answer. Gastric sleeve surgery has made significant advances and is done with minimally invasive techniques. Patients undergoing massive weight loss surgery should wait at least a year to 18 months before considering body contouring surgery, as it takes time for patients’ weight to stabilize after surgery.

How Does Nutrition Impact my Surgical Results?

Your body needs protein to heal from surgery. It is not the time to diet at the time of your procedure.

Patients who limit their caloric intake after surgery put undue stress on their bodies and limit their healing potential. Dr. Alderman will recommend a nutritional supplement for patients undergoing major breast and body contouring procedures that supports wound healing.

Can I Take Supplements Around the Time of Surgery?

Please discuss with Dr. Alderman and her team any supplements you want to continue around the time of surgery. Many supplements have the potential to increase your chance of bleeding during or after your procedure. Because of this, it is imperative to not take a supplement without discussing it with your surgical team.

Examples of supplements known to increase the risk of surgical bleeding are fish oil, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin C, green tea, garlic, ginger, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, milk thistle, turmeric, St. Johns wort, grapeseed extract, feverfew, evening primrose oil, cumin, cayenne, ajoene, birch bark, Chinese black tree fungus, CBD oil, echinacea, ephedra, kava, valerian, and apple cider vinegar.

Because the list of supplements associated with surgical bleeding is so extensive, Dr. Alderman highly recommends coming off all supplements around the time of surgery. 

What Else is Important to Stop Around the Time of Surgery? Why is Nicotine So Harmful?

It is crucial that patients undergoing surgery discontinue the use of any nicotine product. Nicotine, whether in the form of a cigarette, tobacco, gum, vape or patch, will impair the body’s ability to heal itself. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, making it hard for the surgical incision to heal. Surgical complications are directly associated with nicotine use. The primary complication is tissue necrosis, which is due to the loss of blood supply to the tissue. Tissue necrosis can mean that your incision does not heal or that the surgical areas, such as the nipple or abdominal skin, are compromised, and healing is delayed with increased scaring.   

Meet Dr. Alderman

Dr. Amy Alderman is a nationally known, board-certified plastic surgeon located in Buckhead near Atlanta.  As a female surgeon and mother of two children, she provides a unique perspective to patient care.  Each surgical plan is individually tailored to each patient’s needs and lifestyles and is aimed at enhancing her patient’s natural beauty and restoring confidence. She is known for her personal approach to patient care and has unparalleled commitment to patient safety, which can be attributed to years of education, professional experience and involvement in national patient safety initiatives.

How Long Do I Have to Refrain from Using Nicotine Products?

Dr. Alderman advises all patients to stop the use of nicotine at least 3 weeks prior to surgery and 3 weeks after surgery. Patients who use nicotine will be tested prior to surgery to make sure all nicotine is out of their body.

Does Second-Hand Smoke Increase Surgical Risk?

Patients often ask if exposure to second-hand smoke increases their risk of a surgical complication. The answer is that it depends. Dr. Alderman has had patients test positive for nicotine from exposure to significant amounts of second-hand smoke. She advises trying to limit exposure as much as possible around the time of surgery. If you have concerns, discuss with Dr. Alderman. She can do a quick test to see if your exposure is high enough to put you at an increased risk of delayed wound healing with surgery.

Does the Use of Cannabis (Marijuana) Increase the Risk of Surgery?

Marijuana use is estimated to be used by up to 9.5% of the U.S. population. Unfortunately, the use of cannabis or marijuana can significantly increase the risk of surgery. Patients using marijuana often require more anesthesia, experience more pain, can have issues with blood pressure, heart rate and breathing during and after surgery. Marijuana can also impair the body’s ability to heal itself, leading to higher risk of wound healing problems.

Dr. Alderman advises patients to discontinue the use of marijuana around the time of surgery similar to the use of nicotine. Patients should stop all marijuana and nicotine at least 3 weeks before and after surgery.

Want to learn more? Contact Dr. Alderman and her team today for your consultation.