What would disqualify you from getting plastic surgery?

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There are many reasons to pursue plastic surgery. You may be hoping to reduce pain or bodily discomfort with a rectus diastasis repair or a breast reduction, for instance. Or perhaps you may be considering a body contouring plastic surgery procedure, such as a breast augmentation or liposuction to help you reach your ideal aesthetic.

While many people are strong candidates for plastic surgery, other individuals desire plastic surgery but are unable to proceed with their desired procedure. A plastic surgeon may decline to perform surgery for a variety of reasons, including the patient's risk factors for surgery, their expectations for the procedure or underlying health conditions.

The best way to know if you are an ideal candidate for a plastic surgery procedure is to schedule an appointment with a board-certified plastic surgeon. An experienced plastic surgeon will discuss your medical history, your goals for surgery and any possible complications that may arise during or after a plastic surgery procedure.

Reasons you could be disqualified for plastic surgery

Eligibility for plastic surgery depends on which procedure is desired. For example, some minimally invasive procedures, like mole removal or scar revision, are typically safe for most men and women. However, more invasive plastic surgery procedures, such as breast augmentation, may not be safe for people with certain medical conditions.

The risk of surgical complications is not the only reason a plastic surgeon might disqualify you from surgery. It is important to have the right goals going into any plastic surgery procedure—if your plastic surgeon senses you have unrealistic expectations for your surgical procedure, they may decline to perform surgery.

Finally, unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking, using drugs or having a high body mass index may preclude you from having surgery. Before plastic surgery is performed, you should stop smoking or using drugs and be at or close to your ideal weight with a BMI of less than 30.

Here are five common reasons a patient may be disqualified for plastic surgery.

Unrealistic expectations

There are many reasons to pursue plastic surgery. For example, if you are unhappy with the size or shape of your breasts, are struggling with a stubborn fat deposit or wish to change the shape of your nose, plastic surgery can help you achieve your body goals and increase your confidence in the way you look.

However, if your surgeon feels your expectations for surgery are unrealistic, they may disqualify you from surgery.

Plastic surgery alone cannot reverse signs of aging, improve relationships or alter any negative thought patterns about your body. If you are expecting plastic surgery to be a quick fix for problems, then you may not be a good candidate for plastic surgery at that point in time.

Underlying health conditions

Every surgery comes with risks of complications, particularly if anesthesia is involved. Some medical conditions, like high blood pressure or a body mass index higher than 30, can increase the risk of infection or postsurgical heart attack or stroke.

Additionally, if you are currently pregnant, your plastic surgeon will likely decline to perform surgery until at least six months after you have delivered your baby. Surgery during pregnancy can increase the risk of health complications for you and your baby, including premature delivery or even miscarriage.

Previous surgical complications

If you have ever experienced any surgical complications in the past, like wound infection, excessive bleeding or blood clots, you are at an increased risk of experiencing complications again, no matter the type of surgery.

Plastic surgery is, in most cases, an elective procedure. If your risk of surgical complications is high, your plastic surgeon may determine the risks of the procedure outweigh the benefits and decline to perform surgery.

Wanting surgery for the wrong reasons

Although some plastic surgery procedures do remove fat from the body, plastic surgery is not a weight-loss method. If you are pursuing surgery in lieu of a healthy lifestyle, your plastic surgeon may not feel comfortable performing surgery.

A healthy diet and exercise should always be the first method attempted to reduce excess fat in the body. While some plastic surgery procedures like liposuction can remove stubborn fat in areas resistant to diet and exercise, these procedures should only be used as a last resort. In fact, failure to adopt a healthy lifestyle before having plastic surgery can cause the procedure to fail over time, preventing you from attaining optimal results.

For example, gaining weight after a breast reduction, tummy tuck or liposuction can result in unnatural or asymmetrical body contours. Instead, plastic surgeons typically recommend being at or close to your ideal weight before pursuing plastic surgery.

Surgery conflicts with your desire to have children

If you are not currently pregnant but are hoping to bear children in the future, you should share this information with your plastic surgeon prior to scheduling surgery. While plans for a future pregnancy may not necessarily prevent you from undergoing plastic surgery, your surgeon might use a particular technique to ensure you will not have any complications carrying a child or breastfeeding in the future. For example, a plastic surgeon may avoid operating through the nipple during a breast augmentation since damage to the nipple can impact lactation.

Additionally, weight gain associated with pregnancy can impact surgical results over time. If you plan to become pregnant in the near future, your plastic surgeon may suggest you wait until after pregnancy to have some procedures performed, such as liposuction or a breast augmentation or reduction.

A plastic surgeon can help explain your options for surgery

board-certified plastic surgeon can explain your surgical options so that you can properly prepare for a procedure without worrying about being disqualified. With the right preparation, you can pursue your desired plastic surgery intervention at the right time and reach your aesthetic goals.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.