How Your BMI Affects Surgery

Do you struggle with your weight?

Removing excess weight through a surgical procedure such as a tummy tuck or a breast reduction can really help.

But if you’ve been told that your body mass index (BMI) measurement is on the higher end, you might be wondering how your BMI affects surgery. Will it make things more complicated?

The short answer is, not nearly as much as you might think!

What Is BMI?

Every person has a BMI measurement. It’s calculated from your height and weight to determine if you’re at a healthy weight.

In the U.S., the formula for determining BMI is your weight in lbs x 703/ your weight in in2. In other words, you multiply your weight by 703. Then you take that number and divide it by your height in inches, squared (in2).

Of course, the easiest way to determine yours is with a BMI calculator.

The “ideal” BMI for most adults is in the 18.5 to 24.9 range.

Below 18.5 is considered underweight, while the 25 to 29.9 range is considered overweight.

Once someone scores between 30 to 39.9, they are in the obese range. Anything over 40 is considered morbidly obese.

At the end of the day though, BMI is really just a number. For many people, the number isn’t a true reflection on their actual health. As an example – since muscle is more dense than fat, it’s possible that a perfectly healthy weightlifter could be considered obese.

How BMI Affects Surgery

The truth is, surgeons treat elevated BMI patients all the time. With advancements in medical technology, some of the previous challenges that obese patients faced can now be mitigated.

For example, those who are overweight or obese are more likely to have sleep apnea – meaning they temporarily stop breathing while sleeping. This can make administering general anesthesia seem dicey. But it’s not.  Sleep apnea can be easily treated in the recovery room with CPAP devices.

Furthermore, issues such as high blood pressure (which is common in obese patients) can be closely monitored and controlled by board-certified anesthesiologists. An electrocardiogram (EKG) can also be administered pre-op to determine if there are other cardiac issues.

To reduce the risk of blood clots in patients with a higher BMI reading, subcutaneous heparin is given before the operation to effectively lower this