Quatela Center for Plastic Surgery
973 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607
Phone: (585) 244-1000
Monday–Friday: 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.

The Dreaded “COVID-15” Weight Gain

Woman holding scale looking scared

-by Lauren Andreacchi, Patient Consultant for Dr. William J. Koenig, double board-certified plastic surgeon

Over the past year, we have received many calls from patients complaining of the “COVID-15,” and often times much more than 15 pounds, that they have gained throughout the pandemic.  Many have been working from home, not traveling, and not going to the gym.  Last year a lot of people were living a more sedentary life due to the restrictions which kept them more grounded at home.  Some are also experiencing a heightened level of stress and anxiety and are “stress-eating” more than they normally would.

When we first speak to people who call, many are disappointed to hear that we actually recommend they turn to diet and exercise instead of our practice.  If patients were happy with their body and their proportions prior to the weight gain, this is indicative of the fact that the weight gain is truly the issue.  We always take a “minimalist” approach with patients and prefer not to operate if there is something that they can do on their own to address their concerns.  We feel that they will be happier in the long-run, as we believe that plastic surgery is not a quick fix.

“Plastic surgery is not an easy fix or an isolated experience. I always encourage my patients to be actively involved in the entire process. The more involved patients are, the better the surgical outcome and the more satisfied they are with their results. Plastic surgery is a lifelong commitment and should be partnered with efforts to improve the quality of one’s life. It’s a privilege to be part of this process with my patients.” – Dr. William J. Koenig

Depending on the amount of weight gained, we typically recommend trying diet and exercise for 3-6 months.  If they are still unhappy with their weight at that time, we would recommend they see their primary care physician for recommendations. 

Body Contouring

If they are happy with their weight but unhappy with their proportions, then they begin to meet our criteria for an appropriate candidate.  We cannot operate on patients with a BMI of 35 or higher due to increased risks and complications associated with the surgery.  We recommend that patients don’t come in for a consult until their BMI is under 35 so that we can make the appropriate recommendations for them.  We also ask patients to be at a stable, maintainable weight when they come in for a consultation, as the surgical plan might change based on weight changes.  Liposuction is a great procedure to contour and re-proportion the body.  By removing stubborn pockets of fat that resist diet and exercise, the abdomen, hips, thighs, love handles, and arms can be reshaped.

If a patient has loose skin, that is something that they can’t exercise or diet away.  We would still recommend being at a stable, maintainable weight prior to starting the process for surgery.  Procedures such as a tummy tuck, arm lift, and thigh lift can remove excess skin, and often is combined with liposuction for a more sculpted result.

If you have found that your body has changed due to a change in lifestyle or habits, we’d be happy to talk to you about your next steps.  For more information on body contouring options, call our office at 585.244.1000 to speak to a Patient Consultant.

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