Your Safety Is Our Priority—
Plastic Surgery Risk Factors

Your Safety Is Our Priority—
Plastic Surgery Risk Factors

There are a variety of health issues that add risk to any type of surgery whether medically necessary or elective. Since having plastic surgery is usually a choice, it’s important to take the time to weigh this decision carefully and delay or abandon it if necessary. At the Quatela Center for Plastic Surgery in Rochester, New York, our number 1 priority is patent safety. We want you to be realistic about whether you are healthy enough to undergo surgery and achieve optimal results. We encourage you to review this page to determine whether undergoing a plastic surgery procedure is a sound decision for you.

Obesity/High BMI

Having a high body mass index (BMI) is associated with a variety of health concerns, including high blood pressure and diabetes. A BMI of 35 and above is considered high or obese. Studies have found high BMI linked to an increase in complications during and after elective surgery. These complications include:

  • Blood clots in the legs or lungs
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing/scarring

Am I at a Safe Weight for Cosmetic Surgery?

If I am this tall…Surgery would be unsafe if I weigh more than…

Scientific Evidence

In general, cosmetic breast surgery is extremely safe with low rates of infection and overall complications. In obese patients, safety is compromised. A study of the impact of obesity on elective breast surgery outcomes concluded: “Obesity is associated with a nearly 12-fold increased odds of a postoperative complication after elective breast procedures.”1

Another study looked at the correlation between BMI in breast reduction patients and complications after surgery and found: “Body mass index is significantly associated with increased complications following reduction mammaplasty. An index value greater than 35.6 is associated with a twofold-higher risk of complications. Patients with a body mass index of 36 or above should be cautioned regarding a potential increased risk of complications.”2

Weight Loss Should Be Stable

If you have reached a healthy weight, it’s important to ensure your weight is stable. Weight changes of 5 to 10 pounds are ok, but greater changes before or after surgery are not safe.


Smoking in itself creates a significant health risk. In plastic surgery patients, nicotine interferes with the blood supply and weakens the immune system, both of which interfere with healing. Smoking makes anesthesia riskier and increases the risk of blood clots.

We require our patients to quit smoking (tobacco or marijuana) or vaping 4 weeks before and 4 weeks after surgery.

Chronic Conditions

There are a variety of chronic health conditions that may make elective surgery unsafe, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune disorder
  • Emotional instability

We may require patients with chronic conditions to obtain a letter of clearance from a specialist.


Obviously, having elective surgery during pregnancy puts mother and child at risk. However, it’s not advisable to have plastic surgery if you intend to become pregnant within the next year or so. The changes to your breasts and body will likely undo your results. After childbirth, we recommend waiting about 6 months to have cosmetic surgery so your body has a chance to heal, your hormone levels return to normal, and your breasts, uterus, and other tissues return as close to their original condition as possible.


1. Chen, Catherine L. M.D., M.P.H.; Shore, Andrew D. Ph.D.; Johns, Roger M.D.; Clark, Jeanne M. M.D., M.P.H.; Manahan, Michele M.D.; Makary, Martin A. M.D., M.P.H., The Impact of Obesity on Breast Surgery Complications, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

2. Chun, Yoon S. M.D.; Schwartz, Marissa A. B.S.; Gu, Xiangmei M.S.; Lipsitz, Stuart R. Sc.D.; Carty, Matthew J. M.D. Body Mass Index as a Predictor of Postoperative Complications in Reduction Mammaplasty, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: February 2012 – Volume 129 – Issue 2 – p 228e–233e; doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e31823ae949

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For Our New York Neighbors
Quatela Center for Plastic Surgery

The Quatela Center for Plastic Surgery in Rochester is proud to serve patients from throughout Upstate NY. We are honored to be the area’s premier plastic surgery center, and give every patient our undivided attention and the quality of care they deserve. Learn more about how we support our New York patients on their surgical journeys: