prepare for plastic surgery

How To Prepare for Plastic Surgery Before Reaching Your Goal WLS Weight

October 18, 2017

Not Yet at Your Goal Weight? You Can Still Start Preparing

Even if you’re not yet at your ideal pre-op weight, there are plenty of steps you can take to accelerate the process and make your surgical experience easier once you’re ready for it. You can think ahead and start to prepare for plastic surgery. In this article, I’d like to address some of these steps, with an emphasis on pace. You didn’t gain weight overnight, and changing your habits won’t happen overnight either. Instead, take your time and treat yourself compassionately.

Make small changes and build up your new habits slowly. Over time, things that feel strange or uncomfortable now — such as skipping dessert — will become second nature to you. Read on to find out how you can start giving yourself the gift of a brighter future right now.

Prepare for Plastic Surgery: The Physical

  • Stop your weight gain in its tracks. Feeling like your weight is out of control is a common sentiment among prospective bariatric surgery patients. But regaining control doesn’t have to happen through a sudden 180-degree change. To start, commit to not gaining any more weight. You don’t have to start dropping pounds immediately. Instead, simply begin by maintaining your present weight. This may take some trial and error while you determine how many calories your body requires for maintenance, but be patient. Once you become used to seeing the scale remain stable, you’ll likely feel your sense of control rising, giving you the motivation you need to start moving the scale in the opposite direction.
  • Start adjusting your habits. Now is a great time to begin slowly adjusting your habits to match the ones you’ll need to maintain after surgery. This means filling up on lean protein and vegetables, and reducing your intake of sugars and starches, especially foods made from refined white flour. With plenty of time to plan and adjust, you can start perfecting your cooking skills to ensure you’ll be able to prepare appealing, healthful meals after surgery. Incorporating some light exercise into most of your days can also help you get used to being more active.
  • Stop smoking. If you’re a smoker, now can be a challenging time to quit. However, to minimize the risk of complications during and after your surgery, it’s imperative that you give up the habit — the sooner, the better. Nicotine affects the way your vascular system works, constricting blood vessels and reducing the delivery of oxygen in the blood. This can cause problems during the healing process by preventing oxygen-rich blood from reaching the tissues that need it. As soon as you stop smoking, these risks decrease — but the more time you can put between your last cigarette and your surgery day, the better.

Prepare for Plastic Surgery: The Emotional

  • Think about therapy. Obesity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The months prior to your surgery are a wonderful time to begin therapy and start exploring your relationship with food, your relationship with the people around you, and your relationship with yourself. While a therapist is no more a fairy godmother than your surgeon is, an experienced provider can help you define your goals and offer you proven methods to work toward them. Therapy is also a good way to start preparing for life after surgery, giving you a structured option for putting your new habits into practice. Finally, group counseling can be helpful if your family members are having trouble supporting you or understanding your surgery.
  • Seek out support. Support can come from many sources — your friends, family members, online forums, and in-person groups, too. Your surgeon can likely point you in the direction of groups in your community, where you can meet people at every phase of the weight loss process. By talking to people who have been there, or offering your own support to people who are just starting their journeys, you can help yourself and others, and form meaningful connections that can last a lifetime.
  • Look to the future. While the immediate future after surgery is important to plan for, we really mean the long-term future here. It’s a good idea to plan for your long-term results, including potential cosmetic surgery to remove loose, empty skin that’s left behind after you lose the weight, to help ensure you get to enjoy your beautiful new body to the fullest.

Additionally, think about what you want for yourself and your life. Some people find it helpful to journal their goals, or even to create a “mood board” with pictures that help them envision their future. Whether your long-term goals involve having a child (or playing a more active role in the lives of the children you already have), traveling to faraway destinations, or simply fitting into a special item of clothing you’ve had your eye on for a while, life is made up of big and small moments that you deserve to experience as much as anyone else.


David Stoker, M.D., is a board-certified plastic surgeon at Stoker Plastic Surgery who specializes in procedures such as abdominoplasty in Greater Los Angeles. At his office in Marina del Rey, Dr. Stoker treats a diverse range of patients, including a sizeable population of post-weight loss surgery patients. He finds special satisfaction in helping these inspirational men and women bring out the potential in their bodies.

Read more articles by Dr. Stoker!