Plastic makes perfect?

By: Alison Dunn Jan 10, 2011

If your weight loss strategy includes plastic surgery, here’s what you need to know

If your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, you’re not alone. Experts agree that it’s probably one of the most common resolutions people make, along with quitting smoking.

For some people losing weight isn’t just about going to the gym or going on a diet. Some turn to plastic surgery in an attempt to reshape their bodies. But if you’re thinking about going under the knife, you may want to get the facts about plastic surgery first.

Tummy tuck

What it is: In a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, a surgeon removes all the skin and fat from the top of the pubic hair line to the top of the belly button and tightens the abdominal muscle. Everything from the belly button down is discarded, and everything above the belly button gets pulled down to the pubic hair line. Any stretch marks that were below the belly button are gone, and any above the belly button are now down around the public hair line.

What to expect: Most tummy tucks are done under general anesthetic and they can be done on an outpatient basis, although your surgeon may perform the procedure in a hospital rather than his clinic. You may also have to stay over one night, depending on if you do it in conjunction with another procedure.

Dr. Sean Rice, a plastic surgeon in Toronto, says you can expect to be off of work for at least a week after the surgery, with no heavy lifting for at least two weeks. A full recovery from the surgery usually takes about six weeks.

Estimated cost: $7,000 to $10,000

Breast reduction

What it is: The surgeon makes incisions in the breasts, removing fat, tissue and skin from the area before reshaping the breasts. The type and direction of incisions depend on the size of your breasts, the amount of reduction desired and other factors. In some cases, the surgeon may remove your nipple and areola and change the areola’s size before reattaching it further up on the breast.

What to expect: Breast reduction is a fairly major surgical procedure that can take at least an hour and a half under general anesthetic. You can usually go home the same day, although you can expect to be in bed for a few days following the surgery.

Plan to take approximately 10 days to two weeks off work, and Rice recommends not doing any physical activity or heavy lifting for at least three weeks. It will take about six weeks to fully recover from the procedure.

Estimated cost: Covered under most provincial health plans in Canada.


What it is: Liposuction uses suction to remove stubborn fatty deposits from traditional trouble spots on the body such as the abdomen, thighs, upper arms, and neck. The surgeon uses suction through a stainless steel tube called a cannula to break up and remove fatty tissue, reshaping areas of the body.

What to expect: Most liposuction procedures take about 45 minutes and can be performed under local anesthetic. Liposuction works best for someone in good overall physical condition and close to her ideal weight but who wants to slim and sculpt specific areas of the body, such as the abdomen, thighs, and upper arms. Dr. Rice does not recommend it for patients looking to lose large amounts of weight with a single procedure.

Estimated cost: Starts at approximately $4,000, with an additional $2,000 per area of the body after that.

A journalist with more than 10 years experience, Alison’s work has appeared in a number of top Canadian publications, including glow, Oxygen, Canadian Running and more. She is the former editor of a number of well-respected Canadian and American trade journals and recipient of a Kenneth R. Wilson Gold Award of Excellence in feature article writing. She is a part-time faculty member at Sheridan College’s journalism department, as well as an avid runner and fitness enthusiast.