The number of patients seeking body contouring surgery after significant weight loss has been steadily increasing. Anyone who is in good health and has lost a significant amount of weight may be a candidate for surgery.
Why People Choose Contouring After Weight Loss
Patients who have lost a large amount of weight often feel better and are healthier than they were before weight loss. Often, there is resolution of medical problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Despite being healthier and feeling great about weight and lifestyle, there may be dissatisfaction with the appearance of the body.
The most common complaint following massive weight loss is excess loose skin around the abdomen, arms, and chest. Often, there is extra skin on the thighs and neck as well. The loose skin may give a deflated appearance. Despite the weight loss, it is still difficult finding clothing that fits well. With body contouring surgery, many of these concerns can be improved.
Patients that have undergone body contouring surgery usually had one or more of the following concerns:
- Excess or loose skin
- Stretch marks
- Pockets or deposits of fat that won’t go away
- Laxity/weakness of abdomen (rectus diastasis)
- Loss or blunting of waistline or figure
- Combination of excess/loose skin and fat
You have worked hard to achieve sustained changes in their weight, lifestyle, and dietary habits. These efforts should be rewarded. Body contouring is the final touch in your transformation!
About Body Contouring Surgery After Weight Loss
Body contouring after weight loss encompasses a variety of procedures aimed towards improving the shape and figure following weight loss. These procedures address the excess loose skin and residual fat pockets that are common complaints. Usually, there is an orderly progression of procedures, starting from the lower body and working upwards culminating in the face/neck area. Because more than one procedure is usually needed, surgery often requires multiple stages. Each patient is evaluated on which procedures are actually required.
Lower Body Options:
Upper Body Options:
Unfortunately, the skin will not shrink back to its original shape. During the course of weight gain and weight loss, the elasticity of the skin and its capacity to recoil and shrink has been overwhelmed. As a result, the excess skin often drapes and sags and is unable to contour itself to the underlying body. Occasionally, there are residual excess fat pockets and these can be addressed with liposuction at the same time as body contouring surgery. However, liposuction alone will not improve the situation and, in fact, can worsen the deflated appearance. Patients should be able to demonstrate 6 months of stable weight prior to proceeding with body contouring surgery following massive weight loss. Ideally, the body mass index should be around 30. Significant weight fluctuation following surgery will affect the long term results.
Approximately 2 weeks prior to surgery, you will have a pre-operative appointment. At this time, you will sign the surgical consent, have photos taken, and receive an information packet. The pre-operative packet includes detailed instructions for before and after surgery. DO NOT shave for 48 hours before surgery. It is important to avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, and other blood thinning medications for at least two weeks before surgery. Also, do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the evening prior to surgery.
About the Operation
The operative time depends on the procedure(s) performed. In general, each procedure takes 1.5 – 3 hours so two or three procedures can be combined at the same time. All operations are performed under general anesthesia by an anesthesiologist. We almost always place a pain pump during abdominal operations to minimize post-operative discomfort. For large operations or significant combined operations, we recommend using an after-care facility.
The incisions are always placed in a concealed location. If there is a caesarian section scar, this is removed during the operation. We ask that you bring your favorite clothing to your appointment so that we can demonstrate the anticipated scar placement. All incisions are closed meticulously with multiple layers to achieve the best possible result. The scars can take up to 6 months to fade following surgery.
All patients are required to walk the evening of surgery to prevent blood clots. The recovery period is variable, depending on the procedure and extent of surgery. In general, the immediate recovery period lasts approximately 3 to 10 days to resume normal daily activity. Recovery from arm, thigh, or breast surgery is much more rapid then after a tummy tuck or lower body lift. When the abdominal muscles are tightened, strenuous activity or heavy lifting is to be avoided for 3-4 weeks with a gradual increase thereafter. Combined with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and continued weight management, the results of body contouring are long lasting.
Contact Our Practice
Whatever the reason, body contouring after significant weight loss can lead to significant aesthetic and personal benefits for the right candidate by enhancing the overall appearance and shape of the body. Often, this translates to improved self confidence and satisfaction and completes your transformation into the new you! To find out if body contouring following weight loss (tummy tuck, lower body lift, breast lift, thigh lift, arm lift, or facelift) is right for you, please make an appointment with Dr. Jerome Liu or Dr. Tom Liu.