Body Contouring following major weight loss?
The condition of being significantly overweight can cause stress on your health
in many ways. If your physical activity has been limited due to your overweight
condition, you may have weak muscle tone, and your skin may be severely stretched.
Bariatric surgery, sometimes called
gastric bypass surgery, is one method of
major weight loss for individuals clinically defined as obese. Following weight
reduction surgery, or any substantial amount of weight loss, the skin and tissues
often lack elasticity and cannot conform to the reduced body size. As a result,
skin that has been severely stretched now is unsupported, and begins to sag in pockets
that most commonly develop around the:
- Face, neck and jowls, resulting in a droopy, sad appearance
Upper arms, resulting in a bat-like appearance
Breasts, causing them to flatten and hang with nipples pointed downward
- Abdominal area, extending around the sides and into the lower back area,
resulting in an apron-like overhang
- Buttocks, groin and thighs, causing hanging pockets of skin
Weak and sagging skin that becomes macerated (wet or infected) is not only unattractive,
it is also a serious threat to your health and must be treated.
Surgical body contouring following major weight loss improves the shape and tone
of the underlying tissue that supports fat and skin, and removes excess sagging
fat and skin. The result is a more normal appearance to the body, with smoother
contours. This is, in essence, the final phase of your total weight loss experience.
However, before you decide to undergo body contouring following major weight
loss, it is important to understand that your weight loss must have stabilized.
If you continue to lose weight, sagging pockets will redevelop. If you rapidly regain
the weight you have lost, you will traumatically stress your already weakened and
thinned skin, causing further stress to the skin, visible stretch marks, and wide
If you have had weight reduction surgery, your plastic surgeon will work closely
with your physician to determine when it is appropriate for you to begin body contouring.
In general, good candidates for body contouring are:
- Adults of any age whose weight loss has stabilized
- Health individuals who do not have medical conditions that can impair healing
or increase risk of surgery
- Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic goals for what body contouring
- Individuals committed to leading a healthy lifestyle including proper nutrition
My body contouring
Your body contouring following major weight loss will be
individualized to your specific conditions and the regions to be treated. The procedures
necessary to achieve your goals will be defined along with a plan for the timing
of these procedures.
Specific plastic surgery procedures that may be recommended for your body contouring
Facelift: to reduce sagging of the mid-face, jowls and neck
Breast Lift: to correct sagging, flattened breasts
Tummy tuck: to correct the apron of excess skin hanging over your abdomen
Lower body lifts: to correct sagging of the abdomen, buttocks, groin and
Medial thigh lift: to correct sagging of the inner, outer and mid thigh
Brachioplasty: to correct sagging of the upper arms
You must accept that all body contouring requires incisions to remove excess
skin. In many cases, these incisions may be extensive. Incision length and pattern
depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed. Advanced techniques
usually allow incisions to be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden
by most types of clothing and swimsuits, but this is not always the case.
Body contouring following major weight loss is often performed in stages. Your
conditions, goals, health, safety and comfort as well as the surgical judgment of
your plastic surgeon will define a surgical plan for you. While it may have taken
you two years or more to lose the weight, it may take equally as long for the results
of your body contouring to be complete.
In addition to preparing yourself for stages of contouring and recovery following
procedures, you must also accept that a single procedure to treat a specific area
may not achieve your results. Uneven contours can develop following your body contouring
surgery, and in some cases, skin elasticity is so poor that relapse of sagging skin