Major weight loss achieved through either natural means or bariatric surgery is a great accomplishment that allows patients to significantly improve their appearance and overall quality of life, while also reducing the risk of weight-related health conditions.
After large amounts of weight loss, many patients are left with loose, hanging skin that has been stretched out by the excess weight and does not conform to the body's new contours. There may also be one or more problem areas that has not responded well to weight loss methods and still contains localized areas of stubborn fat.
Many patients seek body contouring procedures to complete the weight loss process and achieve a smooth,toned appearance that they will be proud to show off. Body contouring procedures often target problem areas such as the:
Multiple procedures may be needed in order to achieve desired results and to reduce the trauma of treating several different body areas at once. Your surgeon will develop a personalized treatment plan for you based on your individual needs and goals for surgery.
Body contouring procedures are generally considered safe, especially when performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon. It is important for patients to be in good overall health, be at a stable weight, and to maintain realistic expectations for surgery. These procedures cannot serve as a means for significant weight loss, but instead reduce the appearance of loose, sagging skin for a smoother body contour.
Also called belt lipectomy, the circumferential abdominoplasty is performed to remove excess skin from the front and back of the torso.
Candidates for body lifts typically suffer from loose (inelastic) skin on many or most areas of the body as a result of age, childbearing or significant weight loss due to diet, exercise or bariatric surgery. Belt lipectomy tightens the abdomen and back, and may give some improved appearance to the buttocks, hips and outer thighs.
During the procedure, skin is lifted from underlying tissue, muscles are tightened and stitched, fat is removed where necessary, and the skin is sutured closed. The navel is often removed and replaced in its new position. Surgical tubes are needed to drain fluid which forms as a result of the surgery, and patients may need to wear compression garments for a few weeks to facilitate faster healing.
After surgery, patients are encouraged to walk as soon as they are able to, although strenuous activities must be limited for six weeks. Results are visible immediately.
Brachioplasty, commonly known as an arm lift, improves the contour of the upper arm by removing the fat and excess skin which hangs there. This is most commonly requested by aging women, but some men opt to have this procedure as well. An arm lift is often performed on post-bariatric surgery patients who have lost large amounts of weight.
During the arm lift procedure, the incision is made beneath the arm and can extend from the elbow to the armpit, varying upon how much skin must be removed. The skin is then cut away from the rest of the arm and pulled taut around the extremity.
This procedure is very likely to leave a noticeable scar. Most doctors can adjust where they make their incision so that the cut runs either underneath the arm or on the inside surface. These are less visible in normal poses and can improve over time as the scar fades. However, most patients need to be firmly aware that they are essentially trading "skin for scars" with this procedure.
The recovery time for this procedure is similar to that of other body contouring procedures. The results will be immediately obvious, but will show more improvement as swelling subsides. The scars will heal and mature over the next year.