Dramatic weight loss has many benefits. But after any substantial amount of weight loss due to weight loss surgery and/or lifestyle changes, the skin and tissues often lack the elasticity to conform to the reduced body size.
Surgical body contouring following major weight loss removes excess sagging skin and fat while improving the shape of the underlying support tissue. The result is a better-proportioned appearance with smoother contours.
Postbariatric surgery procedures may include:
In general, good postbariatric surgery candidates are:
The procedures necessary to achieve your goals will be defined along with a plan for the timing of these procedures.
Plastic surgery procedures that may be recommended by your physician include:
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Step 2 – The incision
All body contouring procedures require large 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, as well as personal preference and your doctor’s surgical judgment. Advanced techniques usually allow incisions to be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing, but this is not always the case.
Body contouring is often performed in stages. Your particular condition and goals, as well as your plastic surgeon’s best judgment, will all influence how your doctor defines a surgical plan. While it may have taken you two years or more to lose all the excess weight, it may take equally as long for the results of your body contouring to be complete.
A complete lower body lift treats sagging buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips and outer thighs in one procedure. Incision patterns vary and may include a circumferential incision around the body to remove the “belt” of excess skin and fat.
The incision patterns for lifting a man’s sagging breasts will be determined based on the amount of excess skin to be removed. One or a combination of incisions may be used to reduce male breast size, flatten and enhance the chest contours.
The incision patterns for lifting a woman’s sagging breasts will be determined based on the amount of excess skin to be removed. These may include one or a combination of incisions in a circular pattern around the areola, in a line extending from the areola to the breast crease, and horizontally along the breast crease. A breast implant also may be recommended to enhance breast shape and size.
Sagging skin of the upper arms is treated with an incision from the underarm area extending along the inside or back of the upper arm. Additional incisions on the arms may be necessary if there are other areas of excess skin.
Reshaping of the inner thighs is achieved through incisions in the groin that can extend downward to the knee along the inseam of the thigh.
Improving contours of the outer thigh may require an incision extending from the groin around the hip.
During your recovery from body contouring surgery, dressings or bandages will be applied to your incisions following the procedure.
Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
You will be given specific instructions that may include:
Postbariatric surgery recovery at home
You may be instructed to avoid bending, straining or lifting for several days to weeks.
Where tightening of the abdomen or thighs is involved, your plastic surgeon may also instruct you to avoid standing fully upright and stressing any internal sutures as they heal, and to sleep with pillows elevating your knees.
To minimize the risk of DVT (blood clots in the legs) you will need to be up and walking as soon as possible, and drinking plenty of fluid.
The results of postbariatric surgery following significant weight loss are visible almost immediately.
Visible scars are something you must accept to achieve a body contour that matches your new weight and proportion.
The results of body contouring are generally long-lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness. However, most of your initial improvement should remain.
It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, motion, swelling or abrasion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
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