Weight loss is a major accomplishment, whether the result of diet and exercise or bariatric surgery. We hear about the benefits of weight loss all the time. You feel healthier and more energetic. Weight loss lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes and improves joint pain, to name just a few. What people don’t talk about as often following weight loss is the challenge of loose skin. It may hold you back from being able to enjoy your new figure. Loose skin often develops on the abdomen, arms, thighs, and back. Your breasts may lose volume and become saggy. Aside from aesthetic concerns relating to loose skin, it can also be uncomfortable and cause chafing or rashes. There are many options for body contouring after weight loss depending on your body shape, concerns, and aesthetic goals.
What is Body Contouring After Weight Loss?
Body contouring surgery addresses loose skin and soft tissue that result from significant weight loss – either through non-surgical lifestyle modifications or bariatric surgery. Common areas of concern are the breasts, abdomen, arms, and thighs. Dr. Power offers surgical procedures to resuspend the soft tissues and tighten loose skin in these regions, including:
- Mastopexy (breast lift) with or without breast implants
- Abdominoplasty (standard vs. circumferential depending on the degree of skin redundancy)
- Upper body lift
- Brachioplasty (arm lift)
- Thigh lift
You will receive a customized surgical plan based on your unique presentation and goals. A thorough consultation will be performed to understand your specific concerns, detailed weight history, and review of overall medical health. Maintaining a stable and healthy body weight for at least six months is generally recommended prior to surgery. It is important to maintain a stable weight following surgery to enjoy long-lasting surgical results.
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How is Body Contouring After Weight Loss Performed?
Cosmetic breast surgery following weight loss most often involves a breast lift – with or without implants depending on your presentation and goals. Breasts lose volume and skin elasticity following weight loss and often appear saggy. Mastopexy removes excess skin and lifts the breast tissue to reshape breast contour. Different incisions are used depending on the degree of ptosis (or droopiness). Surgery is less extensive if only a minor lift is required. Options include a periareolar (circular incision around the areola) or short vertical scar (similar in appearance to a lollipop, including a periareolar incision with a vertical extension) pattern. To correct more severe cases of ptosis, a Wise or anchor pattern (lollipop scar plus an incision along the inframammary fold) may be required. During your consultation, Dr. Power will speak with you regarding the best technique for your desired results. Breast implants can also be inserted during a breast lift, if desired, to increase breast size or improve symmetry.
Tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is another common surgery for body contouring after weight loss. Options include a standard tummy tuck vs. circumferential vs. fleur-de-lis techniques. The most appropriate surgery for you will depend on your goals and degree of loose skin. A standard tummy tuck addresses loose skin of the upper and lower abdomen, which requires an incision from hip to hip and a circular incision around the belly button. The lower abdominal incision is similar to but a little longer than a C-section scar. If your loose skin extends all the way around and onto your lower back, a circumferential tummy tuck may be required. For more severe cases, a fleur-de-lis tummy tuck is an option to achieve both vertical and horizontal tightening. In addition to standard tummy tuck scars, a fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty also requires a vertical scar to further eliminate loose skin
Upper Body Lift
An upper body lift is also tailored to your body shape and concerns after massive weight loss. It may involve an arm lift, breast lift, or removal of the bra rolls of the upper back. The incisions and resultant scarring will depend on the extent of surgery. Extra precautions are taken to hide the scars in areas that may be easily concealed by clothing.
This procedure, also known as an arm lift, is performed to eliminate excess skin from the upper arms. Incision options include a limited resection in the underarm area, a standard incision extending from elbow to underarm, or an extended incision that carries onto the chest wall. The extent of surgery depends on the degree of loose skin.
A thigh lift addresses loose skin on the medial or lateral thighs. Options include a medial thigh lift, which is limited to the upper inner thigh, and a lateral thigh lift, which addresses excess skin on the outer and frontal thigh regions. The appropriate technique will be determined during your consultation.
"My patients are real women. Mothers and next-door neighbors, not models."
- Dr. Stephanie Power
Body Contouring After Weight Loss Recovery
Following body contouring after weight loss, you can expect to feel sore over the first couple of weeks. Drains may be placed to help collect any excess fluid during recovery. Overall recovery time will depend on the extent of surgery. Dr. Power will provide you with specific instructions on how to care for your surgical site(s) to ensure a safe and optimal recovery. Patients may generally return to office-based work within 1-2 weeks. It is important to refrain from exercise and heavy lifting for 4-6 weeks. Swelling gradually subsides and final results become apparent by one year post-operatively.
Body Contouring FAQs
Will I Have a Scar After Body Contouring Surgery?
Scarring will vary depending on the type of surgeries performed. It takes one year for scars to fully mature. Dr. Power will give recommendations on scar management based on your healing, skin pigmentation, and history. In most cases, scars improve over time following scar massage and sun protection. Silicone tape or gel may be an option if you are prone to more problematic scarring.
How Long Will My Body Contouring Results Last?
Results from your body contouring procedures should be long-lasting if your weight remains stable. While you are less active during early healing, it is important to monitor your weight carefully. Unfortunately it is easy to gain weight inadvertently while you are restricted from exercising. Weight fluctuations after body contouring surgery may compromise your results. Weight gain may lead to fatty tissue deposits and soft tissue bulges, while weight loss may result in further loose skin. It is important to maintain a healthy body weight following surgery to ensure that your results will last.
What Are the Risks Associated with Body Contouring After Weight Loss?
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks of body contouring procedures. Risks will be discussed in detail during your pre-operative appointment as part of the informed consent process. Surgical risks include bleeding, hematoma, infection, and scarring. Procedure-specific risks will also be discussed in depth. Dr. Power strongly believes that surgery is only part of the equation in achieving excellent outcomes. Following aftercare instructions is equally important to achieve the results you desire and to lower risk of developing complications.
Schedule A Body Contouring Consultation
If you are interested in learning more about body contouring after weight loss, please contact us today to schedule your consultation appointment with Dr. Power.CONTACT US GET PRICING