The elastic properties of the skin and its ability to shrink and adapt itself around the reduced body mass depend on factors such as age, body region, genetic predisposition and sun damage. Even in young people with good skin quality, expanded skin is able to contract only to some degree. Therefore, following significant weight loss most individuals have excess, hanging or empty skin or redundant skin folds in many areas of the body. Post-weight loss surgery involves contouring of the abdomen, breasts, trunk, back and chest, and lifting of the buttocks, thighs, upper arms and face. The results are usually dramatic and have substantial functional and aesthetic benefits.
Good candidates are individuals who are healthy, physically fit and exhibit a stable body weight at least a year following weight loss. Poor candidates for surgery include patients with chronic diseases and concomitant medical problems, smokers and psychologically unstable people. Malnourished people with nutritional deficiencies can be at risk for poor wound healing, wound infections and overall postoperative fatigue or depression and are not considered good candidates for surgery.
The aim of body contouring surgery after weight loss is not just removing redundant skin, but reshaping and sculpting the remaining tissue. Two or more regions can be addressed at the same time. Procedures sequenced, in approximately six month periods, enable complete healing with physical and emotional recovery. Only a surgeon well-versed in a variety of techniques used in body contouring can choose the right sequence and combination of procedures for optimal results. According to anatomical predispositions and personal preferences we prepare an individualized treatment plan for every patient.
Specifically, for patients after massive weight loss, the risk of complications such as wound dehiscence, infection or seroma formation is significantly higher than average. Having realistic expectations is crucial for post-weight loss surgery. Body reshaping after significant weight loss will remarkably improve your body contour, but it cannot be done without making multiple scars and without experiencing significant downtime.
Commonly performed procedures after weight reduction are:
- breast lift (Mastopexy)
- breast lift with breast enlargement (Augmentation mastopexy)
- male breast reduction (Gynecomastia)
- upper arm surgery (Brachiplasty)
- thigh lift
- buttock lift
The lower body lift also known as a belt lipectomy or circumferential abdominoplasty, is a combination of abdominoplasty with buttock and thigh lift. During the procedure the incisions are made all the way around the torso in a belt-like fashion. Excess skin and fat are removed to reshape the abdomen, hips, thighs and buttocks. In the front, as for a standard abdominoplasty, the muscles of the abdominal wall are tightened back together in the midline to restore hour-glass figure.
A lower body lift is usually performed in general anesthesia and due to the extensive nature of this procedure one or two night stay at the clinic is recommended. Pain is controlled with intravenous and later oral analgesics. After the procedure compression garment is applied and should be worn for at least three weeks, except for showers which can be taken after a couple of days. Numbness, bruising and general tiredness is common a few weeks after surgery. Lower body lift is an extensive operation and has significant downtime and recovery. At least 6 weeks off exercise and strenuous activities is recommended. You will need to enlist the help with some activities during the immediate postoperative period.