What is Body Contouring?
Patients with a history of massive weight loss, whether due to bariatric surgery or due to diet and exercise, are a unique population of plastic surgery patients. The skin of a massive weight loss patient has lost its elasticity and cannot shrink down to appropriately contour the underlying body. This excess skin creates both functional and aesthetic problems. The goal of body contouring is to remove this excess and cumbersome skin while creating a sleeker, trimmer shape.
Who is a candidate for Body Contouring?
You may want to consider body contouring if you have a history of massive weight loss and:
- Excess and lax skin of the face and neck
- Excess and lax skin of the breasts (male or female)
- Excess and lax skin of the upper arms
- Excess and lax skin of the trunk, buttocks, and thighs
- Difficulty fitting into appropriately sized clothing
- Difficulty maintaining adequate hygiene, and/or development of chronic rashes due to the excess skin
- For all body contouring procedures, the ideal patient has been stable at their goal weight and does not have plans for future weight loss.
How is Body Contouring Performed?
Body contouring is typically performed in stages. Several procedures can be combined into a single surgery. Which procedures are performed first is a discussion that you should have with Dr. Rovelo, and it is mainly dependent on which areas bother you the most. Surgeries frequently performed for body contouring after massive weight loss include:
- Breast Lift (Mastopexy) with or without Augmentation for females
- Gynecomastia Surgery for males
- Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)
- Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
- Lower Body Lift
- Inner Thigh Lift
When you have your consult with Dr. Rovelo, she will ask about your individual goals and desires for your body. In this way, an individualized and safe surgical plan will be created that is tailored specifically for you.
All surgery is associated with risks. The most common complications from body contouring procedures are wound healing problems and unfavorable scarring. Additional complications include fluid collections (seromas), bleeding, changes in sensation, asymmetry, and need for revisional procedures. It is important to talk with your surgeon about the risks of your surgery and how the risks can be minimized to provide the best possible outcome.
Body contouring after massive weight loss is performed under general anesthesia. Depending on how many procedures you are doing, operating times may range from 4-8 hours. After the surgery, you will have drains in place and may have difficulty ambulating, therefore you will need to spend at least one night in an aftercare facility. You will be seen in clinic on a weekly basis until all drains have been removed. When you can return to light activity and work is dependent on how many different procedures were performed, and what kind of procedures were performed. Full recovery and return to an active lifestyle will take about 6 weeks