Common Cosmetic Procedures Needed After Massive Weight Loss
Weight problems are incredibly common and can severely affect one’s body image. While being a little overweight is usually nothing to worry about – we can see-saw from time to time, after all! – obesity can be dangerous. It has direct correlations with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and, of course, mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
If you struggle with being overweight and have made the decision to get your health back on track, congratulations! You’ve taken the first step to better health and with discipline, you WILL reach your goal. And once you hit your ideal weight, there’s the small matter of what to do with loose skin and stubborn fat. Not to worry, though; there are several bariatric plastic surgery procedures for massive weight loss to lift, tighten and shape the body.
Popular Plastic Surgeries After Massive Weight Loss
Also called abdominoplasty, this is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures for massive weight loss. It aims to correct loose hanging skin. The result is usually long-lasting if weight is kept in check. In a tummy tuck, the patient is put under general anesthesia and is completely unconscious. The surgeon makes a large incision above the pubis area and the excess skin paddle is excised. The addition fat is removed and the muscles is tightened. The surgeon also moves the belly button to adjust it to the new shape of the tummy. The result is a flatter, more toned abdomen to go with a trim figure.
Whereas a tummy tuck focuses on the abdomen, body contouring targets several parts of the body where sagging skin and stubborn fat remain. These regions typically include the abdomen, buttocks, hips, waist, thighs and arms. In addition to removing excess skin, the surgeon may also perform liposuction to get rid of excess fat. If breast size has become significantly reduced because of the weight loss, the surgeon may perform breast augmentation (if the patient requests it) as well.
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Since body contouring is extensive surgery, it may not be possible to achieve the desired results in a single operation. In this case, the surgeon may prescribe a follow-up procedure. Fortunately, the result is long-lasting and later changes are usually due to natural aging.
Belt Lipectomy or 360-degree Abdominoplasty
In many patients following massive weight loss, the lower back skin laxity along with buttocks laxity is commonly present along with front skin fold. This group of patients need a circumferential skin paddle excision to achieve a contoured front and back. This also achieves a buttock lift. The procedure needs to be performed by an experienced plastic surgeon with great expertise in post massive weight loss reconstruction.
Medial and Lateral Thigh Lift
For many people, weight centers in the thighs, particularly the medial (inner) and lateral (outer) thighs. After massive weight loss, it’s common to have noticeably sagging skin which can take away from the toned muscles beneath. A medial and lateral thigh lift is a post bariatric plastic surgery procedure that excises excess fat and skin. Liposuction may be done depending on the extent of tissue and skin that remains.
In medial thigh lift, the surgery focuses on recontouring the area running from the groin to the knee. If additional tissue must be removed, the procedure is known as a thighplasty. Meanwhile, lateral thigh lift – a more complex procedure – consists of recontouring the buttocks in addition to the thighs. The skin becomes less elastic and scarring is more extensive. However, if weight is maintained the results are long-lasting.
Not everyone gains weight in the face but for those who do, a face lift or rhytidectomy after massive weight loss can remove excess neck skin and jowls. In this procedure, the surgeon pulls back flaps of skin on either side of the face. The tissues are altered and excess skin removed to give the face a more youthful look. It’s important to note that a face lift doesn’t remove creases and wrinkles. For these, Botox, fillers and laser resurfacing can be done.
Low breast volume often accompanies massive weight loss. The areola also reduces and excess skin becomes prominent. A mastopexy or breast lift can give breasts a more rounded, firmer look. The procedure consists of the surgeon making an incision around the areolas and lifting and reshaping the breasts. The areolas are adjusted and extra skin is removed. Depending on the patient’s health, the surgeon may or may not do a breast lift and augmentation at the same time.
Known as brachioplasty, this procedure firms and smoothens the upper arms. The surgeon makes an incision on the back or inside of the arm and removes excess skin and fat. If there’s extra tissue on the sides of the chest, the surgeon may remove that too. If necessary, the surgeon may also perform liposuction to help improve the contour.
Every post bariatric plastic surgery procedure or post massive weight loss procedure carries risks but a good surgeon will ensure that they’re minimized. They will also make certain that only prime candidates undergo a procedure. For instance, they will work with the patient until they have reached their goal of a healthy weight. They will discuss realistic expectations of surgical outcomes. They will devise the most effective surgical plan tailored to the patient’s needs. They and their staff will go above and beyond to reduce complications. On the patient’s part, these risks and complications can be greatly minimized by leading a healthy lifestyle, quitting smoking, abstaining from alcohol, and continuing to follow a proper exercise regimen – both pre- and post-operation.