The body contouring surgery is a cosmetic procedure that helps improve the shape and proportions of the body. This generally, is done after an extreme weight loss due to either dieting or bariatric surgery. The sudden weight loss leaves the skin loose and saggy. The affected areas are the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, breasts, upper arm, neck, face, i.e., the areas where there is more deposition of fat during weight gain. Some people with excess skin and soft slacking tissue also undergo this surgery.
The body contouring or body sculpting is done to various parts of the body. Most common one is the abdominoplasty, that is also known as tummy tuck. In this surgery, a cut is made at the lower abdomen and excess skin and fat is removed. This is done after pregnancy as well to remove the loose skin and is often accompanied by liposuction. Next is the belt lipectomy, where the buttocks, thighs and hips are shaped. It is mostly an extension of abdominoplasty in case of heavy weight loss. These two are together called the lower body lift.
Brachioplasty or the arm lift is done to give shape to the flabby arms. In this surgery, a cut is made from above the elbow to the arm pit. This is done on the inner side of the arm and the loose skin as well as fat is removed. Mastoplexy or the breast lift is done to the individuals who have sagging breasts due to age or due to weight loss. It definitely acts as a confidence booster for most women. The cut is generally made around the areola, below the breast horizontally, or from the nipple to the bust line vertically, depending upon the shape desired. The surgery is performed to remove excess skin and to tighten the tissues. These are together called upper body lift and may include the tightening of the back skin as well.
Often face and neck lift is also recommended to patients who have had excess weight loss. The surgery tightens the skin of the face and neck. Since the area is very prominently visible, the cut to be made has to be inconspicuous. Generally for facelift the cut follows the hair line on the side as well as in front of the ear. For neck lift, the incision is made behind the ear, extending to the scalp.
Surgery after Weight Loss
Most of us strive for that perfect hourglass figure and to achieve it we go through a lot. To shed off the excess weight that we accumulate, we go for a workout, diet and when we want the results to be quick, bariatric weight loss surgery and liposuction come to the rescue. But with quick weight loss, comes the loose and sagging skin that did not get time to tighten or get back in shape due to the sudden fat loss. This skin needs to be tightened to give a presentable shape to the body. This is where body contouring surgery after weight loss comes into the picture.
After the bariatric surgery, the patient may have certain nutritional deficiencies and hence, in general, they are asked to keep a gap of at least a year between both the surgical procedures. The success of this process depends on the age, and on the size and shape of the area to be treated. The type of scar resulting from the surgical operation depends on the area of the skin to be tightened. The scar is more noticeable in case of post surgical fat removal. Although, after the surgery, you would definitely feel more confident in wearing body hugging clothes.
You have to keep a few essential things in mind before going for this surgery:
- The weight should be stable for more than a year if you want to go in for this procedure. This time allows the excess skin after weight loss, to shrink on its own as much as it can.
- You must have a healthy diet. Any deficiency in the body may lead to certain complications during the healing phase post surgery. Also, you must quit smoking at least 2 months before the surgery.
- Lastly, you must be psychologically prepared for it. Keeping realistic expectations helps because the surgery will not make you look like you did in your teens.
The surgery needs a hospital stay of at least 4-5 days. You may experience slight pain, soreness and swelling post this surgical procedure. You can resume your day-to-day routine within 2-3 weeks but if you are required to do a lot of physical work, you may be advised to take rest for more than 4 weeks.
There are a few risks involved in the body contouring surgery for excess skin removal, that you must know, before undergoing the surgery. The dangers include infection, bleeding, abnormal scarring and asymmetrical appearance. In some serious cases, there may be separation of incision, loosening of skin or tissue death. There may also be blockage and blood clot formation in the blood vessels that may lead to further complications. Apart from these, there are a few side effects that are also seen post surgery that includes swelling, pain and numbness, bruising and scar formation.
Talk to your health care provider about the pros and cons of body contouring for your case, before you decide to spend money on this process. Also keep in mind that since it is cosmetic in nature, the medical insurance will not cover the cost of either the surgery or its subsequent repercussions.