Disclaimer: The outcomes shown are only relevant for this patient and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience, as results may vary due to many factors including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise.
Body contouring is a term used to describe a range of surgical procedures designed to improve the physical appearance after major weight loss. Sagging skin and extra fat are removed during these procedures which improves the shape and tone of the tissues. Significant weight loss usually loose skin, that will not retract, on areas including the upper arms, breasts, abdomen, buttock and thighs. Body contouring will not stop the skin from sagging if you regain and lose significant weight after surgery.
Body contouring procedures are sometimes complex and, in many cases, are performed in stages which may take months or even years to complete. The types of procedures that may be performed as part of Body Contouring include belt lipectomy to address the lower trunk (also known as circumferential body lift or lower body lift), abdominoplasty (with tightening of the abdominal muscles), breast lift, breast reduction, gynaecomastia reduction, brachioplasty (arm lift) and thighplasty (thigh lift). Perth Specialist Plastic Surgeon, Mr Mark Hanikeri recommends addressing a maximum of two areas at a time. For example, a combination of lower trunk or abdomen and breasts followed by thighs and arms. Often it is safer to utilise two Plastic Surgeons, working together simultaneously, to minimise anaesthetic time and the risk of complications. Mr Hanikeri will advise and arrange this if appropriate in your case.
Things to consider before weight loss (body contouring) surgery
Patients should be in good general health, and their weight should be stable for at least three to six months. Ideally, they should be at or close to their ideal body weight with a BMI of 30 or less. This is because patients with a high BMI have increased risks associated with these procedures. They should not smoke cigarettes or vape for at least six to eight weeks before surgery.
Body contouring surgery and reshaping can help with functional and aesthetic issues associated with the skin and fat excess remaining after weight loss. However, patients should have realistic expectations about their results and be prepared to accept the potential for noticeable scarring.
Where is body contouring surgery performed?
The procedures are performed in Perth in a fully-accredited hospital under General Anaesthesia and patients will require a few days convalescence in hospital (1-4 nights). The length of your hospital stay will depend on your general health, the extent of the procedure and the advice of Mr Hanikeri.
Are there any risks of body contouring surgery?
All surgical procedures carry risks and potential complications. These are discussed at the initial consultation. The main risks of body contouring surgery include wound healing problems, scarring, fluid collection (seroma), asymmetry and persistent contour deformities. Altered sensation of the skin in the region of the operation site is a common consequence of surgery and should not be regarded as a complication as it is to be expected in most cases. The results and surgical risks from body contouring vary according to an individual’s genetic makeup, general health, diet and lifestyle.
What should you expect after body contouring (weight loss) surgery?
Patients are encouraged to mobilise as soon as possible after surgery. Surgical drains are left in the wounds to reduce the collection of fluid under the skin. These drains are in place for up to 7 days, though they are usually removed before discharge from hospital. Strong pain killers are rarely required after the first 48 hours. Patients are usually given injections to reduce the risk of clots in their legs (DVT) until they are mobilising.
Most patients are discharged within a few days, depending on the number and type of procedures performed. They can usually return to relatively normal activities and exercise within four to six weeks. Most patients are advised to take up to four weeks off work after surgery, depending on the physical demands of their job. A compression garment should be worn for at least six weeks.
Will body contouring procedures leave any scars?
Although scars are the inevitable results of any surgery, Mr Hanikeri will make every effort to make the scars as inconspicuous as possible. Whilst scars are not completely predictable, most become less visible and are easily concealed in time. However, scarring is an individual characteristic and can vary from patient to patient. Some patients can develop keloid or hypertrophic scars and you should advise Mr Hanikeri if you are aware of this tendency in yourself.
Scars may appear pink and slightly thickened for a weeks to months after the surgery but will usually fade to be pale and soft by around three to six months. Their final appearance may take up to eighteen months to achieve. Rarely, scars may remain thick, red or lumpy which may warrant revision after twelve to eighteen months.
Dr Hanikeri will usually recommend topical scar therapy such as silicone gel to be used from around the fourth postoperative week, until around three to six months after surgery.
What are the fees associated with Body Contouring surgery?
The overall costs associated with body contouring surgery includes the fee for Mr Hanikeri, in most cases a second Surgeon, Anaesthetist and Hospital theatre and accommodation. Mr Hanikeri’s fee includes the surgery itself and all post-operative care.
If you meet the medical criteria for abdominoplasty (30177) or belt lipectomy (30179), then Medicare will provide a rebate towards your surgery. If you also have an appropriate level of cover with private health insurance, your hospital costs may be covered, but you should always check this yourself with your health fund.