Body Contouring (Weight Loss)
After significant weight loss, patients often require procedures to reshape and remove excess, unsightly skin.
Many patients are affected by excessive sweating, recurrent skin infections and may even be troubled by skin breakdown in the folds of skin. Scarring from these procedures is usually well accepted by patients as the scars are hidden wherever possible.
Body contouring is a range of aesthetic procedures designed to improve the body’s appearance after major weight loss. The surgery removes sagging skin and extra fat and improves the shape and tone of underlying tissue. Areas that after often affected by loose skin following weight loss include the upper arms, breasts, abdomen, buttock and thighs. The primary objective of Body Contouring is to alter the shape and appearance by using surgical techniques which include removal of excess fat and/or skin as well as the use of surgical implants and lifts.
Things to consider before weight loss (body contouring) surgery
This procedure is complex and, in many cases, multiple operations may be required to alter a patient’s body shape. Frequently, multiple procedures are performed under a single General Anaesthetic. Often the safest method is to utilise two plastic surgeons, working at the same time to minimise anaesthetic time and complications.
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 for at least six to eight weeks before surgery.
Body contouring (weight loss) 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 significant scarring.
What does a body contouring (weight loss) surgery procedure involve?
The areas of the body usually affected by skin and fat excess after weight loss are:
- Abdomen, flanks and buttocks
- Breasts and back
- Inner thighs
Excess abdominal tissue may be removed by a procedure known as an abdominoplasty. If the excess tissue also affects the back, buttocks and outer thighs, another procedure known as a Belt lipectomy (body lift) may be required.
Before the procedure markings are made on a patient’s trunk to determine how much tissue to remove and estimate the location of the resultant scar. In the operation, excess abdominal and back skin are excised. The wounds are closed lifting the buttocks and thighs through upward traction. The stomach muscles are tightened at the same time.
With the two-surgeon approach, the procedure typically takes around four hours to complete. Surgical drains are left in the wounds to reduce the collection of fluid under the skin. A compression garment should be worn for six weeks following the operation. Patients usually need to stay in hospital for between three to five days.