Body Contouring After Major Weight Loss

Losing a significant amount of weight should be an exciting achievement that improves your appearance, your health and your outlook on life. However, attaining your goal weight may leave you with unsightly folds of sagging skin that hide your new figure and make you feel self-conscious. Living with this new problem can be disheartening. Rather than celebrating your accomplishment, you may feel that your weight loss experience is incomplete and your quality of life is still impaired.

An increasing number of men and women are seeking plastic surgery as the final phase of their weight loss journey. Body contouring after massive weight loss eliminates excess skin and improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue to reveal your smoother, slimmer physique.

Who Can Benefit From Body Contouring?

Following substantial weight loss through diet and exercise or bariatric surgery, your skin and tissues often lack the elasticity required to conform to your reduced body size. You may wish to consult a plastic surgeon about body contouring if:

The skin of your upper arms is loose, creating a “bat wings” effect
Your breasts have lost volume and your nipples point downward
Excess skin in your abdominal area forms an apron-like overhang
Your buttocks and thighs are drooping or dimpled
Your mobility is limited
You struggle to get dressed or find clothing that flatters your body
You are experiencing hygiene or skin irritation issues between the folds of excess skin

What Body Contouring Procedures Are Available?

A variety of body contouring procedures are available to help you attain your desired outcome. Dr. Bazzi will create a customized treatment plan during the consultation process that includes the procedures recommended to achieve your goals and the suggested timing of these procedures. These procedures may include:

  • Arm lift to correct sagging skin in the upper arms (“bat wings”)
  • Breast lift to correct deflated, flattened breasts
  • Abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”) to correct hanging skin over the lower abdomen
  • Buttock lift to correct drooping in the gluteal area
  • Thigh lift to correct excess skin around the inner and/or outer thighs
  • Lower body lift to correct sagging of the abdomen, waist, hips, buttocks and outer thighs simultaneously

What Can I Expect During Recovery?

Your individual recovery experience will depend on the type and extent of body contouring procedures performed to achieve your goals. More extensive body contouring surgery will likely necessitate more time away from work and a longer period before healing is complete. After your procedure, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions and a thin tube may temporarily be placed beneath your skin to drain any excess fluid. Compression garments may also be necessary to minimize swelling and support your new body contours. You will receive detailed recovery information for your personalized treatment plan prior to surgery, including how to care for your healing body, activities that should be avoided and when you can expect to return to work.

What Results Can Body Contouring Procedures Achieve?

The results of body contouring following massive weight loss are visible almost immediately. However, due to the extensive nature of this surgery, it may take one to two years for the final results of all your recommended body contouring procedures to develop completely. Scars are unavoidable, but their appearance will fade with time, and most patients feel this is a worthwhile exchange for greater health, happiness and confidence. Your body contouring results may include:

  • Reduction of excess skin and fat that remains after weight loss
  • Improved symmetry and proportions of the body
  • Increased enjoyment in social and physical activities you may have been avoiding
  • Improved self-image and confidence
  • Greater comfort in clothing
  • Feeling that your weight loss journey is finally “complete”

Body contouring results are long-lasting provided you maintain a stable weight. It’s natural to experience changes as your body ages, but many of the improvements from your body contouring procedures should remain.

When Should I Undergo Body Contouring?

Your weight must be stabilized before seeking body contouring surgery. If you continue to lose weight after undergoing body contouring, sagging pockets can reappear. If you rapidly gain weight back after your procedure, you may cause traumatic stress to your skin that results in visible stretch marks and wide scars. Your surgeon will determine an appropriate time for you to begin body contouring, as well as whether your procedures should be performed in multiple stages to maximize safety and recovery time.

What Procedures Complement Body Contouring Surgery?

Body lift procedures can be performed in conjunction with liposuction to address fatty deposits that persist despite your previous weight loss efforts. Body contouring can also be paired with breast augmentation to add volume to breasts that appear deflated after weight loss or breast reduction to reduce the size of breasts that are out of proportion with your slimmed-down figure. Many patients find combing these procedures increases their overall satisfaction with the final aesthetic results.

Is Body Contouring Right for Me?

Excess skin after major weight loss is both a cosmetic issue and a functional concern. In many cases, surgical body contouring procedures are the only way to remove this stretched skin so you can enjoy your new body shape and positive self-image. Ideal candidates for body contouring are adults whose weight loss has stabilized and who are committed to making proper nutrition and fitness a regular part of their lifestyle. A good candidate will also be a non-smoker who has no medical conditions that could impair healing or increase risk during surgery, and who has realistic expectations for what body contouring can accomplish. To find out whether body contouring could be the next step in your weight loss journey, call the Celestial Institute of Plastic Surgery at 734-844-5700 to schedule a consultation.