Body Contouring after Bariatric Surgery or Major Weight Loss
While dropping a significant amount of weight is a proud milestone, it can sometimes take a toll on the body.
*Individual results vary, see disclaimer.
Major weight loss either through bariatric surgery, dieting and regular exercise is a significant life-changing event. After dropping those unwanted kilos, you probably feel like a completely different person. You now look better. You’re healthier. You’re more active. You’re happier. You’re more social. Come to think of it, life couldn’t be better—well almost!
While losing a massive amount of weight has many wonderful benefits, there is perhaps one big drawback. Often times, many patients who’ve reached their weight loss goals develop loose, hanging skin.
Other factors that contribute to skin laxity include:
- Time – Typically, the longer a person has been overweight or obese, the looser their skin will be after weight loss due to elastin and collagen loss. 3
- Smoking – There are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, and many of them trigger the destruction of collagen and elastin.
- Sun Exposure – The sun’s powerful rays not only damage skin cells but also break down collagen and elastin, which can lead to saggy skin and wrinkles.
- Age – Gravity has a way of taking a toll on our skin as we get older. As you age, your skin naturally loses collagen and elastin–both are responsible for making your skin appear soft, plump, and, of course, youthful.
- Genetics – Your DNA may predispose you to have saggy skin on certain parts of your body and impact how your skin responds to weight gain and loss. 1
- How Quickly They Lost Weight – Shedding weight rapidly can increase the chance of developing lax skin.
- Amount of Weight Lost – Patients that lost 50+ kilos are virtually guaranteed to have loose skin, according to data. 2
While these factors can contribute to loose, saggy skin, patients don’t have to be stuck with the problem indefinitely. There are body contouring procedures that Dr Bernard Beldholm may recommend to help further improve the shape of a patient’s body after losing a significant amount of weight.
What is body contouring?
Generally, when people talk about body contouring, they are referring to the post-bariatric weight loss patient. Many of them have a significant amount of loose skin that often results in discomfort 4 and dissatisfaction with one’s appearance. The skin folds may also rub together creating rashes.
Body contouring involves a variety of cosmetic procedures designed to strategically remove excess sagging skin and fat while improving the shape of the underlying support tissue. The procedure aims to accomplish two primary goals: help patients achieve a more aesthetically pleasing appearance and/or improve discomfort from the skin rubbing together. 4
Bariatric surgery vs. body contouring: The key differences
While both procedures change the body’s appearance, they do so in very different ways. Bariatric surgery results in weight loss by restricting a patient’s caloric intake by physically shrinking the size of the patient’s stomach.
Body contouring has no effect on appetite, digestion, or metabolism and will not result in weight loss beyond the weight of tissues removed during the procedure.
Bottom line, weight loss surgery is medical while body contouring surgery is primarily cosmetic.
Common body contouring procedures
- Extended tummy tuck – This procedure reshapes the waist and abdomen to give patients a flatter stomach and sides by removing excessive skin and tightening the abdominal muscles if needed.
- Fleur de lis abdominoplasty – An alternative to traditional abdominoplasty, this procedure addresses complex contour deformities in patients who’ve lost a lot of weight and suffer from extreme skin laxity around their midsection. To address the problem, this procedure makes horizontal and vertical incisions to ultimately tighten the skin.
- Body lift – This procedure corrects sagging of the abdomen, buttocks, inner and outer thighs. It improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports fat and skin.
- Arm lift (brachioplasty) – This procedure reshapes the underside of the arm to restore firmness.
- Inner thigh lift – This procedure reshapes the inner thighs by reducing excess skin and fat. This results in smoother skin and well-defined contours of the thighs.
- Face & necklift – Both procedures eliminate excess fatty deposits, tighten the underlying muscles, and remove sagging skin. The standard facelift addresses the lower 2/3 of the face and the neck. Muscle tightening in the neck complements the overall effects of the two procedures.
The risks of body contouring surgery
The risks are similar to any other major surgery. Complications may include: bleeding, infection, blood clots, fluid accumulation, skin loss, unfavorable scarring, numbness or other changes in skin sensation, anesthesia problems as well as contour irregularity. In very rare cases, death may also occur.
Who is a candidate for post weight loss surgery?
Weight loss patients should maintain a stable weight before moving forward with any body contouring procedures. Ideally, patients should keep a stable weight for at least 12 months. Failing to do so can negatively affect the outcome of body contouring procedures. Along with maintaining a stable weight, patients who make good candidates for body contouring surgery are those who:
- have realistic expectations
- are non-smokers
- are in good physical and mental health
- will devote themselves to the proper recovery requirements
- are not suffering from a life-threatening illness (Ex: cancer, HIV)
- do not have pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, respiratory illness, or cardiovascular disorders
- are not currently pregnant or breastfeeding
Prior to any surgery, a patient’s overall health will be evaluated along with any preexisting health conditions or risk factors. The patient’s body will also be carefully examined and any appropriate measurements will be taken.
Reach out to Dr Beldholm
Have you lost a significant amount of weight and now have excess, hanging skin? If so, know that you do have options! Call Dr Beldholm’s office today to discuss your Newcastle body contouring goals.
Disclaimer: Individual results vary. All surgery carries risks & you should seek a second opinion before proceeding. See full Disclaimer