Many benefits come with dramatic weight loss, but underlying tissue and skin often lack the flexibility to conform to the smaller body size.
Surgical body contouring after major weight loss eliminates excess skin and stubborn fat while improving the shape of the underlying tissue. The outcome is a smoother contour and shapelier physique.
Am I a Candidate for Post Weight Loss Body Contouring?
Patients who complete bariatric surgery or experience weight loss seek body contouring as a viable option to enhance their body’s appearance and boost their self-esteem. The process may include multiple surgeries to remove excess skin and flatten wrinkles and cellulite dimples. It’s critical to enter the process with realistic goals and a positive attitude.
Your weight should be at normal levels and stable. Good candidates are also committed to a healthy lifestyle and have no plans to lose more weight after the procedure is complete.
Patients should also understand that all of these procedures are cosmetic and are not covered by insurance. In some cases, panniculectomies and breast reduction procedures may be covered by insurance if you meet certain medical criteria, but you’ll need to contact your insurance company to confirm this.
What is Involved in a Body Lift?
Each body contouring patient is unique. They may have excess skin in various body areas where fat deposits once resided, or their skin responded differently to their shrinking body mass.
Board-certified Dr. Florence Mussat tailors body contouring treatments for patients seeking to improve their body shape after losing substantial weight.
Body contouring treatment plans may include:
Lower Body Lift
This procedure is often the first stage of body contouring. For certain patients, Dr. Mussat may perform breast reshaping concurrently with a lower body lift. But, in many cases, treatment for the lower body is sufficient on its own.
Surgical procedures are used to diminish excess fat on the back and abdomen while emphasizing lean body outlines by lifting the buttocks and thighs. It also tightens lower abdominal muscles, smooths the presence of cellulite dimples, and resolves other aesthetic issues in these areas.
Brachioplasty, more popularly known as an arm lift, is a procedure which reshapes the upper arm. Massive weight loss often produces a sagging tissue in this area, which exercise doesn’t address.
When your upper arm appears loose and sagging due to excess skin, you may consider an arm lift.
A body lift helps correct your body’s shape to a proportionate and youthful appearance. This procedure is great for patients who have excess skin around the hips, buttock, abdomen, and thighs.
For patients who suffer from lack of shape or definition, a buttock lift can deliver an uplifted, firmer posterior. Dr. Mussat will remove excess buttock and thigh skin to tighten the overall appearance and diminish wrinkles, dimples, and loose skin.
A thigh lift reshapes the outer and inner thighs by removing excess fat and skin. This body contouring procedure may include liposuction to improve overall body contour and reduce wrinkles and stubborn fat accumulation.
Dr. Mussat offers a full range of high-quality breast surgeries, including reduction, enhancements, and reconstruction in her body contouring menu. These surgeries are available to re-shape breasts, allowing them to sit higher on the chest wall and achieve the desired volume. For men, this can include tissue reduction in the area.
Breast reshaping procedures include:
What to Expect in Weight Loss Body Contouring
The visible outcome of body contouring surgery is almost immediate. However, complete results may take several months to two years to fully develop. Scarring from surgery will remain but soften with time. Ultimate results are long-lasting when the patient maintains a stable weight and remains physically fit.
Aging will create some loss of firmness, but initial improvement will be permanent. There are other post-surgery treatments which can maintain skin health and beauty.
Recovery after Skin Removal and Body Lifts
Recovery for each patient is as unique as their body. Healing varies among patients, but there are some things you should expect during your recovery. Dressings are applied to the incisions and a temporary drain may be added to allow excess fluid to escape. These need to be handled carefully according to your doctor’s instructions.
The extent of surgery will determine if you go home the day of surgery or stay overnight. Expect your daily routine to change during the healing process with restriction to your normal activities. Walking is encouraged, but not heavy lifting or extensive exercise.
You should expect a degree of soreness, bruising and swelling for up to three weeks after surgery. Most patients return to work after a couple of weeks if their jobs are not too physically demanding. Dr. Mussat will monitor your progress closely during your recovery period and provide necessary instruction to ensure a successful outcome.
How do I prepare for body contouring procedures?
Patients recovering from bariatric surgery with weight-associated medical conditions before their procedure need to have medical clearance before another surgery.
Body contouring candidates who smoke should abstain from all nicotine for six weeks prior to and after surgery.
Bariatric patients who are at risk for nutritional deficiencies should undergo an assessment to address these issues and ensure proper healing.
What are the steps for multiple body contouring procedures?
It is often necessary to perform multiple surgeries to attain the desired results with a body contouring regimen.
The process typically starts with the lower body and moves upward. Breast procedures may be done concurrently with lower body lifts or an arm lift.
The period between stages is usually three to six months to allow for full recovery and healing. If the patient suffers from facial skin laxity issues, a facelift may also be implemented.
Dr. Florence Mussat: An Accomplished Chicago Plastic Surgeon
Florence Mussat, M.D. is a Board-Certified Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon in Chicago and has practiced plastic surgery privately for over 15 years.