Losing a tremendous amount of weight is a life-changing achievement. But the issue with loss of skin tone and elasticity after that is worrisome to many patients. After massive weight loss or bariatric surgery, many people suffer from hanging and loose skin around different body areas like arms, tummy, thigh, chest, even the face also shows the signs of exaggerated aging after weight loss.
These patients usually come to plastic surgeons a year or two after bariatric surgery or after massive weight loss post dieting, the issue mainly they are left with is: I have lost the weight, but now I have lost the tone of the body. So the main aim for these patients is to achieve the perfect body tone, which is nearly impossible by just exercising. These patients have so much of excess skin that it is not possible to shrink without removing, and just toning the muscles cannot remove the excess hanging skin.
Body contouring surgeries are generally done under general anesthesia, and that can be supplemented with epidural anesthesia in some patients in lower body lift for further pain relief in the post-operative period.
Full upper body lift takes anywhere around 4 to 6 hours.
Full lower body lift depending on the areas to be done, surgical time also varies around 4 to 6 hours.
Patients are advised to walk from the very next day to avoid any DVT (deep vein thrombosis) complications. After a lower body lift, the person is asked to avoid bending, straining, or lifting for several days to a week. When abdominal and thigh tightening procedures have been done, it is also advised to avoid standing fully upright, and it has also been advised to sleep with pillows under your knees, elevating your legs.
All the body contouring procedures usually require long scar placement, so where the scars are placed is important. The meticulous placement of scar by your plastic surgeon can give you better post-op recovery in terms of scar visibility.
Lower body lift: A complete lower body lift treats sagging abdomen, buttock, waist rolls, hips, and outer thigh. The incision placement will be along the bikini line, and the final scar will be well hidden in the bikini line
Gynecomastia: Depending on the skin laxity, the incision is placed around the chest.
Breas-t lift: Mastopexy incisions are placed depending on the amount of sagging. The incision may vary from lollipop shape incision to inverted T incision.
Bra rolls: The scars are placed along the bra line strapline.
Arm lift: Upper arm sagging skin is treated with incisions placed along the inner side of the arm, and depending on the skin laxity, an additional incision may be required extending in the axillary region to the chest.
Thigh lift: Sometimes with excessive skin laxity, reshaping of the inner thigh is required. The incision is required to place along the groin to the inner thigh.
The scar visibility after the skin excision surgery decreases as the time passes by like six months to one year to one and a half year, the scar further reduces and becomes less visible with time. Usually, no further treatment is required. With time, scar reduces by itself. Co2 fractional laser is the other modality that can be done over the scars, especially of arms area, to reduce it further.
The scars are placed strategically along the skin creases, and the lines of the scars are placed in the areas hidden under the bikini line. So you can yourself assess how much the scar matters if it is all hidden along the bikini line. The body proportions achieved at the expense of scar that is barely visible even on bearing bikini are worth its benefits.
That all depends on the surgical requirements of the patient. The lower body lift, if not extensive, can be combined or done with upper body lift like abdominoplasty with a breast lift and arm lift. If a lower body lift is extensive like belt lipectomy and thigh lift, and the dissection is too extensive, then lower body lift should be done alone.
The results of body contouring surgery are immediately visible after the surgery. The scars that are somewhat visible, and this being the only thing you must have to accept to achieve a body proportion that you always wanted. The results of the surgery are long-lasting, and especially if you maintain weight. In fact, body contouring surgery is the motivation for many to keep their weight in check and maintain a lifelong healthy lifestyle.
When you have reached your ideal body goal weight, and your body weight remains stable for the 6 months, then you can opt for this treatment.
There are some potential risks associated with every procedure, and every individual carries it in a more or less way. So in a pre counseling session with your plastic surgeon, you should always discuss the potential risks involved. Some of the potential risks are:
Recovery time after surgery depends on the extent of the procedure. For example, after an upper-body lift, patients may be able to return to work within a week and can resume exercise in a month.
For lower body lift for extensive procedures, the patient can be discharged after a day or two, but the drains may be required to be kept for a week or two. There will be some swelling for the first few days, but swelling and discomfort reduces to minimal in a week’s time. Strenuous physical exercise should be avoided for about 6 weeks after an extensive lower body lift surgery.
*Opinions/ Results may vary from person to person.