Post Weight Loss Plastic Surgery

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.

The basic mechanism of loss of skin elasticity:

When skin is stretched to a massive weight gain, the elastin fibers are stretched to their maximum strength, and then they break on losing weight. The elastin fibers strength doesn’t remain the same and does not spring back to its original normal shape. Plastic surgery can help those persons to get back into normal shape.

Skin removing surgery after weight loss or specifically called body contouring surgery, and this surgery is done following weight loss. In surgery, the excess sagging skin and fat are removed while improving the shape to give you a better proportionate appearance with smoother contours.

A body lift surgery results in improved shape and tone of the body by removing excess skin and underlying fat. This excess saggy skin and fat deposits are mostly present in the area around the waist, thigh, abdomen, hips, buttock, etc. A lower body lift can treat these areas in one procedure. While the upper body-lift treats the saggy skin and body areas around the arm, chest, upper back skin fold to give patients a more natural and aesthetically pleasing shape.

So if you are still burdened with your extra skin fold even after losing your weight, the body contouring surgery will give you a dramatic increase in your comfort and self-confidence by improving the way of clothing and helping you exercise with great ease.

Who is a good candidate for body contouring surgery?

  • After continuous weight loss, now your weight is stabilized for the past 6 months.
  • Healthy adult individuals without any medical conditions or with stable/ controlled medical conditions.
  • Non-smokers or if you are smoker, it is advised to stop smoking at least two weeks prior to the surgery.
  • Those individuals who are having realistic goals regarding body contouring surgery.
  • Individuals who want to continue with the fitness and healthy lifestyle.

Choosing a cosmetic or plastic surgeon?

Post-bariatric or post-weight loss body contouring is a specialized form of plastic surgery that should be done by a qualified cosmetic or plastic surgeon who is trained and experienced in performing body contouring procedures and is also ensuring your safety and is able to give you beautiful outcomes.

What are the body contouring procedures?

There are wide varieties of body contouring procedures that can be done, but it is always personalized according to the patient's needs. The procedure is tailored to address the patient’s area of greatest concern, and one or more procedures may be required depending on the need.

Lower body lift

Target areas:

Extra skin around your lower body leads to the sagging abdomen, back rolls, untoned and hanging buttocks, with no medial thigh gap.

A lower body lift (circumferential body lift) deals with the skin sagging around the abdomen buttocks. It is one of the most common body lifting procedures the patients require after weight loss and one of the most extensive also as it deals with the sagging abdomen, back, buttock, and thigh. The lower body lift gives the immediate uplifted look to the profile after massive weight loss and improves patient comfort, and helps clothing fit better. The abdomen is dealt like similar to a tummy tuck, the thigh and buttock excess skin is removed. A firm appearance to the buttocks and a more smooth and slender appearance to the legs is achieved so that patients can fit into jeans and shots comfortably.

Upper body lift

Target areas:

Excess skin around the upper body results in hanging arms.

Skin, upper back rolls are also known as bra rolls and sagging breasts. And to correct this combination of procedures is performed depending on the need of the patients that include:

Arm lift

The loose hanging skin of the arm is dealt with an arm lift. The incision is placed on the underside of the arm, and excess loose hanging skin is removed very meticulously, preserving all underlying structures. The procedure seems very simple, but it requires a great deal of surgical fines to achieve the results and should be done by qualified plastic surgeons practicing body contouring procedures.

Breas-t lift surgery or mastopexy

After weight loss, many women, even many young women, experience deflating breas-ts or sometimes deflating and sagging of breas-ts with excess skin tissue. To deal with these issues depending on the deflation and sagginess, the patient may need to undergo either simple mastopexy or mastopexy with implant or Breas-t implant only.

Bra line lift surgery.

The back rolls skin removal requires skin to be removed sometimes along with breast lift depending on the need or, at other times, back liposuction and skin removal, can give a smooth and firm back without any rolls. The scar also hides in the bra-line and not visible even on wearing a bikini.


Many other surgeries may need to be done in a few other patients post weight loss, depending on the need. These surgeries vary from:

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What type of anesthesia is used in body contouring surgery?

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.

What will be the duration of the surgery?

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.

What should I expect in my post-surgery recovery period?

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.

Where are the scars placed?

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.

Is there any method to reduce the scars further?

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. 

How should I prepare for body contouring surgery?

  • The surgical goals that you need to achieve, you should discuss with your doctor- which body area is bothering you more that needs to be addressed first.
  • If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking at least two weeks prior to the surgery.
  • If you are taking any kind of herbal medication or anti-inflammatory drugs, you should stop taking 2 weeks prior, as that may increase your risk of bleeding during the surgery.
  • If you are suffering from some medical conditions, the medical condition should be controlled prior to the surgery.

Will there will be any visible scars in minimal clothing like bikini or swimsuit after an upper-body lift and lower body lift?

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.

What are the surgeries that can be combined? or Should upper body lift and lower body lift surgeries be performed separately, or that can be done in a single sitting?

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.

What results should I expect?

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 should I consider skin removal surgery after bariatric surgery?

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.

What are the potential complications or risks involved?

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:


  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Hematoma
  • Seroma
  • DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and pulmonary embolism.
  • Poor wound healing
  • Excessive scarring
  • Numbness over some areas.
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Residual skin laxity and contour regularity.

What would be the recovery time after surgery?

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.

Before-After/ Real Results

Post weight loss
Post Weight Loss

*Opinions/ Results may vary from person to person.


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