Plastic Surgery after Massive Weight Loss
Massive weight loss patients present a unique challenge to plastic surgeons. These patients have typically lost 50 pounds, 100 pounds, 150 pounds, or even more. They may have lost weight through traditional diet and exercise, or, more commonly, through a gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, lap band, or some other weight loss or bariatric operation. These patients have put their weight problems behind them on their way to a healthy lifestyle. However, many of my Dallas patients that have lost a considerable amount of weight are left dealing with excess skin deformities. I have a significant amount of experience performing cosmetic body contouring procedures in these complex patients.
Video: Massive Weight Loss Patients
Excess Skin after Weight Loss
Weight loss patients typically end up with excess, hanging skin deformities in one or more areas of the body. Almost all weight loss patients are left with excess, drooping abdominal skin. Many will have lateral abdominal/flank skin excess. Some will have buttock and back loose or hanging skin.
Many of these patients will also have breast deformities including deflated, sagging breasts. Some patients will have excess upper arm skin. Some patients have drooping thigh skin. Unfortunately, the skin of many weight loss patients has lost its elasticity. This leads to additional issues for the plastic surgeon treating these patients.
Body Contouring Surgery after Massive Weight Loss
Massive weight loss patients may be treated with any number of different surgical procedures to remove excess skin and tighten the remaining skin. The abdomen alone is treated with abdominoplasty; abdomen flanks and buttocks are treated with a body lift (also known as a belt lipectomy or circumferential abdominoplasty). Breast deformities may require a breast lift, a lift with implants, or sometimes even breast reduction. Excess arm skin is removed with a brachioplasty procedure. Inner thigh skin excess is treated with thigh lift.
These surgeries all involve removing large amounts of excess skin, leading to long scars. While patients generally want to minimize scarring with their plastic surgery, weight loss patients will usually happily accept the tradeoff of scars when unsightly, uncomfortable excess skin is being removed.
Massive weight loss patients may not need all of the areas (arms, legs, abdomen and breasts) addressed, but many will have multiple areas that would benefit from surgery. It is generally not possible to address all of the areas that a massive weight loss patient may desire to improve in one operation. This is because these are lengthy surgeries, that, all combined together would be too long to try to do all at once. In essence, we know that many of our massive weight loss patients will need two or even three surgeries to get to their final, desired body contouring result. When we plan staged surgeries, we usually recommend two to three months of healing time between the surgical procedures.
At the initial consultation, it is very important to prioritize what areas a patient wants to address and what their ultimate goals are. This allows us to develop the safest, most efficient and cost effective surgical plans. For example, a patient needing arm, breast, abdominal, buttock and thigh contouring may undergo a first surgery with a body lift and breast lift, followed by a second surgery with breast implants, arm lift and thigh lift. In this example, a single prohibitively long operation is divided into two shorter, safer procedures with a several month recovery period between them.
Massive weight loss patients present unique and complex challenges. I have significant experience helping these patients achieve their body contouring goals. Please contact my Dallas, Texas office to learn more about plastic surgery body contouring procedures after massive weight loss.