Surgical body contouring should not be confused with liposuction as it is a different procedure to correct the effects of dramatic weight loss. While weight loss is a tremendous achievement, usually the skin and tissues lack their former elasticity. Body contouring will remove the excess sagging skin that diet and exercise cannot, resulting in a more balanced appearance with smoother contours.
Who is a good candidate for body contouring?
Any individual who has lost a large amount of weight and has realistic expectations can be a good candidate for body contouring.
Other factors that may make you a candidate
for body contouring include:
- If you are an adult whose weight loss has stabilized
- If you are healthy and not suffering from medical conditions that increase risk of surgery or impair the healing process
- If you have a positive outlook, realistic goals, and are committed to leading a healthy lifestyle including diet and fitness
- If you are a nonsmoker
What procedures does body contouring include?
Arm lift: corrects sagging of upper arms
Breast lift: corrects sagging and flattened breasts
Facelift: corrects jowls, sagging of the mid-face, and neck
Lower body lifts: corrects sagging of the abdomen, buttocks and outer thighs
Medial lift: corrects the inner thighs and groin area
Tummy tuck: corrects excess skin hanging over abdomen
What are the steps of body contouring?
Step 1. Anesthesia
Your doctor will administer medications to help you remain comfortable during the treatment. This could be intravenous sedation and general anesthesia according to what your doctor thinks is best suited for you.
Step 2. The incision
It is important to note that body contouring is often performed in stages and will involve multiple incisions to remove excess skin. The incision sites, length and pattern will depend on your personal goals, as well as your doctor’s judgment. While incisions can be placed strategically to be less visible, it is not always possible and you must accept the fact that you will be left with multiple scars. Your surgical plan may include one or more of the areas listed below.
The prime motive of the body lift is to remove the “belt” or pouch of excess skin and fat that hangs around the abdomen. Complete lower body lifts also treat sagging buttocks, waist, hips, and outer thighs in the same procedure. Incision patterns will vary.
Gynecomastia surgery is the removal of male breasts or the excess skin and fat left over after weight loss. A combination of incisions can be used to reduce male breast size, flatten, and contour the chest.
The breast lift included in body contouring is determined from the amount of sagging skin in the breasts. This could be performed in more than one way and a breast implant may be recommended to enhance the breast shape and size. Incisions for breast lifts include around the areola, in a line extending downwards from the areola, horizontally along the breast crease, or a combination of more than one method.
An arm lift will address the sagging skin along the inside and the back of the upper arm. An incision will be made in this area to remove the excess skin and may also be made in other sagging areas.
The thigh lift removes sagging skin from the inner thigh area and the incision may extend downwards from the groin area to the knee. Incisions for the outer thigh may require an incision from the groin area that extends around the hip.
Step 3. The Results
The results from body contouring will be immediate, as your new proportions will better match your weight. It may take up to two years to see optimal results, but they are generally long lasting. You can expect your initial improvement to remain provided you maintain a stable weight and exercise, even with natural aging. It is important to note that losing some firmness as you age is normal and unavoidable.