Body Contouring Surgery after Rapid Weight Loss
The incidence of morbid obesity is rapidly increasing in the United States. Obesity is associated with many other diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiac disease. Many patients are unable to achieve weight reduction with dieting and exercise and seek surgical treatments for reducing weight.
There are many surgical procedures for morbid obesity and these include gastric stapling, gastric bypass and lap band procedures. After these procedures, patients will experience massive and rapid weight loss, often in excess of 100 pounds.
One of the consequences of this type of rapid weight loss is the “development” of a lot of loose skin, which is usually seen in the abdomen, thighs and arms. It can also result in sagging of the breasts. Some patients also will develop sagging of the skin in the neck and face areas.
The redundant and excess skin can cause problems with hygiene and infection. Because of accumulated moisture in skin folds and difficulty in personal hygiene, skin infections and rashes are common. Patients will also have trouble in finding suitable clothing. In addition, excess skin can cause problems with self-esteem and can be a negative aspect of the weight loss associated with bariatric surgery. No amount of exercising will tighten up this loose skin. Patients with redundant skin will often seek plastic surgery for the removal of the excess skin with body contouring surgery.
There are many procedures that can be offered for body contouring. For the abdomen, the procedure is lower body contouring in which the excess abdominal skin is removed. This can be done circumferentially in the lower abdomen with the excision being 360 degrees if necessary with the scar being placed in the bikini line. Another abdominal procedure is a panniculectomy in which skin and fat is removed from the lower abdomen with minimal re-contouring. These operations are usually completed in three to four hours.
For the thighs, the procedure is a thigh lift in which excess skin and fat from the inside of the thighs is removed. This operation is done for patients who have redundant skin in the medial thighs causing chafing from friction of the skin surfaces. The scar from operation will be in the medial thigh and extend from the about the groin to the knee. Re-contouring of the arms can be done with a brachioplasty with removal of excess skin of the medial arms from the elbow to the axilla. The scar of this operation will be placed posteriorly for the best appearance and extend from the axilla to the elbow. Some patients will seek a mastopexy to tighten the breasts. Liposuction can be used as adjunct to any of these procedures but is not effective in itself in reducing redundant skin.
Many weight loss patients will need two or three operations for body contouring. All these operations are usually done as outpatient procedures and patients are able to return to work in about two weeks. Insurance coverage for these operations is variable and will need pre-authorization. If no insurance coverage is approved, patients have the option of paying out of pocket. Package prices are available and include operating room, surgical and anesthesia fees.
For more information
Body contouring is a necessary adjunct for weight loss surgery and is necessary for optimal results after bariatric surgery. To refer patients for body contouring please contact the Transformations Clinic at (608) 836-9990 or the Plastic Surgery Clinic (608) 263-7502.