Body contouring is the last stage of weight loss which improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports fat and skin and removes excess sagging fat and skin. The surgical procedures necessary to contour the body include a lower body lift, arm lift, and thigh lift. The lower body lift corrects any sagging of the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. The arm lift corrects sagging under the upper arm. The thigh lift corrects sagging on the inner, outside and mid-thigh areas.
Good candidates for body contouring
Good candidates for body contouring surgery include:
- Adults of any age whose weight loss has stabilized
- Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase the risk of surgery
- Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic goals for body contouring
- Individuals committed to good nutrition and fitness
During the initial consultation, your surgeon will talk to you about the possible outcomes of your body contouring procedure. You will be asked a number of questions about your health, future goals and lifestyle. Some questions may include:
- Why do you want to have body contouring surgery?
- What medications do you take, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements?
- Are you allergic to any drugs?
- What expectations do you have for body contouring surgery?
Your surgeon may also ask about your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors. Your surgeon will examine and measure your body, take photographs prior to the procedure for your medical records, discuss your surgical options and the likely outcomes of your surgery as well as any risks or complications.
Body contouring surgery is usually done in several stages. Your particular goals, as well as your plastic surgeon’s recommendations, will influence your surgical plan. It may have taken you two years or more to lose weight, however, it may take just as long for your body contouring to be complete. If you have had weight reduction surgery, your plastic surgeon will work closely with your physician to determine when it is appropriate for you to have body contouring surgery.
On the day of your surgery, the first step is administering anesthesia. Medications are used for your comfort during the surgical procedure. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia.
The next step involves making incisions to remove excess skin. In many cases, these incisions may be quite extensive depending on the amount of weight you have lost. The length of the incision depends on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed. Your surgeon will make incisions in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing, but this may not always the case.
Recovering from your surgery
After your body contouring surgery, dressings or bandages will be applied to the incisions. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or body fluid that may collect.
The key to the success of your surgery depends on following specific instructions from your doctor after the surgery. It is very important that the incisions are protected and not subject to abrasion or motion during the time of healing. You will receive instructions on how to care for yourself at home.
The overall results of body contouring are long lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight, an active lifestyle, and a healthy diet.