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Post-Bariatric Body Contours

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 24 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Body Contour Weight Loss Weight Surgery

People who experience massive weight loss due to bariatric surgery, or weight loss operations such as gastric bypass procedures, are usually left with one unfortunate legacy: droopy, flabby excess skin.

The only way to get rid of the surplus is through plastic surgery.

For many, the way to do this is through a series of operations called body-contouring, where the excess skin is cut away and the patients can return to a look that is considered more aesthetically pleasing.

Different Types of Post-Bariatric Body-Contouring Surgery

  • Arm lift, or brachioplasty
  • Thigh lift, or thighplasty
  • Lower body lift, including tummy tuck
  • Breast Lift
  • Panniculectomy, to remove excess hanging skin
  • Arm lift, or brachioplasty. This cosmetic treatment gets rid of surplus skin on the underside of the arms, making them appear smooth, contoured and sleek. It works especially well for people who have undergone a massive weight loss, but is also carried out for people who just want to look better. Scars are visible, but usually this is considered a good trade-off for skin removal.

    Thigh lift, or thighplasty. Designed to make the thigh area appear smoother and more contoured. This is achieved by a surgical procedure which removes excess, baggy skin that has lost its elasticity through ageing and/or weight fluctuation. Sometimes liposuction accompanies the procedure to rid the area of fat.

    Lower body lift, including tummy tuck. To be honest, this is not really one cosmetic procedure but several rolled up into one, and involves three main things to tighten up the body: a tummy tuck, thigh lift and buttock lift. It can be carried out in one operation or in a series of stages, dependent upon your needs.

    Breast Lift. Also known as breast uplift. Loss of skin elasticity combined with breastfeeding, age and gravity all affect women's breasts, and as a result some opt for a mastopexy. Also known as a mammoplasty, it does not remove breast tissue but removes skin to make the breasts appear raised and firmer, and repositions the nipples. Women can also have implants inserted at the same time.

    Panniculectomy, to remove excess hanging skin. This is a straightforward procedure which is often recommended following massive weight loss. It can be performed alongside a tummy tuck or other procedure, but patients who undergo it must have had their weight stabilised for at least one year.

    What are the Risks?

    Any type of operation is risky, and ones such as this that involve general anaesthesia and leave the skin open to infection are more risky than others. You may suffer blood loss during the operationsthere is a risk of clots and other problems. Discuss everything with your doctor and plastic surgeon beforehand, and only use one who is Board certified and/or a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons or its equivalent.

    If you have lost of massive amount of weight, congratulations! You know no doubt want to do everything you can to look the best you can. But if you are contemplating surgery – and many people in your situation are – just make sure you know the risks, and tread carefully before embarking on any procedure of any kind.

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