For patients who are significantly overweight, losing that weight is the single most important step they can take to improve their quality of life and health. This goal is ideally achieved through alterations in diet and activity. For those individuals that require a little help, there are surgical options. The tremendous results obtained through bariatric (weight loss) surgery (performed by a general surgeon), can have a more pronounced and positive effect on a patient's life than almost any other area of medicine. For patients that have had bariatric surgery, and for those that have lost a considerable amount of weight through non-surgical means, post-bariatric plastic surgery can provide significant cosmetic and functional benefits.
Many of these procedures noted here also apply to post-partum women (i.e. after having a baby), as the rapid weight gain and loss associated with pregnancy can give rise to these same changes. Most commonly an abdominoplasty and breast lift, with or without an augmentation depending on preferences, is employed as the classic "mommy make-over" for these patients.
Patients who lose significant weight often develop laxity of the skin and soft tissues of the body. Such laxity frequently develops to varying degrees and can create a significant cosmetic deformity. In addition to the cosmetic deformity, this can interfere with the normal activities of daily living, be a hygiene problem and produce secondary medical problems. The results of plastic surgery to correct these deformities are among the most dramatic and consistent in the field.
In fact, before considering any procedure at any particular weight, a patient should be maintaining a stable weight profile to ensure the best and most predictable outcome.
Plastic Surgery Considerations for Weight Loss Patients
There are a number of unique considerations when treating patients who have undergone bariatric surgery or lost a large amount of weight by another method.
- Find a plastic surgeon who has worked with post-bariatric patients or with people who have lost a lot of weight before undergoing plastic surgery. Dr. Davis and his staff routinely work with weight loss patients and understand the circumstances.
- Patients should have completed their weight loss and their weight should be relatively stable unless hanging skin, such as an abdominal apron, interferes with exercise or becomes a hygiene problem.
- A stable metabolism is key. Patients will be monitored prior to surgery to assure adequate nutrition. This is necessary to promote postoperative healing.
- Smoking greatly increases the risks and complications of plastic surgery after weight loss.
Common Areas Addressed with Plastic Surgery
Patients differ with regards to the amount of soft tissue laxity they develop. They also differ with regards to which areas of the body are involved. The following is a list of the areas Dr. Davis most frequently treats for patients who have lost significant weight or have simply developed laxity and loose tissue over time.
The skin and soft tissues of the abdomen are often the areas which most dramatically develop laxity. As described, this can present a significant cosmetic deformity and also interfere with normal activities and become a hygiene problem. These areas are best addressed with an abdominoplasty, which is also known as a “tummy tuck”.
For some patients, the laxity of the soft tissue that develops is not limited to a single area. Rather it can affect them circumferentially and can involve the abdomen, back, flanks and buttocks. When this is the case, a Lower Body Lift can address all these areas in a single operation with very impressive results.
The skin of the thighs is an area particularly susceptible to developing laxity which manifests as cellulite and irregularities in contour. This can affect both the inner and outer parts of the thighs. A thigh lift can be performed either as an isolated procedure or as part of a Lower Body Lift. An Inner, or Medial, Thigh Lift is performed to tighten the tissues along the inner aspect of the thighs. This procedure is often combined with liposuction to the thigh.
The upper arms can develop extensive laxity following weight loss. This can occur at almost any age. Once such laxity develops, the only means of correcting it is by removing the excess skin. This is accomplished with a brachioplasty, or Arm Lift. When properly performed, the results of this procedure are quite impressive.
Breasts frequently lose their shape and firmness and begin to sag. This can occur with the passage of time and pregnancies. It can also be particularly exacerbated by fluctuations in weight. A mastopexy, or Breast Lift, is a procedure which reshapes the breasts and restores their position.
Complete your weight loss transformation with plastic surgery from Dr. Davis. Respected for his exceptional patient care and results, Dr. Davis and his staff take care of you from the initial consultation through post-op.