Extreme overweight and massive weight loss is on the rise due to bariatric surgery as well as diet and exercise. This leads to improved health, but leaves the patients with excess hanging tissue that affects normal daily activities and makes it difficult to maintain adequate hygiene leading to inflammation and redness in the skin folds.
Body Contouring after Massive Weight Loss
Body contouring surgery can reshape, tighten and rejuvenate almost any area of the body, creating a newer, sleeker contour. Typical areas addressed include the thighs, knees, upper arms, neck, breasts, buttocks, abdomen and hips. Frequently liposuction is needed to complement the contour reshaping. For some individuals, multiple staged surgeries may be needed in order to achieve the desired results. A loss of 50kg or more is considered massive weight loss and ideally the body weight should be stable for a period of six months prior to considering body lifting procedures.
Before you consider undergoing any surgical procedure, a physical examination and consultation will take place with our surgical expert. A detailed analysis of the body is performed to assess the severity of hanging tissues and skin folds that hinder daily activities. Important issues to consider in patients following massive weight loss include BMI at presentation, pattern of fat loss, the quality of remaining skin, recurrent infections in the skin folds, nutritional status and pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, which can affect the treatment plan.
The natural fat distribution pattern also differs among patients, females tend to deposit fat in the thighs and lower abdomen. Whereas males tend to deposit fat in the flanks and inside the tummy. A surgical plan is therefore tailored according to the needs of each individual. Photographs are taken and diagrams used to explain the procedure in a step-by-step manner including limitations and possible risks. The main goal is to provide you with realistic expectations. Surgery is aimed at trimming away and tightening of loose and sagging skin, removing of excess fat and lifting areas that have been impacted by massive weight loss.
We employ the most up to date concepts in our surgical techniques.
This surgery is indicated in patients who have one or more areas of sagging skin lacking in tone with asymmetrically localized fat.Contouring procedures are performed under general anaesthesia.
The technique applied is based on individual patient parameters and anatomical location. Accurate preoperative planning is made to suite each individual patient targeting the area that needs to be addressed. In some cases multiple areas can be addressed in a single procedure. Liposuction is often used in combination to tightening procedures to give the desired outcome. Meticulous attention to detail is applied to ensure even contours and the best possible aesthetic result.
Body lifting procedures designed to treat massive weight loss can be divided into the following categories:
Upper Body Lift
The upper body is often significantly altered by massive weight loss leaving many patients uncomfortable with their appearance. The excess skin and stretched connective tissues usually result in droopy breasts and hanging skin folds in the upper arms and back. An upper body lift can address all of these issues in a single procedure helping patients to achieve a better body shape.
This is a good option to treat the loose skin excess in the entire midsection of the body and around the waist. However due to the large volume of tissue that is dealt with, this procedure is surgically demanding and therefore patients need to be in good physical health to be eligible for surgery. A circumferential wedge of hanging skin from the entire lower trunk can be removed to create a waist-line, flatten the belly, lift the buttocks and thighs all at once, resulting in a very dramatic contouring of the lower trunk with this procedure. Any existing hanging skin around the pubic region, can also be addressed at the same time.
Lower Body Lift
Loose skin excess around the inside thigh and buttock areas are especially common in females after massive weight loss. Severe stretch marks and loss of skin tone is also very common in the thigh and buttock region. A lower body lift can remove the skin excess and produces considerable improvement in skin tightness to the thighs and lower trunk, restoring youthful contours and results in a better definition of the legs.
Post Operative Care
Usually drains are placed as needed to remove the excess fluid for a period of 2-3 days. The wounds are covered with non-stick dressings and wearing of compression garments is advised to provide support. Most sutures used are absorbable and do not require removal. Mobilization after the surgery is possible and even encouraged. However strenuous physical activities and heavy lifting should be avoided for several weeks. Patients are usually able to return to work within 2-3 weeks depending on the area addressed.