After a substantial amount of weight loss, whether through diet and exercise alone or weight loss surgery, you may lose skin elasticity, leaving you with sagging skin, excess tissue, and localized fat deposits. This may lead you to feel that you look older than you actually are, which is a commonly cited reason patients undergo body contouring procedures. If you are like most people who have experienced this, you may be considering body contouring which can provide excellent re-sculpting results. Patients can expect a more attractive shape following one or more body contouring procedures.
More than 106,000 people seek body contouring procedures each year, with the vast majority of those patients having recently dropped a considerable amount of weight. To help you determine whether body contouring is right for you, you need to be informed as to what kind of candidates qualify for body contouring, what the procedure typically involves, what you can expect during the recovery process, and the type of results you can expect.
Are You a Candidate for Body Contouring?
Before you can go forward with body contouring after major weight loss, you first need to be at a healthy weight that has been stabilized weight for at least six months. The candidates most suited for the procedure are those who are in good overall health, at a stable weight and do not smoke. Patients should also have realistic goals and expectations regarding cosmetic surgery.
About the Procedure
Body contouring usually involves several different procedures performed at the same time. Because every patient has distinctive body improvement concerns and unique anatomy, every procedure is individualized. Depending on the patients’ needs, any combination of the following procedures may be performed in order to achieve the best results:
Liposuction involves suctioning fat from a specific area of the body. Liposuction is also sometimes singularly referred to as “body contouring,” though that term also covers the other procedures listed here.
The breast lift is among the most common body contouring operations. Breast lifts are meant to correct sagging breasts, which are quite common after dramatic weight loss.
An arm lift procedure is a type of body contouring operation that can reduce the effect of sagging skin beneath the arms. An arm lift can tighten tissue and leave you with a defined arm shape.
The tummy tuck is an operation that remedies excess fat around the belly. A tummy tuck can also help you with weakening muscles around the abdomen, in many cases – potentially leaving you with a firmer, smoother stomach.
A thigh lift surgery reshapes the thighs, giving them a more evenly-proportioned shape and reducing excess fat. A buttocks lift provides you with a more toned, shapely butt. A body lift typically involves a tummy tuck in conjunction with one or more of the other surgeries mentioned here, and it is designed to provide a better-contoured overall shape, especially for people who have sagging excess skin after dramatic weight loss.
If you opt for body contouring, you may not need to undergo all of the above procedures. The only surgeries you need are the ones that address your specific plastic surgery goals. Dr. Gabriel Chiu can help you pick the procedures that will give you optimal results and ease your recovery.
Recovering After Body Contouring
As with any plastic surgery procedure, you should expect some downtime, while you recover from the operations. The amount of downtime depends on the number of surgeries being performed. In general, some of the side effects that temporarily result from body contouring procedures are swelling, discomfort, and pain for the first couple of days (which can be alleviated by prescribed medication). Although many patients may be up and about a day or two after surgery, most regular activities should not be resumed for a few weeks.
Your comfort during recovery will depend largely on letting your body heal and rest. You will likely be instructed not to engage in strenuous activities, excess bending, or heavy lifting. The need to get back on your feet (thus avoiding the possibility of blood clots in the legs) means you will need to walk according to your doctor’s instructions. You will also want to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Because the average downtime after body contouring surgeries is one to seven days, and total recovery time can take up to two months, you should plan to catch up on some (no doubt) much needed ‘R&R” following the procedure.
The Spa @ BHPS is a great place to catch up on some rest and relaxation after surgery – with the doctor’s approval, of course. The Spa @ BHPS offers a full range of facials and microdermabrasion treatments, injectables and fillers (performed by Dr. Chiu), chemical peels, and laser treatments.
Body Contouring Results
Body contouring procedures are very rewarding and patients often see dramatic improvements in the way they look, usually developing a renewed sense of self-confidence. As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with body contouring. For you, as our patient, this makes it all the more important to follow Dr. Chiu’s post-operative instructions, as this will help decrease the chance of any problems or setbacks that may happen during your recovery.
The biggest factor that will affect your long term results is your lifestyle. Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight is essential to achieving lasting results after undergoing a body contouring procedure. Please keep in mind that regaining weight after the procedure could weaken thinned skin, and cause further stress to the skin (potentially including visible stretch marks and wide scarring). In order to maintain your new shape, be sure to commit yourself to a healthy lifestyle.
If you would like to achieve a more youthful, sculpted physique, contact Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery, Inc. at (310) 888-8087 to schedule a consultation. Dr. Chiu looks forward to discussing all the body contouring options available to you and answering any questions you may have about the procedure, during your consultation.