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Plastic Surgery after massive weight loss

It is always incredibly impressive to have managed to lose large amounts of weight . For some the unwanted consequence, is large amounts of saggy stretched skin. Understandably, this may be very distressing. Fortunately, there are procedures that can address any problem areas.

Plastic surgery after massive weight loss is not a one stop shop, but a journey. It usually needs more than one operation, with possible further revision operations needed. Being aware of this at the start, your mental approach will be more positive and you will be better able to cope with the journey.  The end of the journey is very rewarding and can transform peoples’ lives; so a thorough understanding of the journey makes the process much smoother.

There are a variety of plastic surgery procedures for addressing the excess skin, but it is important to consider things in a global way – i.e. not focus on one particular procedure or area, but first to understand why the changes have happened, what the effects of your weight changes will be on your tissues, how this impacts on your healing ability and what the risks are. With all this in mind, post-massive weight loss plastic surgery differs from other plastic surgery. The weight fluctuations will have an impact on the following:

  • The skin – the skin is thinner, stretched and inelastic. It stands to reason that the skin you have after a procedure is still the same skin you had before, there is just less of it.
  • Your nutritional status – it is important that your weight has stabilised and you are not still losing weight at the time of surgery, as this will impact on your wound healing ability
  • Wound healing ability – this is going to be affected, so expect some minor wound healing issues and in some cases significant issues that might need  long courses of dressings or even a return to the operating theatre
  • The scarring – due to the effects on wound healing, scars after post-weight loss plastic surgery can be stretched and thicker than would otherwise be expected.
  • Revision surgery – the requirement for adjustments at a later date are not uncommon in post-massive weight loss plastic surgery

Another important point is that in order to maintain your result for as long as possible, a healthy diet and regular exercise are vital for the long-term. Therefore, the process is certainly a marathon, not a sprint. So what are the most common procedures we perform as plastic surgeons in the post-massive weight loss setting? Below is a guide:

  • Lower abdomen:           Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck); fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty; lower body lift (belt lipectomy); labiaplasty
  • Upper abdomen:            Reverse abdominoplasty
  • Back:                             Upper body lift; back lift; lateral thoracic lift
  • Breasts:                          Mastopexy (breast lift); augmentation-mastopexy (breast lift with implants); breast reduction (male & female)
  • Arms:                         Brachioplasty (arm lift)
  • Thighs:                           Thigh lift
  • Face/Neck:                      Face/neck lift

before-lower-body-lift-oblique-view after-lower-body-lift-oblique-view

Example of before and after a belt lipectomy (circumferential abdominoplasty) in a patient who had lost 6-stone [surgeon – Marc Pacifico]. Note the scar will continue to fade with time.

Overall, most patients are delighted with the results of their surgery. Regarding surgery to the body and limbs, patients find they can wear clothes that they would never have dreamed of wearing beforehand (or could never have worn) and they can change their style of dress to show off their shape. Those who have had face and neck lifts look and feel refreshed and brighter instilling a new-found confidence.

People who have had this form of surgery have a significant boost to their self-esteem and are less self conscious about their body, having an overall improved body image.

For more information or to find out more, please get in touch on 01892 536 960 or email info@puritybridge.co.uk

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04, January, 2016Purity Bridge Team

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