Massive weight reduction is an epic undertaking. That’s even more true when you understand that you might need surgery after your weight loss journey. The reasons for this surgery almost always have something to do with excess skin and perhaps a little body contouring–but that all depends on you as an individual.
Why You Might Need Surgery After Your Weight Loss
That said, surgery after a weight loss journey is not exactly uncommon. That doesn’t diminish the importance of the weight loss itself, especially as far as your health is concerned. But many patients do feel a certain sense of impatience when it comes to the aesthetic benefits of their weight loss journeys.
And those aesthetic benefits can indeed be enhanced by body contouring plastic surgery. That’s not always what patients necessarily want to hear, but as the weight loss journey nears completion, it can actually be somewhat comforting because it means there’s a solution for all that excess skin. And if you have a lot of excess skin, you might need surgery after your weight loss journey to finally achieve the body you want.
Where Does Excess Skin Come From?
There are plenty of ways to lose a significant amount of weight, from exercise to bariatric surgery to significant lifestyle choices. However you choose to lose weight, you might be left with some excess skin–and that excess skin can develop in a number of ways:
- In most cases, the excess skin develops as your weight increases; you have more volume at this point, so you need more skin to contain it!
- Life situations such as pregnancy can also lead to the development of excess skin
- Your age and genetics will usually control just how much excess skin you end up with, as much is determined by how much elasticity your skin has at that given point in time (in other words, how much your skin “bounces back” as you lose weight is important to the equation here).
However the excess skin develops, it can undermine your feelings of accomplishment after your weight loss surgery. That’s because excess skin can look and feel a lot like the fat you worked so hard to remove. And excess skin can keep you feeling self conscious about your body–you may feel that urge to cover up like you did before your weight loss (and that can feel like a significant morale downer after such a long weight loss journey).
That’s one reason (among many) that patients will turn to some type of plastic surgery in cases where they are left with excess skin after a weight loss journey.
How Does Surgery Help?
Plastic surgery is one of the few ways to eliminate and control excess skin. A tummy tuck procedure, for example, can get rid of excess skin and strengthen the structure of the abdominal muscles. The end result is a tummy that looks much more slender and fit. In other words, the end results are probably pretty close to what you wanted from your weight loss journey in the first place.
There are several procedures that help patients with this type of weight loss journey completion:
- Tummy Tuck: As discussed above, this procedure primarily targets the abdomen
- Body lift: This procedure targets nearly the entire body from the tummy on down. It is a rather intense procedure, however, so you should consult with your surgeon about it beforehand.
- Lower Body Lift: To deal with excess skin around the waist and below, a lower body lift is sometimes employed to achieve the desired transformation.
- Arm lift: Sometimes that excess skin isn’t where you expect it to show up. An arm lift will eliminate or diminish excess skin that appears or develops around the arms.
Many patients will undergo a variety of these procedures, mixing and matching to find the best possible combination to suit their own specific needs.
Is Plastic Surgery Ever Necessary?
In nearly all of these cases, plastic surgery is an elective operation. This means you have a choice: you can undergo this body contouring or you can decide now to–with no impact on your health should you forego a procedure.
Whether this is the right path for you will ultimately depend on your goals, not to mention where you are in your weight loss journey. Most patients that want surgery need to be a stable weight before the surgeon can begin plans.
Like we said, that will all depend on your body and your goals. That means the best place to start is often with a consultation with your plastic surgeon. You might need surgery after your weight loss journey, but that decision is almost always best left between you and your surgeon.
- “Body-Contouring Surgery After Weight Loss.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/16794-body-contouring-surgery-after-significant-weight-loss.
- Gardner, Stephanie. “Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss.” WebMD, WebMD, 15 July 2017, www.webmd.com/beauty/plastic-surgery-after-weight-loss#1.
- Gitt, Steven, and Dominic Heffel. “Weight Loss Surgery Forums.” ObesityHelp, www.obesityhelp.com/forums/amos/Post-Bariatric-Plastic-Surgery-And-Insurance-Coverage.html.
About the Author: Dan Voltz is a medical marketing copywriter who has written numerous articles on plastic and cosmetic surgery. He focuses on taking complex medical procedures and ensuring that they are written about in language simple enough that anyone can understand.