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Body Contouring

By New You Editorial
Posted On Nov 16, 2010

Following weight reduction surgery, or any substantial amount of weight loss, the skin and tissues often lack elasticity and cannot conform to the reduced body size. As a result, skin that has been severely stretched now is unsupported:

  • • Upper arms may sag and appear loose and full
  • • Breasts may flatten and hang with nipples pointed downward
  • • Abdominal area may extend around the sides and into the lower back area, resulting in an apron-like overhang
  • • Buttocks, groin and thighs can sag and cause hanging pockets of skin

Surgical body contouring following major weight loss improves the shape and tone of your underlying tissue that supports fat and skin, and removes excess sagging fat and skin. The result is a more normal appearance to the body, with smoother contours. This is, in essence, the final phase of your total weight loss experience.

Good candidates for body contouring are:

  • • Adults of any age whose weight loss has stabilized
  • • Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase risk of surgery
  • • Non-smokers
  • • Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic goals for what body contouring can accomplish
  • • Individuals committed to leading a healthy lifestyle including proper nutrition and fitness

Possible risks of body contouring following major weight loss include:

  • • Unfavorable scarring
  • • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • • Infection
  • • Fluid accumulation
  • • Poor wound healing
  • • Skin loss
  • • Blood clots
  • • Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
  • • Anesthesia risks
  • • Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
  • • Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
  • • Major wound separation
  • • Asymmetry
  • • Recurrent looseness of skin
  • • Pain, which may persist
  • • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • • Persistent swelling in the legs
  • • Possibility of revisional surgery

Recovery & Results:
After your body contouring procedure is completed, dressings or bandages will be applied to the incisions. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect. The decision to have body contouring surgery is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable. Your cosmetic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.

The results of a body contouring following aggressive weight loss are visible almost immediately. However, it may take as many as one to two years or more for the final results of all the recommended body contouring procedures to fully develop. Visible scars will remain, but the overall results are long lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness. However, most of your initial improvement should be relatively permanent.