It great you have lost a lot of weight by dieting, exercising or bariatric surgery.
Are you now really happy?
Your body doesn’t look the way you expected it. There might also be some restriction in activity due to your present body. Your body needs to be contoured.
What is Body contouring?
It is a corrective surgery that may be carried out after major weight loss. Body contouring improves the shape and tone of underlying tissue while removing sagging skin and extra fat. It results in a body with smoother contours. Body contouring may be carried out following major weight loss, when the skin may not shrink back fully.
Body contouring is often performed in stages and may take months or even years to complete. Areas that are often affected by loose, unsupported skin include the upper arms, breasts, abdomen, buttocks, groin
It is preferable to have this procedure done by a surgeon who is specially trained to perform body
contouring surgery and has a lot of experience in carrying out this operation.
Body contouring surgery should be considered once your weight is stable and is not reducing any further.
Considerations to decide for body contouring surgery:
1. You are otherwise fit for surgery. An examination by your surgeon & anesthesiologist and appropriate investigations are very essential.
2. You must understand that beneath the skin folds there is still a lot of fat which cannot be removed by liposuction alone. A combination of liposuction in certain areas to compliment the removal of excess skin is essential part of the treatment.
3. You are prepared for multiple large scars. Every attempt will be made to keep it minimal and hidden in your clothes.
4. Your entire body cannot be operated at one go. You should consider lower body correction before going in for upper body corrections. Discuss with your doctor if you have specific requirements.
5. If you are a smoker you should try to give up smoking as it might affect the healing process.
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The body contouring options:
Body contouring surgery is usually divided into upper and lower body contouring. Upper body is generally referred to as upper body consists of arms, breasts (in females)/ chest (in males) and upper back. Head and neck is considered as a separate entity. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon will make every effort to place incisions (cuts) within natural skin folds and in areas where the scars will be hidden by clothes. However, this is not always possible and some scars may be visible.
Depending on your individual circumstances, the surgeon may recommend one or more surgeries to achieve the desired results depending on the type of body contouring required.
The different types of body contouring surgery include:
- Lower body lift – here the excess skin is taken from the abdomen, hips, buttocks and outer thighs like a belt at the hips. This procedure can also improve a dimpled, irregular skin surface, commonly known as cellulite. In some cases, the lower body lift can be performed during a single operation. In other cases, two or more operations must be planned.
- Thigh lift – Extra skin and fat are removed from the inner thigh. The surgeon makes a cut in the groin that runs down to the knee.
- Buttock lift – depending on the extent of the operation the surgeon cuts across the top of the buttock and, sometimes along the sides as well. Upper body lift
- Breast lift (mastopexy) – the surgeon cuts around the areola of the nipple and makes a vertical cut from the areola to the underside of the breast. A breast implant can be included during this procedure to increase the size of the breast.
- Arm lift (brachioplasty) – the surgeon makes a cut on the inner surface of the upper arm from the armpit to the elbow cutting away the extra skin. Immediately after the body contouring operation expect some pain and discomfort, bruising, swelling and possible numbness. It would be highly beneficial to wear compression garments to help reduce swelling. Self care tips after body contouring surgery
- Rest as much as possible. Only gentle walking is recommended for the first seven to 10 days.
- Avoid strenuous activities or exercise for at least four weeks.
- Make sure that your stitches are not placed under stress. For example, don’t wear tight clothing that may rub at your wounds.
- Wear compression garments for several weeks as advised by your doctor. You need to understand that your silhouette in clothes is changed immediately. However, body
contouring surgery will not stop your skin from sagging if you gain and loose a large amount of weight in the future. You need to expect and accept a certain degree of sagging as you age. While it may have taken you two years or more to lose the excess weight, it may take just as long for the results of your body contouring to be complete. The plan for your surgery will depend on what you are trying to achieve, as well as your surgeon’s best judgment.
Things to remember
- Body contouring is a type of corrective surgery that may be carried out after major weight loss.
- The surgery removes sagging skin and extra fat and improves the shape and tone of underlying tissue.
- Body contouring is often performed in stages and may take months or even years to complete.
- Body contouring will maintain your skin from sagging as long as you don’t gain and loose a large amount of weight in the future.
- Talk with your surgeon about the risks and benefits of body contouring and what results you can expect.
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