While anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight should be thrilled with their success, that often isn’t the end of the transformation process. Losing over 100 pounds often leaves people with loose, heavy folds of skin.

Several types of plastic surgery can remove this extra skin while also improving the shape and tone all over the body. Here’s a look at a few options and how to know if you might be a good candidate.

Is It Right For You?

If you fall under each of the following categories, you are likely a good candidate for plastic surgery following weight loss:

  • You have a stable weight
  • You’re in good overall health
  • You do not smoke
  • You have a positive outlook, and realistic goals for the procedure
  • You are committed to good nutrition, fitness and a healthy lifestyle in general.
  • You are not a woman planning to get pregnant— in these cases, it’s best to wait until after you’ve had children to consider plastic surgery after weight loss

Now, let’s look at three of the most common procedures after weight loss.

Body Contouring

Also called a body lift, this is one of the most common procedures following weight loss surgery. For people who keep their weight stable, body contouring will produce long-lasting results. Steps include:

  • Your surgeon will make a cut along the abdomen.
  • Your surgeon will then remove any excess, sagging skin.
  • Your surgeon can also lift and tighten the buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips, thighs and arms.
  • Liposuction is commonly used to remove fat and improve body contour.
  • Your surgeon may also perform buttock augmentation, as buttocks often flatten with significant weight loss.

You may lose part of the natural firmness of this procedure with age, but otherwise, it’s fairly permanent. There are a few risks and complications involved, including:

  • Scarring
  • Continued loose skin issues
  • Necessity for a follow-up cosmetic procedure
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Tissue death
  • Seroma: A mass or lump resulting from fluid buildup in an organ or tissue

These complications are more likely to occur the higher your body mass index is. Your surgeon will discuss these risks and benefits with you—most people find successful results.

Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck, also called abdominoplasty, can be part of body lift surgery. If things like diet, exercise and weight loss have failed to achieve the desired results, a tummy tuck can help flatten the stomach. Liposuction may be part of a tummy tuck, but they are not the same.

Steps of a tummy tuck usually go as follows:

  • Your surgeon makes a large cut around the navel that runs from hipbone to hipbone.
  • Your surgeon can manipulate skin, tissues and muscle to repair abdominal tissues.
  • Your surgeon will also move the belly button to match the new shape.
  • If needed, your surgeon will make a second cut to remove excess skin in the upper abdomen.

Tummy tucks result in scarring, but these will fade to some degree over time. Tummy tucks lead to a firmer, flatter abdomen.

Breast Lift

For sagging breasts, a breast lift helps lift, firm and reshape. Your surgeon will remove excess skin and tissue from the breast, repositioning the nipple higher on the chest. In some cases, this will include breast implants to improve overall shape. Breast lifts may require a touch-up procedure in some cases.

To learn more about surgeries following weight loss and whether they might be right for you, speak to your plastic surgeon.

Sources:

“Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/beauty/plastic-surgery-after-weight-loss#1

“Body Contouring After Major Weight Loss.” American Society of Plastic Surgeons. https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/body-contouring

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