Published on February 13, 2017

Will I Need Plastic Surgery After a Dramatic Weight Loss?

Bariatric surgery often leads to massive weight loss.

Arm fatThis can greatly improve your health and well-being in many ways.

But it may also leave you with droopy excess skin, which doesn’t always snap back to fit your new, slimmer body size.

A type of plastic surgery called body contouring helps address this issue. It removes excess skin and body fat. At the same time, it improves the shape of underlying support tissues. The result is a smoother, more normal-looking body shape.

But it’s not just a matter of improving your appearance. Folds of surplus skin can be hard to keep clean and dry. They may cause chafing, rashes, and other skin problems. Plus, loose, hanging skin may get in the way when you’re exercising or trying to find clothes that fit. Body contouring surgery helps combat these problems as well.

Understand Your Options

Not everyone chooses to have body contouring surgery after a major weight loss. If you’re considering it, ask your bariatric team to recommend a plastic surgeon with training and experience in body contouring procedures. Then schedule a visit with the plastic surgeon to discuss the pros and cons of the surgery for you.

In general, good candidates for body contouring surgery:
• Have reached a stable weight following a large weight loss
• Don’t have health conditions that increase their surgical risks
• Are committed to following their nutrition and exercise plan
• Have realistic expectations about what the surgery involves

Body Contouring Procedures

The exact procedure that’s needed varies from person to person. Options include:

  • Tummy tuck to remove excess abdominal skin
  • Thigh lift to reshape the inner, mid, and outer thighs
  • Lower body lift to correct sagging of the tummy, outer thighs, and buttocks
  • Arm lift to remove excess skin on the upper arms
  • Breast lift to give droopy, flattened breasts a boost

In many cases, body contouring surgery is performed in stages. It may take up to two years for all the stages to be completed.

Know What to Expect

Body contouring procedures require large incisions, which leave visible scars. Often, the scars can be placed where they’re hidden by clothing, but that isn’t always possible. Potential risks of the surgery include bleeding, infection, poor wound healing, and blood clots.

Be aware that health insurance may not cover body contouring surgery. Before having a procedure, weigh the costs, risks, and benefits carefully with your plastic surgeon.