Body Contouring After Major Weight Loss

You have done hard work! You should be comfortable! Body contouring procedures can help your clothes fit more comfortably and exercise easier. This procedure can also help you complete the "healing" process of obesity. Click below to learn more about body contouring procedures.

What is "body contouring?"

  • It is not a procedure itself. Rather, it is a group of procedures that are customized to and combined to shape, contour, tighten and enhance body image after weight loss
  • There are modifications of procedures (such as standard tummy tuck) that are specific to weight loss patients

Who Gets Body Contouring?

  • About 25% of post-bariatric surgery weight loss patients are getting body contouring procedures, although this number is increasing every year
  • Most patients who lose 50-60 lbs or more will have extra skin to some degree. It is up to the individual person if they want the skin removed.

Who is a Good Candidate for Body Contouring Procedures?

  • Adults whose weight has been stable for at least 3 months
  • Healthy individuals without medical conditions that impair healing or increase your risk for surgery
  • Non-smokers
  • Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic goals
  • People who are committed to continuing their healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition and fitness

Is it Safe? What are the Risks?

  • The risk is based on what is done and also on how many procedures are done at one time. Bleeding, infection and open wounds can occur as with any surgery, but can be slightly more frequent in post-bariatric surgery patients. These risks are most often minor. Larger problems can also occur, which is why you need to be carefully evaluated beforehand by Mercy Plastic Surgeons in addition to your bariatric and primary care physician. Blood clots in the legs can also be troublesome in body contouring patients, so we take measures toward prevention. Safety is very important.

How Long After Bariatric Surgery do I Have to Wait Before I can Get a Tummy Tuck or Arm Lift Surgery?

  • This is an important question. You basically want to be at your plateau (lowest) weight for a minimum of three months and have your health issues (diabetes, etc.) sorted out. Generally this is 12 months or more after bariatric surgery, but this is variable.

How Much Body Contouring Can Be Done at One Time?

  • A good question. The answer can be complex, since every patient is different. It is very common to do two or three areas at one time, but it is never wrong to do them in multiple stages. We look at each patient individually. Someone with more severe excess skin may take longer than someone who has less severe excess skin. We try to limit the amount of time under anesthesia. Safety is the most important factor.

What is a "body lift?"

  • It is simply a combination of several procedures rolled into one
  • Generally includes abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), thigh lift, and buttock lift

What is a "butt lift?"

  • It lifts the buttocks by removing excess skin in the low back and buttocks
  • The incision is at the low back and usually connects around the waist to the tummy tuck incision in a "lower body lift"
  • Can also use the liposuction fat from your flanks and insert it into the buttocks to give a shapelier appearance that is not flat

Procedures Include...

What is a Resonable Expectation Regarding Scaring? Many of the Before and After Photos Show Some Pretty Large, Red and Uneven Scars.

  • The scars do usually fade with time. Redness often persists for several months and usually starts fading around 9-12 months. Scars are always present with any surgical procedures, but they can often be hidden in acceptable areas for common clothing. These weight-loss skin problems are usually so severe that the scars are a good trade-off for better fitting clothing, comfort, and improved self-image.  Uneven scars are not the norm, but scars can “migrate” a bit due to skin tension and the especially poor quality of skin that is common to weight-loss patients.

Photos are a great way to discuss a procedure, which is why we love to use them!

Photos are also a great way to help you understand your individualized and realistic outcome. Because each person is different in size, shape, body type, and desire, we feel that photos are best “interpreted” and discussed together in consultation. That is why we will use them in a one-on-one discussion that will help you understand the process and results that are achievable in your particular case.

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Des Moines, Iowa 50314

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