Body contouring after massive weight loss
Remus Repta, MD, is a board-certified plastic surgeon at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix. For more information, call (480) 752-7874.
Question: I recently lost a lot of weight and as a result I have a large amount of excess skin and tissue that I would like to tighten up. Is surgery a good option for me?
Answer: People who experience massive weight loss through bariatric surgery or through diet and exercise make a conscious decision to improve their health as well as the way they look and feel. The vast majority of massive weight loss individuals experience significant excess skin laxity following their successful weight loss. This excess skin does not improve regardless of exercise. Bodies can build muscle and loose fat, but they cannot exercise away the loose skin. Currently there is no non-surgical technology that has been proven to tighten skin. Skin that has lost its elasticity secondary to weight gain and weight loss needs to be removed surgically. Fortunately, there are great surgical solutions to remove excess skin and re-establish contour. The main areas that are of concern to most people who have experienced massive weight loss include:
- Abdomen and buttocks: A body lift involves removal of excess skin and soft tissue around the waist resulting in a tummy tuck as well as a buttock lift. The side and back of the thighs are also lifted. The final incision is hidden in the bikini line. The purse-string gluteoplasty procedure can also be performed at the same time. The procedure uses the tissue that would have been removed in the buttock lift to add volume to the buttock area.
- Breast: A breast lift or mastopexy procedure with or without augmentation (implant) improves the shape and position of the breasts. The areola is lifted and the breast is coned or shaped to give a more youthful appearance.
- Upper and middle back: The bra-line back lift procedure eliminates soft-tissue laxity of the back often know as bra bulge or bra fat. The final incision is placed in the horizontal part of the brassiere strap.
- Face: Many of the facial rejuvenation procedures including the combination of face-lift and neck-lift are designed to improve the shape, contour and appearance of the face. Additional procedures, including fat grafting, to add volume to desirable areas of the face, and skin resurfacing, can also contribute to a natural, rejuvenated result.
Reviewed January 2011