Body contouring procedures after massive weight loss must be individualized. The quality of the skin after weight loss is one of the main determinants of how each area must be addressed. All body contouring patients must be at a stable weight for at least a year and have regular check-ups with their weight loss specialist. Blood tests are done to verify blood clotting, iron stores and overall healing capacity. The areas that are often performed to improve the appearance after weight loss include: circumferential body lift, breast lift, brachioplasty, thigh lift and facelift. Some of these procedures can be performed at the same time and most surgeons will divide the total number of procedures needed into 2 or 3 surgeries.
Circumferential body lift
A circumferential body lift is like an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) that goes around the back and also lifts the lateral thigh and the buttocks at the same time. The scar is the same as for an abdominoplasty (hip to hip) that continues around the back where the bum and the lower back intersect. Depending on how much skin needs to be removed, an additional scar may be placed vertically along the abdomen in order to improve the contour. Recovery is approximately 4 weeks.
This procedure aims to restore the contour of the upper arm. Depending on the amount of skin to be removed, the scar can be hidden in the armpit or may go as far down as the elbow. A common complication of this surgery is an unsightly scar as the upper arm tends to scar poorly. Recovery is approximately 2-3 weeks.
A medial thigh lift removes excess skin and fat from the medial thigh and lifts the upper thigh area to restore contour. Depending on the amount of skin to remove, the scar can be hidden in the groin or may need to extend as far down as the knee. Recovery is approximately 3-4 weeks.
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