First of all...Congratulations!! Whether you have recently embarked on your weight loss journey, or you have already reached your goals, you are taking proactive steps to a healthier and happier you. Weight loss is not easy--furthermore, many of you have likely undergone massive weight loss, which could be over 100 pounds. What you may have been unaware of is the sequelae of significant weight loss, mainly loose, overhanging skin, affecting your whole body from head to toe.
Before you feel defeated, there is a solution! Body contouring is a term for surgical procedures designed to address issues resulting from major weight loss, from the arms, to breasts, belly, and thighs. Body contouring removes extra skin and fat, tightening the remaining tissue. Surgery won't completely erase the signs; however, it will smooth the contour of your body. Such dramatic physical changes of extreme weight loss may have medical, nutritional, or psychological impact. In your evaluation, Dr. Lisa Hwang will get to know you and formulate a customized plan for you. Your health is our priority.
Loose skin of the face shows signs of premature aging. Patients generally notice deep wrinkle formation, and sagging skin around the eyes, mouth, and neck. As soft tissue descends, face shape may change, becoming more bottom-heavy and obscuring the jawline. Facelift and Eyelid Lift are options to rejuvenate your appearance.
Belly. Back. Buttocks.
Similar to post-pregnancy, weight loss patients develop significant skin excess of the belly. However, because the weightloss wasn't isolated to the central abdomen, there may be extra skin extending around to the back and buttocks. Patients may also develop separation of the abdominal muscles, resulting in a bulging belly. Tummy Tuck with Liposuction corrects the skin excess and rectus diastasis. In severe cases, extended tummy tucks or Lower Body Lift may be elected.
Many patients come to me, complaining of "bat wings." They are frustrated that loose skin hangs from their upper arms, and they feel self-conscious in tank tops. They also have skin irritation, especially when they sweat in hot weather, sometimes developing rashes. Arm Lift, or brachiaplasty, removes excess skin and fat from the upper arms. It can be combined with Liposuction for improved contour.
Extreme weight loss causes sagging and deflation of the breasts. They become flat and pendulous, and the whole breast descends. With the loss of skin elasticity and tissue support, breasts are difficult to rejuvenate in these patients. Breast Lift is the ideal procedure. In select patients, breast lift with Breast Augmentation can be considered.
Skin excess in the thighs is another grievance. In the upper inner thigh, the skin may become excoriated from rubbing against each other. Sweat can also get trapped, causing rashes. Even after successful weight loss, patients may be too self-conscious to wear shorts or bathing suits. Thigh lift removes excess skin and fat along the inner thigh to create a more sleek appearance.
Weight loss patients require more attention and preoperative planning than the average. Extreme weight loss triggers many physiological and metabolic changes. Patients may experience improvement/resolution of other medical problems. However, extreme weight loss patients also face unique challenges. In preparing for surgery, there are a few important targets.
After reaching their goal weight, it is important that patients maintain that weight for at least 3 months. This allows time for the body to adjust to that weight. In addition, it demonstrates that the patient is able to maintain their lifestyle changes.
Many patients accomplish this transformation with bariatric surgery, with close guidance of health professionals, while others have revamped their lifestyles with strict diet and exercise regimens. Not all patients have had close supervision of their nutritional status--patients may be prone to vitamin/protein deficiencies, anemia, etc. You should visit either your bariatric surgeon or your primary care physician for medical clearance, and lab work must be performed to evaluate for nutritional deficits and to correct them.
As the whole body can be affected by massive weight loss, patients often have multiple areas of concern and plan for multiple procedures. Multiple procedures can be performed at one time, but limitations include time under anesthesia and recovery. Longer surgeries incur additional risk to the patient; therefore, it may be wise to stage procedures and perform them separately. This optimizes the chances that the patient remains safe during surgery as well as throughout their postoperative recovery. We strive for beautiful, well-healed results!
At your consultation, Dr. Lisa Hwang will discuss everything in detail with you. She will get to know your priorities and formulate a customized plan to ensure that you can achieve all your goals in a safe fashion.