After losing a significant amount of weight you may feel like your journey’s not quite over. This is an exciting, yet challenging time and at CARE we’re here to partner with, educate and guide you as you explore your plastic surgery options after weight loss. Drs. Coan and Zenn and the experienced team at CARE will be with you during every step of the way to help you reach your destination of reflecting the beauty you feel on the inside to the world outside.
Once achieving significant weight loss on your journey – either through dietary changes or bariatric/weight loss surgery (gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, gastric band, and duodenal switch) – many patients report feeling healthier, yet many also feel as though their body may not reflect how they feel. Skin quality and elasticity is often compromised and doesn’t fully “spring back” after significant weight loss. The excess skin that remains can cause discomfort, irritation and overall frustration.
Before Plastic Surgery after Weight Loss Quotes Some Patients Have Reported:
- “I’m tired of my batwing arms.”
- “I wish I felt comfortable standing in front of a mirror looking at myself.”
- “This excess skin is a reminder of where I was. . . I’m ready to break out and show off the new me!”
- “I want to be able to roll around on the floor with my grandchildren.”
- “I’m not comfortable being intimate with my partner because I feel self-conscious about my excess skin.”
- “I’ve come this far and this is going to be the final step.”
After Body Contouring Quotes from CARE Patients:
- “I never realized I could feel and look so amazing again.”
- “When I had the initial surgery, I wanted to feel better in my clothes and look better. After the surgery, I realize that it changes your body mechanics too! I can run-not a fast jog- for the first time in 30 years!”
- “It is an indescribable feeling to have a youthful body again, not only appearance-wise, but being able to do things you haven’t thought about in years!”
- “It has changed my outlook on life in such a profound and positive way. I encourage anyone to have the surgery if they are thinking about it. I will have my thighs and arms done this spring.”
- “I could not be happier with my decision to go with Dr. Coan! Not only did my body lift come out FABULOUS but I went back 2 months later and had my breast and arms done! When I look in the mirror I cannot believe what Dr. Coan has accomplished!”
For many patients, body contouring involves a series of procedures that eliminate excess skin. These procedures may range from a lower body lift, breast reduction and lift, brachioplasty (arm lift) and thigh lift. Combining liposuction with various procedures is beneficial for stubborn deposits of fat in order to create a more proportional/balanced contour of the body.
At CARE Plastic Surgery, Dr. Brian S. Coan specializes in total body contouring after weight loss. His plastic surgery results have earned him numerous awards and distinctions both locally and nationally. Named Durham’s Best Plastic Surgeon every year since its inception in 2010 by Durham Magazine in North Carolina has been a great honor. Dr. Coan was also recently featured on the Emmy award-winning TV show The Doctors for his life changing body contouring after weight loss procedure performed on internet figure Tevante Clark (for a link to his personal story click here). Dr. Michael Zenn is an internationally respected surgeon who specializes in the rejuvenating procedures of the face, breasts, and abdomen after weight loss. He has been in practice for over 20 years and has trained many of the plastic surgeons in the Triangle.
Both Drs. Coan and Zenn are board-certified in Plastic and Reconstructive surgery and are members of the most world-renowned plastic surgery societies including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). They are passionate about guiding, educating, and caring for weight loss patients.
CARE Plastic Surgery is committed to providing patients with extraordinary aesthetic results always with the highest standards of safety. During your body contouring consultation, Drs. Coan and Zenn will discuss the most suitable procedures and treatment plan to meet your aesthetic aspirations. Each body contouring plastic surgery procedure is customized to your body and goals.
Candidates for body contouring after significant weight loss are men and women who are in good general health with loose, hanging or stretched skin as a result of bariatric surgery or considerable weight loss .
What Are Typical Body Contouring Procedures After Weight Loss?
- Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) – to reduce excess skin, tighten loose muscles, reduce excess fat
- Buttock Lift – to lift and/or augment the buttocks
- Lower Body Lift Belt Lipectomy or Tummy Tuck combined with Buttock Lift – sometimes referred to as “around the world” or “circumferential 360°” tummy tuck – this procedure lifts and tightens skin around the entire waistline including front, back and sides
- Facelift – to reduce pronounced jowls, hanging skin and “turkey neck”
- Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) – to reduce “batwing” arms (excess skin hanging from arms)
- Thigh Lift (Thighplasty) – to reduce thighs that chafe and cause discomfort due to excess skin
- Breast Lift (Mastopexy) – to reduce hanging, sagging breasts and/or lift and possibly reduce nipples
- Breast Lift/Breast Augmentation – to lift sagging breasts and increase lost breast volume
- Breast Reduction – to reduce breast size and reduce discomfort from large breasts
- Male Breast Reduction – to reduce excess skin, fat and/or tissue from male breasts (nipple reduction may also be included)
- Liposuction – to reduce excess adipose/fat from stubborn areas (including arms, abdomen, neck, thighs, groin/mons, back)
- Labiaplasty/Groin Surgery – to address groin area and excess skin/fat
A tummy tuck after weight loss will create a new contour to the abdominal area by removing excess fat and skin from the trunk region and allow the for a flatter stomach and defined waistline. Liposuction may be used to remove stubborn deposits of fat. The abdominal muscles are tightened to further flatten the abdomen. These muscles often become stretched or separated due to the previous weight gain, similar to pregnancy.
A buttock lift/butt lift is designed to address sagging and deflation, as well as excess pockets of fat, from the buttocks. The incision is often made on the top of the buttocks accentuating the underlying natural shape, and the area is reshaped for a smoother, trimmer appearance. Patients who have lost significant weight may desire additional volume to the buttocks. In many cases the patients’ own tissue/fat may be used to augment and volumize the shape and allow a fuller/rounder appearance.
A lower body lift is a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) combined with a buttock lift. The tummy tuck incision is often made low on the belly just above the pubic/groin area and extends around the circumference of the body in order to remove the excess skin from all areas. Liposuction may be used to remove excess pockets of fat. Hanging skin is also removed from the buttocks, and the buttocks are lifted for a firmer, smoother appearance. The incision is usually made on the top of the buttocks, accentuating the natural curve.
When patients lose a significant amount of weight they may notice excess skin and hollows in the face and neck regions. A face and neck lift may help improve the appearance due to lost volume, skin laxity and deflation. Facial plastic surgery can address flattened cheeks, jowls, double chin and loose skin on the neck (sometimes called “turkey neck”). Incisions are often discreetly placed in or by the hairline, under the chin or behind the ears.
Some patients may report feeling frustrated with “batwing” arms after weight loss. An arm lift is recommended to remove excess skin hanging from the upper arms and is often combined with other body contouring plastic surgery procedures. For the arm lift the incision is made in the groove inside the upper arm between the biceps and triceps and runs laterally from the armpit to the elbow.
A thigh lift contours the inner and/or outer thighs for slimmer, smoother thighs. Liposuction may be combined with this procedure to remove remaining pockets of fat. Occasionally, this problem area requires a two-stage approach. Liposuction may be performed first to treat the residual fat, and then at a later stage the thigh lift surgery is performed a few weeks later to remove the excess skin.
After a patient has lost a substantial amount of weight the breasts may present with volume loss and sagginess. A breast lift surgery can help restore breasts to a more rejuvenated appearance and can help lift the nipples as well. The procedure lifts the nipples to a higher position on the chest and reshapes the breast. Additionally, excess breast skin, tissue and/or fat may be removed. If desired, the areolas may also be reshaped and/or reduced to create a more proportional appearance.
Incisions are usually made around the areola and down toward the fold under the breast. Occasionally, some skin is also removed under the breast, leaving a scar in the crease.
Weight loss may cause a deflated and flattened appearance to the breasts. In cases where patients desire added breast volume and a more rejuvenated appearance, a breast augmentation with either silicone gel or saline implants is recommended. A breast implant may be inserted at the same time as a breast lift surgery or as a secondary minor procedure. Dr. Coan specializes in using smooth round silicone gel, textured breast implants and anatomically shaped “gummy bear” breast implants.
Women with heavy breasts frequently suffer from back, neck, and shoulder pain or deep grooving. A breast reduction is often performed as a complement to a body contouring surgical plan to make the breasts smaller. Incisions are usually made around the areola, under the breast crease, and vertically from the breast crease to the bottom of the areola.
Gynecomastia is a condition in men that causes the development of male breasts. After significant weight loss, there may be additional excess skin around the upper body. This tissue and excess skin can be removed through liposuction and excision in a procedure called male breast reduction, which restores a masculine appearance to the chest. Incisions are usually made around the areolas. If there is additional excess skin, another incision is made where necessary to remove the remaining skin.
Liposuction is used as a complementary procedure in some body contouring surgical plans to remove any localized pockets of fat that remain after significant weight loss. Liposuction can provide added contour to the areas where excess skin is removed. A small tube called a cannula is inserted in a small incision and moved back and forth as a suction device removes the fat cells from the area being treated.
A labiaplasty involves cosmetic improvements to the labia. Frequently, women experience enlarged or stretched labia minora (the inner folds of the vagina) and/or labia majora (the outer folds of the vagina). This stretching can cause discomfort and irritation. A labiaplasty is a procedure for reducing the labia, but it can also remove lax skin from the mons pubis (groin area), if necessary. In some cases, there is excess skin over the clitoris, causing lack of sensation during sex. The clitoral hood can also be reduced during labiaplasty, if desired.
Can Body Contouring Procedures Be Done Simultaneously?
Combining procedures is determined on a case-by-case basis. Frequently, more than one body contouring procedure can be combined, such as a lower body lift with a breast lift. If you are a candidate for several body contouring procedures, you will need to have more than one surgical session. Our CARE specialists will listen to your priorities and create a customized surgical plan for the stages of your procedures. The ultimate goal is to be able to get back to enjoying life as soon as possible.
When procedures are combined, it is not always possible for them to be performed on an outpatient basis. You will be advised if you can go home the same day after your procedures or if you will need an overnight stay in the hospital.
What Can You Expect During Recovery From Body Contouring After Weight Loss?
The recovery period after a body contouring procedure is unique depending on your case. The amount of time you must take off from work and other activities is determined by the specific body contouring procedure or procedures, amount of tissue removed and your general health.
For several of the procedures, you will need to wear a custom-fit support garment for up to six weeks post-surgery. You will be informed prior to your surgery how much time you will need off from work. You will feel sore for several days to weeks. In the majority of cases, there is little or no bruising. Swelling will take several weeks or months to fully resolve, and after some procedures, such as the lower body lift, it may be difficult to walk completely upright for several days. For more involved procedures, you may not be able to resume exercise or heavy lifting for up to six weeks.
The specialists at CARE will do everything they can to reduce scarring and place incisions in the most cosmetic locations. Your scars will gradually fade and flatten during the months after your procedure, and we will provide you with strategies to help scars heal quickly.
Body contouring results are long-lasting if you maintain a stable weight. The best way to preserve the results you achieve after surgery is to prevent weight gain and exercise regularly. We have various resources we can recommend to keep you on the right track to enjoying your new body!
If you are interested in learning more about body contouring procedures after weight loss surgery, please call CARE Plastic Surgery at (919) 484-4884 to speak with one of our Patient Care Coordinators. They will be happy to give you more information and assist you in setting up a consultation with one of our highly trained surgeons.