After losing significant weight, you may unable to completely enjoy the results because of excess sagging skin that’s left behind. But to achieve their desired body contour, many people end up seeking plastic surgery after weight loss.
There are different types of restrictive and malabsorptive surgeries that help people lose weight by either decreasing the size of the stomach or removing a part of the digestive system. Once the weight is lost, a person can be left with hanging skin, making it difficult for them to perform physical activities, including exercise. It can also cause skin problems. So, here, plastic surgery serves both functional and aesthetic purposes.
Do You Need Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss?
Extensive weight loss can leave you with large amounts of hanging skin, which can hinder your physical activity and affect your emotional well-being. The skin droops not just from the abdomen but also from the arms, legs, back, breasts, buttocks and face. It can even discourage physical activity, which can make it difficult for people to maintain their weight.
Some actively avoid engaging in physical activity because the skin flaps and draws “unwelcome stares from others.” This causes embarrassment, with a negative impact on “self-perception.” Additionally, excess skin can cause intertrigo (inflammation resulting in a rash between folds of skin), ulcers, pain, and irritation.
One study, in which 360 patients who had bariatric surgery participated, showed that “redundant skin” in the abdomen, upper arms, and rear/buttocks hampered daily physical activities in at least half of them. So, surgical intervention is needed to get rid of excess skin.
Keep in mind that the skin that has been stretched for a long time doesn’t snap back into place once the fat deposits melt away. That’s because it has lost its elasticity, and this can leave you with stretch marks. According to a study published in Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, even after the patients had lost weight with bariatric surgery and gotten plastic surgery, the collagen in the skin was damaged and the elastin degraded. There were also areas of scarring where the skin appeared normal.
Who’s A Good Candidate For Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss?
You make a good candidate for plastic surgery after weight loss in the following instances:
- It’s been 1 year since you had your weight loss surgery.
- Your weight has been stable for 3-6 months, having a BMI between 25-35.
- You are healthy and committed to a healthy lifestyle.
- You are not a smoker.
- You have realistic expectations.
- Your family is complete (pregnancy will physically change the body).
Your plastic surgeon will further determine your suitability for the surgery through blood work and medical history.
How To Prepare For Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss?
Before undergoing plastic surgery after weight loss, your surgeon will ask you to discontinue the intake of any blood-thinning medications or supplements. You will also have to stop consuming any tobacco products or any recreational drugs.
Many people also suffer from different nutritional deficiencies (iron, vitamins, and copper) after undergoing bariatric surgery. This needs to be addressed before the surgery takes place. Also, since the surgeries are most likely going to take place under general anaesthesia, do not eat or drink after midnight the night before the surgery is to take place.
As far as preparation is concerned, you should also keep in mind that you might undergo a specific combination of surgeries on one day and others sometime later. Undergoing full-body plastic surgery is not safe, and the recovery would be too difficult, so your surgeon will recommend against it.
What Procedures Are Involved In Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss?
Most commonly, lifting surgeries are performed on different parts of the body. However, you may also undergo other cosmetic procedures to achieve a better body contour.
After losing weight, many women may feel conscious about the deflation or sagging of their breasts. It ends up impacting their body image. A breast lift can help resolve that problem. And if your breasts have lost volume, you can also consider undergoing breast augmentation with implants.
Face & Neck Lift
Following your weight loss, you might have a significant amount of loose skin around your neck. It can give you a more aged and tired appearance. With a neck lift, you can smoothen the appearance of your neck. Your face might also look gaunt if you’ve lost significant weight. Fat grafting along with face and neck lift can improve your look.
The depletion of fat stores in the arms after weight loss can leave behind sagging skin. Brachioplasty, known as arm lift, can remove the excess skin in the upper arm. However, you should know that there may be a risk of permanent scarring with this plastic surgery after weight loss. Although the scar will be on the inner side of the upper arm, thereby not making it outwardly visible.
This surgery can take place in conjunction with liposuction. The skin around the thighs can sag after you lose a lot of weight. Chafing can also leave you with rashes and irritation. A thigh lift is a surgical procedure in which the sagging skin from the upper and inner thighs is removed. This can improve mobility and will help you fit better into clothes.
The loss of fat can make you lose the shape of your buttocks. For this, you can consider getting a Brazilian butt lift (BBL) or implants to restore the volume and curves of your buttocks.
Back lift, also known as bra line back lift, is a surgical procedure in which excess skin is removed from the back to achieve a smooth contour. Usually, the surgeon makes the incision in those areas, which can later be hidden by the bra. This procedure is often done in conjunction with liposuction.
After losing weight, tummy tuck surgery allows the patient to get rid of the excess skin around their abdomen. Keep in mind that the surgery won’t restore the elasticity of the skin. As mentioned above, skin that has been stretched for years will have damaged its collagen and elastin. The surgery will simply remove the excess skin. It’ll significantly contour your body so that you can enjoy your post-weight loss body.
If you have persistent fat pockets, your surgeon might recommend you undergo liposuction. This may be done before you have any other plastic surgery after weight loss if there are a large number of fat deposits. However, if there’s only a small amount of them, the surgeon will be able to remove them from your body during the lifting procedures.
A panniculectomy is a medical procedure that aims to get rid of excess skin that may extend to the pubic hairline or as far as the knee. This is not a weight loss surgery, but a panniculectomy can help you get rid of as much as 5-10 pounds of weight from the extra skin.
What To Expect Following Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss?
The recovery period will depend on the type of procedures that you’ve had. If you just had one procedure, it may be possible for you to get back to work after a couple of weeks. However, if you’ve had multiple procedures, the recovery is going to take longer.
You might have stitches and be required to wear a compression garment. You’ll also be advised against strenuous physical activities (for maybe more than a month) as they can affect your recovery.
Is It Safe To Combine Different Lifting Procedures?
That depends on the type of surgery and the patient. For instance, you can combine breast surgery with a tummy tuck or thigh lift, or you can have gynecomastia and tummy tuck at the same time. You can even combine liposuction, tummy tuck, and breast surgery.
However, it’s not recommended to do a thigh lift and tummy tuck surgery at the same time. That may be because of different aftercare requirements. You should speak to an expert to learn what is the best option for you. Planning your surgery is important.
How Much Will Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss Cost You?
If you’re undergoing plastic surgery after weight loss due to medical reasons, it might be available on the NHS, or your health insurance might cover it. However, that won’t be the case if you want it for cosmetic reasons.
In that case, the total cost will depend on the type of procedures you’re getting (their techniques), the location of the clinic and the experience of the surgeon. However, if you’re planning to undergo most of the body contouring procedures, it might cost you around £20,000 or maybe even more in Turkey. The cost can be as much as 3-5 times higher in the UK.
After having weight loss surgery or losing weight significantly through diet and exercise, many people end up struggling with excess skin. It negatively impacts the way they see themselves and hinders their physical activity. To resolve this issue, you can consider a lifting procedure depending on the area of the body you want contoured, or you can also combine surgeries together. If you’re planning to undergo plastic surgery after weight loss, make sure to consult a medical professional.