Bariatric surgery can be highly successful in helping obese patients lose weight. After the procedure, patients are often able to enjoy not only significant weight loss, but also greater mobility, relieving the aches and pains of excess weight and a lower risk of weight-related diseases. However, one unfortunate result is that excess skin often hangs loose over a slimmer body. Dr. Heidari can help by tightening, lifting and contouring sagging skin. During a consultation, Dr. Heidari will evaluate your arms, breasts, abdomen, buttocks, thighs, and other areas to assess your contouring needs.
In the area of the back and belly (the trunk), some excess skin and fat may be treated appropriately by procedures such as a tummy tuck or liposuction. However, in more significant situations, where excess skin and fat is circumferential (circular) in nature involving the belly, hips, back, buttocks, and outer thighs, a more extensive procedure is required. This procedure is called “belt lipectomy” (also referred to as a body lift or circumferential panniculectomy) and is like a face-lift for the trunk.
- Have lost their expected weight after bariatric surgery and kept it off for at least six months
- Are non-smokers
- Have no major heart or lung disease
- Can tolerate general anesthesia
- Post-bariatric plastic surgery sometimes requires pre-surgical psychological counseling
Other areas that may need contouring after massive weight loss:
- Removing excess breast tissue
- Tightening upper arms by removing excess skin and fat (brachioplasty)
- Tightening inner thighs by removing excess skin and fat (thigh lift)
During the surgery, Dr. Heidari will make an incision that allows him to tighten and remove excess skin.* Most likely, multiple incisions will be required to treat multiple areas. Dr. Heidari will work with you to place incisions in strategic locations so most types of clothing can hide them. Body contouring after major weight loss is often preformed in stages. Dr. Heidari will discuss your particular goals and then, together you will create a surgical plan.
As with any surgical procedure there are possible risks and complications associated with the body lift and body contouring. Risks include infection, bleeding, and seroma (fluid accumulation). Wound separation is another possible risk soon after surgery. Detailed care instructions and close monitoring by Dr. Heidari before, during, and after surgery helps minimize these risks. Furthermore, blood clot formation in the legs after surgery can lead to a pulmonary embolus, which is a blood clot that travels to the lungs. By carefully reviewing the patient’s health history before surgery as well as precautions taken during surgery, such as leg compressions or low dose blood thinners, Dr. Heidari can help significantly decrease these risks.* All post-bariatric plastic surgery patients are expected to start walking and moving as soon as possible after surgery.*
All patients are required to stay in the hospital for a minimum of two nights. Thin tubes will be placed under the skin to drain excess fluids and will remain in place for about two weeks. You will be expected to get up and walk the first night following surgery — this is important to help in your recovery. At first, you will need to walk in a slightly bent position. Your activity level will slowly advance over the course of a few days, but you won’t be able to walk standing straight for at least a week. Most patients return to their daily activities in four to six weeks and return to regular exercise in about six to eight weeks.*
*Individual results may vary.