Skin is usually fairly elastic. That means that if you lose a few pounds, it tends to bounce back. That’s a good thing because you’re not left with noticeable sag or drooping. But if you’ve been obese or overweight for many years and you experience massive weight loss, such as dropping 50 or 100 pounds, if not more, your skin is going to have a tougher time bouncing back.
Skin that’s been stretched out loses its elasticity. That means it doesn’t bounce back and lie flat after you’ve lost a fair amount of weight. Instead, it sags and droops. Some people find that, although they’re many pounds lighter after massive weight loss, they still need to wear a larger size because they have so much extra skin. It’s also common to have some areas of extra fat on the body, even after weight loss.
If you’ve recently lost a lot of weight but still aren’t happy about the size or shape of your body, the following surgeries might be able to help.
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, trims away excess skin from the abdominal area and gets rid of unwanted fat. A few different forms of the surgery exist. The one that’s best for you depends on how dramatic you want your results to be and how much skin or fat you have to get rid of.
During the surgery, the surgeon will remove extra skin between the belly button and the top of the pubic bone. He might perform liposuction to remove any excess fat from the area. The muscles may also be tightened to create a more toned, flatter abdomen. The surgery can take up to three hours, depending on if it’s a full tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck. Afterwards, recovery takes anywhere from a week to two weeks.
You might think of a body lift as a more extensive form of tummy tuck. While a tummy tuck only addresses extra skin and fat on the front of the body around the belly, the body lift also takes care of extra skin and fat on the back and around the hips. During the surgery, an incision is made around the body, across the abdomen and just above the buttocks. The incision will leave a rather large scar, but that scar usually fades with time.
On its own, the body lift can take up to six hours to perform. But it can produce dramatic improvement in the abdomen, flanks, back, buttocks and thighs. It can also be combined with other surgeries after massive weight loss. Your surgeon can let you know if combining a body lift with other procedures makes sense for you.
One of the annoying things about weight loss is that, even after you’ve dropped a lot of pounds, you can still have areas of stubborn fat deposits that remain. If it seems that nothing you do gets rid of stubborn fat, not even following the healthiest of diets or exercising, then liposuction can help. During liposuction, your surgeon will make a series of small injections in the treatment area to inject the fat with a saline solution. This makes the fat easier to remove. Once the fat is suctioned out, you’ll wear a compression garment to help shape and smooth the treated area.
Another common consequence of losing a lot of weight is being left with breasts that look a bit like deflated balloons. A breast lift can help restore a fuller shape to sagging breasts. It can also restore some volume to breasts that might have shrunk in size after weight loss. While the volume increase from a breast lift won’t be as dramatic as the increase you would get from a breast augmentation, it can be sufficient enough to restore your breasts to their original size and position after you’ve had massive weight loss.
Losing weight and fat from the upper arms can contribute to what’s known as a “bat wing” look. The skin on the inside of the upper arm becomes loose and flabby, making it look as though you have wings. An arm lift, or brachioplasty, can help to create a more toned and shapely look in the upper arm area.
The surgery involves trimming away extra loose skin from the arm area and removing any unwanted fat from the area as well. Although it can be performed on its own, the surgery is often combined with other body contouring procedures, such as a tummy tuck, breast lift or liposuction in another area.
Ready to reshape your body after massive weight loss? Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Vitenas can help. Call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation and to learn more about the procedures available.