Body Contouring: The Finishing Touch After Dramatic Weight Loss
Bariatric surgery leads to dramatic weight loss, which contributes to better health and a more active lifestyle. Unfortunately, the skin does not always maintain its elasticity (ability to stretch and retract back into shape after weight loss) and loose, hanging skin can result. This excess skin can cause skin irritation, pain and infection. Some patients also notice that their weight loss is not evenly distributed throughout their body; that they are left with localized "pockets" of fat tissue which can contribute to dissatisfaction with body appearance. For some, body contouring surgery can help.
What is Body Contouring Surgery?
Body contouring refers to a type of plastic surgery devoted to reshaping the body's proportions or curves. In the case of loose or sagging skin, it can be needed to reduce irritation, pain, even infection caused by the loose skin "folds."
Can exercise prevent these problems?
No. Exercise and healthy eating, while critical to attaining and maintaining weight loss, have no effect on the development of uneven body contours, bulges or loose skin after dramatic weight loss. The amount of overall weight loss is the number one contributor to the development of these problems. Heredity and older age also play a role.
What body areas are affected?
Areas most often affected include the face, neck, upper arms, breasts, abdomen, thighs and buttocks. The body areas requiring contouring may vary from patient to patient, as do the procedures used. It is important for patients to have realistic expectations of the outcome.
What happens during a consultation with a plastic surgeon?
During a body contouring consultation, patients learn about the risks, benefits, and alternatives to consider. The consultation involves a physical exam to determine overall health and readiness to undergo a plastic surgery procedure, as well as an evaluation of the patient's needs, preferences and expectations. Because patients have diverse weight loss outcomes and preferences, it is necessary that body contouring solutions are highly individualized. An office consultation is the best way to learn about the options available.
What is the cost?
Body contouring after dramatic weight loss is typically considered "elective surgery" and is not covered by most insurance plans. Memorial Bariatric Services has partnered with Springfield Clinic to offer more affordable body contouring options and financial counseling to our bariatric surgery patients. Fees for this type of surgery are usually paid by the patient prior to surgery and vary widely depending on the procedure being performed, whether multiple procedures are done at the same time and the type of anesthesia used.
Some insurance plans may cover body contouring after weight loss, particularly if there are medical reasons for the procedure (e.g., skin irritation or infection caused by loose skin folds).