Many people who have lost 100 pounds or more are overjoyed at their success. After losing a lot of weight, though, you still may have loose, heavy folds of skin left as a reminder of your former self.
Plastic surgery can remove the extra skin and improve the shape and tone of tissue in your arms, thighs, breasts, buttocks, face, and abdomen. Its goal is to restore attractive proportions by removing the sagging skin around the face, neck, upper arms, breasts, abdomen, buttocks and thighs that creates a misshapen contour. Although these procedures leave scars, most patients find them to be an acceptable tradeoff for an improved appearance. There are several types of cosmetic surgery to help you gain a trimmer, firmer shape: tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty; buttock augmentation; breast lifts; and arm lifts.
When to Consider Plastic Surgery after Dramatic Weight Loss
If you have experienced dramatic weight loss from bariatric surgery or diet and exercise.
If you have sagging skin in multiple areas, including the face and neck, breasts, arms, abdomen, back and thighs.
If your weight has stabilized following bariatric surgery or diet and exercise.
People often get a "tummy tuck" as part of body lift surgery. A tummy tuck can help flatten the stomach when diet, exercise, and weight loss have not done enough. A tummy tuck is not the same as liposuction, although you may need liposuction as part of a tummy tuck.
A full tummy tuck involves your surgeon making a large cut around the naval that runs from hipbone to hipbone. The surgeon can then manipulate the skin, tissues, and muscle and repair weakened abdominal muscles. Your surgeon will also slightly move your belly button to suit your new shape. In some cases, the surgeon may need to make a second cut to remove excess skin in the upper abdomen.
You will have scars, but they will fade somewhat over time. The result will be a firmer, flatter abdomen that better matches a trimmer figure.
If your breasts are sagging, a breast lift can help lift, firm, and reshape them. In a breast lift, your surgeon removes excess skin and tissue, and repositions the nipple higher on your chest. Some people also get breast implants to improve their shape.
Are you a good candidate for plastic surgery after dramatic weight loss?
- Your weight has been stable for at least six months with no further weight loss expected.
- You are in overall good health without chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.
- You have a healthy diet; problems such as protein deficiencies can interfere with healing.
- You do not smoke; smoking slows down the healing process and increases the risk of serious complications during and after surgery. If you smoke, you should quit at least six weeks before surgery.
- You have realistic expectations; surgery will lead to marked improvements in your shape, but it is impossible to restore the skin or body to what it would have been without the weight gain or to what it was in your teens or twenties.
- If you're a woman planning to get pregnant, it's best to wait until after you've had children.