People undergo bariatric surgery not only to feel better, but to look better. Unfortunately, skin that has stretched significantly over the years may cause people to appear as though they are still overweight. Many residents in and around Akron, Cleveland and Canton find that body contouring surgery is the final step in their journey to good health, which is why they trust Dr. Steven Carp of Carp Cosmetic Surgery in Green and Beachwood, OH, to perform their procedures.
There are many physical and mental health benefits to achieving dramatic weight loss through diet and exercise, bariatric surgery, or other medical procedures. You may find that you have reached all your weight loss goals, but your body image is not what you had envisioned. Often, dramatic weight loss leaves behind excess sagging skin, giving off unflattering body contours.
Body contouring may be exactly what you need if you have been left with extra loose skin due to major weight loss. This surgery will give you more than just a healthy and attractive body shape. You will gain self-confidence because your body image will be improved. Body contouring rewards your hard work towards becoming a healthier you.
What Is Body Contouring Following Major Weight Loss?
Your health can suffer when you are overweight. That condition limits your ability to be physically active, which leads to weak muscles and poor skin tone. It may also cause your skin to be extremely stretched because of the additional stress placed on it.
Individuals who have been clinically defined as obese may choose bariatric surgery to accomplish their weight loss goals. These individuals, or anyone who has undergone major weight loss, may experience skin that does not adjust to their new smaller size. The skin and tissues have lost elasticity due to constantly being stretched. After losing weight, the skin no longer has support, creating pockets of sagging skin known to develop along the following areas:
- Face, neck, and jowls, creating a sad and droopy face
- Upper arms, resulting in sagging skin commonly known as “batwings”
- Breasts, which may become flat and sagging with nipples pointed downward
- Abdominal area, including the sides and the lower back area
- Buttocks, groin, and thighs
These pockets of sagging skin can become macerated (wet or infected). This can be very unappealing, but it can also be a threat to your health if left untreated.
Surgical body contouring gets rid of excess fat or skin left on your body after dramatic weight loss. It will improve the shape and tone of the underlying tissue. Body contouring is the final step to becoming the new healthier and more attractive you and will help you complete your weight loss journey.
At the same time, it is important that your weight loss has stabilized before deciding to undergo body contouring surgery. If your weight is not stable, you may suffer adverse effects after surgery. Sagging pockets will redevelop if weight loss is continued. Rapid weight gain will stress the already weakened and thin skin, leaving behind stretch marks and scarring.
If your weight loss was a direct result of weight reduction surgery, then Dr. Carp will work alongside your physician to determine when to consider body contouring.
Good candidates for body contouring have the following characteristics:
- Adults of any age at a stabilized weight
- Healthy adults with no medical conditions that may increase risks during surgery or healing
- Individuals with an optimistic outlook and realistic goals
- Any person committed to continuing a healthy lifestyle
Where Do I Begin?
The first step is a consultation with Dr. Carp, who will explain the physical and mental health benefits of body contouring surgery. The consultation is solely for the potential patient to become educated about the surgery without any added pressure.
The consultation will include a discussion of the following:
- Your goals, including Dr. Carp’s evaluation of your individual case
- The various options available in body contouring
- The expected outcomes and any risks involved
- The course of treatment recommended by Dr. Carp
Post-Bariatric Surgery Evaluation
The results of your surgery are significantly influenced by your overall physical and mental health. Your health and personal outlook will be evaluated by Dr. Carp during your consultation. Your safety, overall satisfaction, and success of your procedure are reliant on your full disclosure and honesty. You must share your medical history and carefully follow Dr. Carp’s instructions to achieve maximum results.
Preparing for Surgery
Once you have decided to undergo body contouring surgery, Dr. Carp will carefully explain your individual plan. Before surgery, you may be given specific instructions. These instructions may include information about diagnostic testing, medications, day of surgery instructions, anesthesia, and post-operative care.
What Happens During Body Contouring Surgery?
The procedures you will undergo during the surgery will be defined along with their timing. Dr. Carp may recommend the following:
- Lower body lift to correct sagging of the abdomen, buttocks, groin, and outer thighs
- Breast lift to correct sagging and flat breasts
- Arm lift to firm sagging skin in the upper arms
- Thigh lift to tighten skin around the thigh area
Step One: Anesthesia
During surgical procedures, medications will be administered for your comfort. The medications provided may include local or general anesthesia. The best choice for you will be recommended by Dr. Carp.
Step Two: The Incision
Incisions are required in all body contouring procedures to remove excess skin. The incisions may be extensive. The location and amount of excess skin determine the incision length and pattern. Incisions will also depend on personal preference and Dr. Carp’s surgical judgment.
Some incisions may be placed in strategic locations that can be hidden by certain articles of clothing; however, this is not always the case.
Even if some improvement is noticed immediately, the completed results of your body contouring may not be visible for some time.
A lower body lift corrects sagging of the buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips, and outer thighs. A lower body lift can involve a single or multiple procedures. The procedure or procedures have varying incision patterns, which could include a circumferential incision around the lower body, known as the “belt,” to remove excess fat and skin.
The amount of excess skin determines the incision patterns required to lift sagging and flattened breasts. The incisions may be a combination of a circular pattern around the areola, a straight line from the areola to the breast crease, and/or horizontally along the breast crease.
Breast augmentation may also be recommended by Dr. Carp to improve shape and size.
The sagging skin on the upper arms is corrected through an incision from the underarm along the inside or back of the upper arm. Dr. Carp may determine that sagging pockets of skin require additional incisions.
Upper arm contouring displays almost immediate results by creating smoother and tighter upper arms, although there might be swelling or bruising initially. The quality of skin also improves in both appearance and texture.
Incisions are made in the groin extending downward to the knee along the inner portion of the thigh. Reshaping the contours of the outer thigh may require an incision from the groin around the hip. These incisions will allow Dr. Carp to create a smoother, more toned thigh.
Following Body Lift Surgery
Upon completion of your procedures, your incisions may be dressed and bandaged. Elastic bandages may be wrapped around treated areas to help minimize swelling and support your new contours as you heal. In addition, small thin tubes may have temporarily been placed under the skin to drain any excess fluid that may collect. You and your caregiver will be given specific instructions before you are discharged. Instructions may include the following:
- How to care for surgical site and drains
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection
- Specific side effects to watch for
- A follow-up appointment timeline
How Much Does a Body Lift Cost?
Body lifts are considered to be elective, so most insurance providers won’t cover the costs. To help make body lifts affordable and accessible for everyone, Carp Cosmetic Surgery Center offers financing options. We also accept cash, personal checks, and major credit cards. Contact us today if you have any questions about the cost of a body lift.
Progress and Healing
Initially, there will be swelling at the incision sites. It is common to feel discomfort, which can be controlled with medication. Instructions will include the recommendation to begin light walking as soon as possible to minimize the risk of blood clots or other complications.
You may have to avoid bending, lifting, or straining anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Dr. Carp may ask that you avoid standing upright and stressing any internal sutures after body contouring that affects the abdomen or thighs. You may also have to elevate your knees with pillows as you sleep. The success of your surgery is based on how well you follow the instructions given to you by Dr. Carp.
Initial wounds may take 7 to 14 days to heal. Sutures may then be removed if necessary. It will be a few weeks before you can return to work and normal activities. You should not perform any heavy lifting or vigorous physical activity during your recovery period.
The healing process will continue for many weeks, resulting in the reduction of swelling and improved incision lines. Numbness and firmness over the surface of the skin will continue to improve. Complete recovery from one set of procedures is needed before undergoing procedures in other areas of your body.
Body Lift Results and Outlook
After dramatic weight loss, the results of body contouring surgery are apparent almost immediately. The excess skin has been removed, creating a much smoother and toned body image. However, it may take several months or more to appreciate the final results. Body contouring will result in visible scars, which is something you must understand. The initial results can be expected to remain the same, so long as weight and fitness levels are maintained. It is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially after undergoing body contouring surgery. Naturally, some firmness may be lost as the body ages, but all results will be long-lasting.
If you’ve undergone bariatric surgery in the past, you’ve come too far not to enjoy the results. Contact Dr. Steven Carp at his Green or Beachwood, OH clinics to find out how body contouring procedures can put the final touch on your new look. Patients in the Canton, Cleveland and Akron, OH, areas are all invited to call now.