Contouring Your Body after Excessive Weight Loss
When you lose an excessive amount of weight in a very short span of time, your skin transforms into shapeless bulks of adipose (fatty) tissue and lax excess skin, which hang down from your neck, tummy, waist and other areas that had been previously rich in fat.
As the fatty tissue in your body melts down rapidly, the skin is not able to keep up with the sudden loss in the cushioning provided by these cells; therefore, it sags down and appears out of shape, giving you an undesirable look which, of course, makes you appear much older than you actually are.
Now that you’ve achieved a miraculous weight loss and you feel younger and healthier, there is something still out of place that is dragging you down. The extra skin hanging down from your body needs to be gotten rid of. The best way to clear the baggage is through a procedure called body contouring which is basically a full body lift. This body contouring comprises of a sequence of steps that include back roll excision, breast lift, arm lift, medial thigh lift, circumferential body lift and liposuction.
Body contouring is the fastest and most effective way to lose excess flab, shape up and tighten your chest, abdomen, buttocks and thighs. Every person does not require the same sequence of procedures; for example, some people may not require an arm lift or some may require just a small removal of skin; therefore, body contouring varies from person to person in intensity, according to their requirements. This can be determined through careful examination of the body by a certified surgeon like Dr. Agullo.
How to Determine if Body Contouring Will Work for You
Body contouring is ideal for people, who were once overweight and now, after having suddenly shed those extra pounds, want to get rid of sagging skin. This might be a perfect solution for mothers who’ve lost their beautiful figure after multiple pregnancies and want to revive that firm body and tighten that loose skin. It is also suitable for people who’ve undergone surgery that left them with masses of swaying skin.
Patients who’ve gone through a gastric bypass, gastric banding, or a gastric sleeve procedure can greatly benefit from body contouring. However, in the case of a bariatric procedure, a period of eighteen months should be waited before you undergo any form of surgery, including body contouring. This eighteen month period consists of twelve months of losing weight and six months of maintaining that weight.
Irrespective of how you lose weight i.e. by dieting, exercising, liposuction or medicines, you should always wait for at least six months before you go through any body-contouring procedure, which will shape your skin such that it fits your new body shape. If you plan on losing more weight, you should not proceed with the body-contouring until you’ve done so because losing weight further will cause your skin to lag again, thus losing on the advantages of having the procedure. Make sure you are satisfied with your present weight and do not wish to lose any more before you go through with this procedure as it requires many technicalities and surgeries. Another thing to make absolutely sure is that you do not gain any weight after having completed the process of body contouring because this might be devastating in the sense that the extra fat gained will pressure your skin, weakening it thus causing stretch marks, looseness, and wear.
Techniques of Full Body Contouring
Contouring entails sculpting the body and reshaping it according to your figure; this may be achieved by cutting away extra skin and tightening it. Sculpting the body is a complicated and detailed process, which may or may not be accomplished in one procedure.
The most traditional method of body contouring is liposuction, which suctions out all the unwanted fat from the body leaving behind the connective tissue. It is fast, easy and the best choice you have because along with bearing low risks, it gives dramatic and sudden results, often exactly as desired. Whenever there is loose skin, liposuction is not such a great tool by itself. In these cases, liposuction is combined with a tightening or lifting procedure. Read more about liposuction here.
Before the procedure begins, the patient should develop a good understanding with the consultant, so that the desired goals can be easily achieved. The body should be taken and treated as a whole instead of working on specific regions individually as this may give the body an unnatural, suboptimal shape. Taking the body as one large unit and sculpting it in a way which looks natural and appealing is the way to go about it. This process can be customized according to what the patient wants.
Many different techniques can be used for this purpose. These include:
Brachioplasty is another name for arm lift. This is a process that helps you get rid of loose skin hanging from arms, which not only looks unappealing but is also irritable. This is achieved by tightening this loose skin from the armpit and lower part of the arm either by stitching or in some other way which often leaves behind a visible mark. Mostly patients do not seem to mind the visible scar because what they get as a result of the arm lift is priceless. Read more about the arm lift or brachioplasty procedure here.
Thigh lifting is used for removing the fatty tissue and hanging skin from the upper, middle and lower part of the thigh. If an excess amount of skin is the problem, it can be fixed by removing it and pulling it upwards. Read more about the thigh lift procedure here.
Lower Body Lift
This kind of lift is used to tighten the abdomen and lift the buttocks and thighs by pulling them and excising the excess tissue until a smooth texture is obtained. Any visible scar is easily hidden by clothing. A lower body lift is often referred to as a circumferential body lift, torsoplasty, or belt lipectomy. A lower body lift is the quintessential procedure after massive weight loss. Read more about the lower body lift procedure here.
Liposuction is best suited to get rid of small deposits of fat that have accumulated in various parts of the body. This is ideal for protruding bulges in the thigh, tummy, arms, and neck. This procedure works by sucking out excess fat from these areas and leaving the body proportionate. Liposuction is essential in any body contouring procedure and is often included without any additional charge to obtain better results and curvier lines. Read more about liposuction here.
Breast contouring can be achieved through:
- Augmentation with implants
- Augmentation with fat
- Breast lift (Mastopexy)
- Breast reduction
Breast enlargement is widely popular in women who desire curvaceous, full and natural breasts. This surgery is performed only after a woman’s breasts have fully developed.
Another kind of breast contouring is a beast lift or mastopexy. When gravity, age and nursing cause a woman’s breast to sag down, breast lifting procedures can be a savior. Breast lifts make the breasts firmer, more elastic and raise the breasts so that they stay firmly in place.
Breast reduction is also a type of contouring. Women with abnormally large breasts face problems when it comes to handling this weight. This overburdening may cause strain on the back, muscle pulling and discomfort. Stretch marks may result due to the enormous pressure on the chest skin.
Learn more about each breast contouring procedure by clicking on the list above.
Abdominoplasty, more commonly referred to as tummy tuck, is a widely used method of cosmetic surgery today. What it does is that it removes excess fatty tissue and skin from the abdomen to give it a flatter and slimmer look. The waistline is remarkably accentuated by plicating the muscles and the hanging belly is removed to give you a perfect figure.
Getting Prepared For Body Contouring Surgery
Because body contouring can be a life-changing event, you need to carefully select the surgeon; do not make a hasty decision, get an expert to give you the best results. Talk to the surgeon and trust him. Dr. Frank Agullo is extensively trained in body contouring surgery and has partnered with many of the bariatric surgeons in the area to complete your transformation. Dr. Agullo is the Clinical Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery at Texas Tech University. He is known for successfully performing innumerable body contouring procedures with excellent results.
Once you are clear on the procedure and have spoken to your surgeon and discussed with him all the details, which have assured you completely, you should move on to the next step.
If you are a smoker, quit smoking. Smoking decreases and slows down your biological healing process by 50%. Try not to shave your body right before surgery as the open pores in your skin might cause infection. Make sure you are well equipped with all the medicines beforehand. Keep a stock of towels and pads, surgery might cause bleeding during and after the procedure. And most importantly: stop eating or drinking at least twelve hours prior to the surgery.
The Surgery (Body Contouring)
The actual surgical process of contouring your body can vary from case to case and individual to individual. However, an average anesthetic phase ranges between four and eight hours. This surgery is mostly begun from the lower part of your body i.e. thighs and buttocks then gradually moves upwards. An expert surgeon like Dr. Frank Agullo uses a combination of different procedures and techniques to achieve the basic purpose of body contouring.
Extra skin and fat is removed and the body is carefully sculpted according to the patient’s requirements and demands. After the surgery, there is a remarkable transformation of the body shape and size. The patient will feel lighter, healthier, more beautiful and fit; however, the success of the surgery depends on a number of vital factors, which include age, body and skin type and recovery rate.
Recovering from the surgery
The rate of recovery is not very fast when it comes to body contouring surgeries. It may take around a month or two to fully get back to your normal lifestyle. You may have to stay in the hospital for a couple of days until you are able to walk.
You might experience pain and aching for some time but this will slowly go away relieving you of the overburdening weight which strained your ankles. You will feel more flexible, mobile and energetic. You will feel free and light.
Risks Associated with Body Contouring Surgery
Any form of surgery, be it major or minor, entails a number of risks. Make sure you are aware of all the risks associated with the procedure at hand before you make any final decision. Discuss this with your doctor. A certified doctor like Dr. Agullo will provide you with detailed insight of the procedure and the risks involved. If you seek a qualified and experienced surgeon you decrease the risks of complications significantly. Several guidelines, such as a team approach to body contouring surgery, intraoperative monitoring, and postoperative prophylaxis will help decrease the risks associated with the surgery.
The Risks Involved Are
- Very gradual wound healing
- Excessive bleeding
- Blood Clots
- Loss of any feeling or sensation on the skin
- Anesthesia and the risks involved
- The skin might also lose its elasticity and start sagging a few weeks after the surgery. In this case, the patient may have to go through another body contouring procedure.
The Cost of Getting Your Body Contoured
It is more economical if you get a full body contouring instead of individually contouring specific parts of your body separately. A full body contour will cost you around $15,000 – $25,000 because of the technicalities involved in the procedure. The price may vary with the requirements of each patient. However, every penny you spend to achieve a beautiful figure that not only makes you look appealing but also boosts up your confidence, self-esteem is worth it.
Dr. Frank Agullo is an experienced surgeon at Southwest Plastic Surgery and has published articles and book chapters on cosmetic surgery. For further consultation on what you need to achieve the body of your dreams contact us.