Dramatic weight loss is a great achievement, at Dean White Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, we offer a range of treatments to complete your body transformation.
Losing any amount of weight is a fantastic achievement. The benefits of leading a healthier lifestyle through diet and regular exercise are well known. For many people gaining and losing weight in small amounts is a natural part of life, and the effects on our body from these fluctuations are not particularly noticeable over the long term. In contrast, certain people make dramatic changes to their weight, undergoing radical lifestyle changes that allow them to lose a substantial amount of weight in a relatively short period of time.
The result of this weight loss is not only a transformed body but, more often than not, a transformed outlook on life. Unfortunately, for those that do succeed in this weight loss journey, their slimmer, healthier body is usually stuck with leftover excess skin. This is because our skin has a natural elasticity to it, allowing it to contract and expand as our weight changes. For example, when women become pregnant, the skin around their abdomen expands to make room and then recedes over the following months after the baby’s birth.
When people have gained significant amounts of weight for long periods of time, their skin loses this elasticity. Without the natural ability to recede, the skin is unable to snap back into place after much of the weight is gone. The more weight that is lost, the more skin that remains. For those who’ve done the hard part and lost significant weight, excess skin can be disheartening, as a constant reminder of their previous overweight body. In most cases, restorative surgery is the only fool-proof method for removing this excess skin.
At Dean White Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery we offer a variety of procedures for people who wish to remove excess skin from the areas such as the face, neck, breasts, arms, abdomen, back and thighs.
Download our guide to find out:
- What are the benefits of having post weight loss surgery?
- What procedures can be performed?
- When am I ready?
- What are the risks?
- What is recovery like?
- Will my surgery be covered by your health fund?
Types of Post Weight Loss Procedures
Abdominoplasty or more commonly known as a ‘tummy tuck’ consists of removing excess skin, fat and muscle laxity around the abdominal area. It is a common misconception that tummy tuck procedures are a weight loss solution in themselves. Instead, the procedure is designed to remove stubborn pockets of fat and excess skin that remains following significant weight loss. It is also common for the abdominal muscles to be tightened to provide a slimmer, more toned appearance. While this is a common procedure, it’s recommended patients only undergo a tummy tuck if they have finished having children, do not plan on losing more weight, and are at a healthy BMI.
Read more about abdominoplasty here.
Body lift surgery involves making an incision that runs around the entire waistline to remove excess skin and fat from the ‘belt line’ of the patient. It is often described as the combination of both abdominoplasty and buttock or thigh lift procedures. This is because depending on the individual patient, more extensive body lifts make adjustments to the buttocks and thigh areas, again with excess skin and any underlying fat deposits removed. The remaining skin is then pulled tighter and sutured to achieve a more contoured body shape. A body lift procedure can also be paired with liposuction to maximise results.
Read more about Body Lifts here.
An arm lift surgery is a skin and fat removal surgery targeting the excess skin and fat that develops between the armpit and elbow area of the arm. As our bodies age, the skin around our upper arm area can become saggy and loose, this is especially true for those who go through significant weight loss. The arm lift procedure is designed to tighten the skin in the area and contour the arms in cases where improving the muscle tone alone can’t fix excess skin.
Read more about Arm Lifts here.
While many patients undergo skin removal surgery following natural weight loss, the increasing popularity of weight loss surgeries among both men and women means that skin removal surgery is often used in conjunction with more extensive surgical procedures. For example, procedures such as gastric bypass surgery, sleeve gastrectomy, and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass have all been shown to be effective weight loss surgeries for the right patients. However, as in the case of natural weight loss, this dramatic weight change will likely leave excess skin that requires removal.
Benefits of Post Weight Loss Surgery
Removing excess skin is not just a cosmetic procedure though, there are a range of issues that loose and excessive skin can cause beyond its appearance. This includes:
- Physical discomfort
- Decreased physical activity and difficulty walking and exercising
- Skin irritation and breakdown or rashes in skin folds
- Negative body image and impacts on mental health
- Poor posture
These issues can decrease a person’s quality of life and cause further problems down the road.
Who is a good candidate for post-weight loss surgery?
Although skin removal surgery post-weight loss may seem like a straightforward procedure, not everyone is an ideal candidate. In general, you are likely to be a candidate for the above procedures if:
- You have reached your optimal weight and remained in a stable weight range for at least 6 months. People planning on becoming pregnant, or patients who have significantly fluctuating weight should reconsider, as these fluctuations can impact the results of the procedures.
- You’re in good overall health, as other medical conditions may affect your ability to recover from major surgery or increase risks during the procedures.
Most importantly, to be a good candidate for post-weight loss surgery you must have realistic expectations as to what the procedure can do for you. While these surgeries can massively improve your physical appearance, they cannot promise to give you the perfect body. Major surgeries are likely to leave you with visible scars and the recovery process can be slow depending on the extent of the procedure you undergo.
It is incredibly important that patients have a full understanding of the potential outcomes from post-weight loss surgery. Patients with highly unrealistic expectations are unlikely to be satisfied with the result of any surgery, regardless of the end result. At Dean White Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, our team will try to achieve the look a patient wants given their individual case and needs, as well as limit scarring as much as possible. During the consultation phase, we will work with you to discuss your goals and expectations.
What is recovery like?
This will depend on the extent of the procedure undertaken and the amount of skin and fat removed, as well as the complexity of the surgery. Immediately after post-weight loss surgeries, bandages are applied to the treated areas, and thin tubes may be inserted to remove any build-up of fluid. It is likely patients will be required to stay in the hospital for a few nights under supervision. Following a period of weeks rest, patients often return to work after about three weeks. Throughout your recovery process, you will also need to wear a compression garment to support the affected areas.
Associate Professor Dean White will provide clear instructions on how best to recover during throughout your consultations, including:
- How to manage your wounds
- Specific medication to take to reduce infection
- Avoiding strenuous exercise
- How to monitor your surgical site to check for infection
If you have any further questions about post-weight loss surgery, or are interested in undergoing one of the above procedures, don’t hesitate to Contact Us to book a consultation.