Body Lift After Bariatric Weight Loss
There is no escaping the fact that bariatric surgery is on the rise and helping a lot of people. However, the subsequent extreme weight loss can leave patients still devastated with their bodies.. Similarly patients who have lost extraordinary amounts of weight through diet and exercise often find that regardless of how much effort they put in, they are unable to achieve their dream body. These disappointments are often down to one key factor – excess skin.
While the skin can stretch to accommodate an obese body, it cannot always shrink back down when the weight is lost. This is a particularly big concern for people approaching middle age or older, as their skin is already beginning to lose its natural elasticity and moisturizing and massage can only help so much.
Not all weight loss patients need help in the same areas either. Someone who loses 100lbs from their entire body may see far less excess skin than someone who loses 50lbs just from around their midsection. For this reason, post bariatric body lift requirements can vary from individual to individual, and Dr. Metzinger will be able to advise you which areas are best to target.
Types of Body Lifts
There are different types of body lifts, which each target a different area of the body. Your surgeon may advise you to choose one or even several procedures; depending on your goal. For example, a lower body lift focuses on tummy, outer thighs and the area around the midsection, or alternatively an upper body lift usually concentrates on the breasts, back and upper arms.
Before Your Body Lift Surgery
There are a number of things that you can do to prepare for your post bariatric body lift.
Stop smoking. Smoking is not good for your general health and can slow down healing after your procedure.
Avoid any medication containing aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for at least two weeks before your surgery as they increase the risk of bleeding.
Most post-surgery patients are advised to wait at least a year following their operation. This ensures that the majority of weight will be lost.
- If you are still overweight then you should try and lose weight before your surgery. This will allow your surgeon to remove more loose skin and achieve a better result. Losing weight after a body lift can make the skin sag again, making the initial procedure worthless. Ensure that your weight is stabilized for at least 3 months before your operation.
Body lift surgery requires a general anaesthetic and you will be required to have a pre-op medical approximately two weeks before your procedure.
Your Body Lift Surgery
Your body lift will almost always be performed under a general anaesthetic. You can also expect to see preoperative skin marking which will help guide your surgeon.
Depending on the combination of procedures that you choose, you can expect your surgery to last between 3 and 8 hours. Once you have been anaesthetized you will be fitted with a urinary catheter which will drain your bladder during and immediately after your operation.
Your surgeon will then make the necessary incisions for the body lift procedures that you have chosen. Excess skin and fat may be cut away, and multiple drains may be placed into the wounds so that fluid and blood may be safely removed. After your surgery the incisions will be stitched and covered in sterile dressings. You will then be placed into a compression garment that covers the areas being treated. The compression garment is vitally important as it helps to decrease swelling and support healing, and it is usually worn for at least 3 weeks post-surgery.
Recovery From Body Lift Surgery
When you come round from the anaesthetic it is usual to be in some pain. Your doctor will be able to prescribe you some medication to ease your discomfort. You will normally be required to stay overnight post-surgery, but if you do decide to go home you should ensure that you have someone to stay with you overnight.
You will probably be prescribed a number of different drugs to take during the healing process, including antibiotics and pain relief. It is worth asking someone you live with to also be present when these medications are explained to you, in case you need assistance with taking them once you are at home. Your drainage tubes will probably be removed 5 to 14 days after surgery and any sutures removed by this point too.
Recovery can be a lengthy process. You should abstain from any strenuous activities including lifting, aerobic exercise, swimming, contact sport, golf or tennis for at least 3 to 4 weeks. You should also make sure that you wear your compression garment for the recommended time.
Scarring is a normal result of body lift surgery, but whilst they may appear red to start, after a while and with proper care they will turn pink and fade. Your medical team will be able to advise you on proper scar care.
Your surgeon will also make scheduled appointments with you to check how you are healing and to ensure your procedure has been a success. If you have any questions or concerns during your recovery, contact your surgeon’s office who will be happy to assist you.