Significant weight loss achieved through dieting or weight loss surgery can often leave behind folds of loose, excess skin.
There are various cosmetic surgery procedures available to help reshape and improve the appearance of the body following considerable weight loss though they tend to be more complex than standard cosmetic surgery procedures and require specialist surgeons.
Mr Chris Fenn, consultant plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgeon in Leeds, West Yorkshire, has a wealth of experience in performing cosmetic surgery on those who want to improve their body contour following weight loss.
What are the benefits of cosmetic surgery post weight loss?
Following major weight loss, many people find that the skin and underlying tissues which have stretched during weight gain, cannot shrink back to accommodate the smaller body size. This often results in:
- Folds of loose excess skin under the upper arms – frequently referred to as ‘bat/bingo wings’
- An ‘apron’ of surplus, overhanging skin across the abdomen, sides and lower back
- Flattened, drooping breasts
- Sagging, loose skin on the upper legs
Most people choose to lose weight to improve both their health and physical appearance. They often feel a sense of disappointment after achieving their weight loss target only to find they are left with excess, loose skin. Despite their weight loss they still feel they have to hide their body behind loose clothing. In addition to the aesthetic problems, the surplus skin can also rub and chafe and subsequently become very sore.
By surgically removing the skin and fatty excess from the problem area, the body contour improves, creating a smoother, more visually attractive figure. This generally leads to an increase in body confidence and self-esteem.
I’ve lost a lot of weight, is cosmetic surgery right for me?
If you have lost a large amount of weight which has left you with surplus skin and fatty tissue, cosmetic surgery may be able to help you improve your body shape. However, it is important that you have reached and stabilised your target weight. Body contouring is not a treatment for weight loss so it is important that you achieve your desired weight before you consider surgery. Likewise, you need to have realistic expectations about what the surgery can achieve.
To confirm your suitability, you would need an initial out-patient appointment with Mr Chris Fenn. After a physical examination and discussion about your medical history, Mr Fenn will be able to advise on whether you would benefit from cosmetic surgery.
To help you make an informed decision about the surgery, Mr Fenn will discuss the risks associated with the various body contouring procedures and will encourage you to ask questions. He will recommend that you take your time to think about the surgery before you decide to proceed.
What does cosmetic surgery following weight loss involve?
There are a number of cosmetic surgery procedures which can be used for body contouring. Depending on the amount, and location of the excess skin, you may benefit from more than one cosmetic surgery procedure. During your out-patient consultation, Mr Fenn will suggest a tailored, individual treatment plan which may involve one or more of the procedures below. Mr Fenn will also advise you on whether the surgery can be performed in one hospital admission or in separate stages.
Brachioplasty/arm lift surgery aims to create slimmer, firmer and shapelier upper arms by removing loose excess skin and underlying tissue.
A breast uplift is a surgical operation performed to remove excess skin from the breasts and to lift and tighten the breast tissue, creating a more youthful and shapely profile.
Sometimes a breast augmentation/enlargement is required to fill out the breasts and regain lost volume. This surgery involves inserting implants under the natural breast tissue, giving the appearance of larger, fuller breasts. Occasionally this procedure needs to be combined with a breast uplift in order to optimise the shape and form of the breasts.
A breast reduction/reduction mammoplasty is a surgical operation performed to reduce the size and volume of the breasts. Excess tissue is removed and the remaining breast tissue is reshaped to create smaller and lighter breasts.
An abdominoplasty operation aims to create a firmer, flatter stomach by surgically removing surplus fat and skin from the abdomen and tightening the tummy muscles. Sometimes the pattern and design of the abdominoplasty needs to be adapted to maximise the effect and safety of the procedure.
Sometimes a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) does not remove the lax skin over the upper abdomen and rib area. Sometimes a reverse abdominoplasty is needed to lift the skin using scars along the underside of the breast; this can be extended around the back.
Sometimes surplus skin and fat is removed from around the whole circumference of the lower body. In effect is it list an abdominoplasty which is extended right around the body.
Facelift surgery aims to reduce the visible signs of ageing by removing and tightening the skin and soft tissue to create a smoother appearance.
Neck lift surgery aims to restore and refine the neck and jaw contour by removing excess skin and fatty tissue and tightening the underlying muscles. This is usually combined with a facelift.
Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure that aims to redefine the body contour by permanently removing stubborn excess fat from specific parts of the body.
Thighplasty surgery involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the upper legs, creating smoother, tighter and more aesthetically pleasing thighs.
How long does it take to recover?
Cosmetic surgery following weight loss can involve more complex surgery and higher risks than similar standard cosmetic procedures. This can affect the recovery and healing time.
Also recovery time will depend very much on the number of procedures you have undergone at any one time. Prior to the surgery, Mr Fenn will advise you on what to expect in terms of recovery and a return to normal activities.
With all cosmetic surgery procedures, you will be advised to stay mobile but to avoid any rigorous activity for several weeks after the surgery.
You will have regular follow ups with both Mr Fenn and the cosmetic surgery nursing team to ensure your wounds are healing and you are recovering as you should be.
How much does cosmetic surgery post weight loss cost?
If you would like to know the price of body contouring surgery, contact Mr Fenn’s secretary , Claire Herbert on 0113 218 5971, email Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org or complete an online enquiry form.
How can I find out more about cosmetic surgery after weight loss?
For further information or to book a consultation with Mr Chris Fenn, call his secretary Claire Herbert on 0113 218 5971, email Claire.email@example.com or complete an online enquiry form.