As a plastic surgeon, I enjoy working with all of my patients, but individuals who are seeking plastic surgery following massive weight loss are some of my most rewarding cases. No matter the scenario, these patients have worked extremely hard to lose weight and take control of their health. Some have had weight-loss surgeries like a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, some have kept themselves on strict diet and exercise regimens, but all of them have no doubt been a long journey to get to where they are when they come into my office.
When weight loss patients come in for their consultations, they are often frustrated because, despite their significant weight loss, they still are not seeing the visual results they had hoped for. This is typically because when people lose large amounts of weight, they tend to maintain a sometimes significant amount of loose skin. Patients commonly tell me that aside from not being pleased with the physical appearance of their loose skin, the skin excess also makes it challenging to find clothes that fit well. Their old sizes no longer fit, but now the skin is making it hard to find a new size that works.
These patients may be good candidates for post-massive weight loss surgery. The term post-massive weight loss surgery is really just used to describe a variety of potential surgery procedures that could be part of one or multiple surgeries to achieve the desired outcome. Some of which might include:
- Mastopexy or a breast lift, where excess skin is removed while tightening the surrounding tissue and repositioning the nipples to be higher on the chest wall. This type of breast surgery is common in both men and women who have lost a significant amount of weight.
- A thigh lift is a procedure that involves skin excision and fat removal around the inner thigh and/or outer thighs, along with fat removal to achieve a leaner look.
- A lower body lift, which involves skin removal (excision) around the outer thighs and buttocks, and is usually accompanied by some liposuction for body contouring.
- Brachioplasty or arm lift is a surgical procedure that reshapes the back of your upper arm/tricep area (commonly referred to as “bat wings”).
- Tummy tuck or abdominoplasty involves skin removal and muscle tightening around the abdominal area.
Most of my patients say they “feel great, but don’t look great”. I think that it is safe to say this is a common frustration for people who have lost more than 100 lbs. or greater than 50% of their body weight. This is important to note because patients who lost that much weight will not see good results from a basic tummy tuck surgery. This is why it is extremely important to choose your surgeon wisely. Many, if not all board-certified plastic surgeons, can perform a good tummy tuck. Only a percentage of board-certified plastic surgeons offer the surgeries needed for MWL patients, however. These are surgeries such as lower body lifts, Fleur de Lis abdominoplasty, medial thigh lifts, arm lifts. Traditional tummy tucks do not work for MWL patients!
Are all of these surgical procedures necessary?
No. Not at all. The type of surgery or surgeries I would recommend will ultimately depend on the results a patient wants to achieve. Overcoming obesity is a huge achievement and one you should feel proud of. When patients come to me after achieving significant weight loss, their goals are as unique as the individual. Sometimes they would like to show more definition in their upper arms after all of the workouts they have been doing, or sometimes a man is self-conscious about his breast size and how he looks in his shirts. Different surgeries and body contouring procedures can help patients celebrate their success.
Who is a good candidate?
A patient is a good candidate if they are in good general health and have been able to maintain a stable weight following their initial weight loss, lap-band procedure, or post-bariatric surgery. You should be within 10% of your general weight goal. The weight you lose when we remove the excess skin will just be a bonus!
Whenever you are considering any kind of surgery, your health should be of the #1 importance. Make sure that you are consulting with a qualified plastic surgeon who is skilled with the procedures you want to be performed. A good surgeon will speak honestly with you and let you know whether or not you are a good candidate for the surgeries you are requesting. They should never try to “sell you” on services.
If you are wondering whether you might be a good candidate for post-massive weight loss surgery, I would love the opportunity to meet you. I see patients for consultations in both my Dallas and Plano office locations.
Contact my office to schedule your consultation today.