In a recent interview, our Specialist Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Steve Merten, shares valuable information regarding the aftermath of a dramatic weight loss. He details common procedures requested by his post-weight loss plastic surgery patients, as well as what makes someone an ideal candidate. Whether the weight was lost through bariatric surgery, or through natural means of diet and exercise, Dr. Merten is proud to offer his patients renewed confidence in the body they worked so hard to achieve.
For more information about body contouring after weight loss, please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation at Pure Aesthetics today.
Q: What procedures do patients typically request as a result of dramatic weight loss or bariatric surgery?
Dr. Merten: When I see patients after they have undergone a dramatic weight loss or bariatric surgery, there are a number of common procedures that they may request. “Tummy tuck” (abdominoplasty) or the more extensive “body lift” are the most frequent plastic surgery procedures requested by patients who have had a dramatic weight loss, especially after bariatric surgery. Breast augmentation combined with a breast lift (“augmentation mastopexy”) is also very common with women who have lost large amounts of weight. A loss of fat and loose skin in the breasts can leave a patient with severe drooping and sagging, and this can also cause a loss of self-esteem.
Excess skin removal is often necessary in order to eliminate skin that has been stretched out and that hangs or sags after the weight has been lost. Body sculpting is a popular request, because the patient wants to appear firm and toned in different areas. Liposuction is requested by some of my patients in order to eliminate stubborn pockets of fat that cannot be eliminated with even the most rigorous exercise program. Arm and thigh reductions may also be requested, because the tissue may hang and droop and be hard to fit in clothing, unattractive or embarrassing. A facelift may also be desired if the weight loss has caused the facial skin to appear aged or to sag considerably.
Q: Are there any ways people who have undergone weight loss can effectively tighten skin on their own?
Dr. Merten: When I see patients who have undergone a drastic weight loss who are concerned about loose skin, they have often tried exercise and diet in order to tighten up the skin, and sometimes these measures do not work. A healthy diet is important for healthy skin, and exercise that targets the problem area can help tighten the underlying muscle. If the skin has been stretched out excessively then it may not shrink back, even over a long time period. In these situations I may be able to help the patient get the desired results by removing the excess skin and then reattaching this tissue, which may help get rid of any folds or wrinkles that hang down. I recommend a nutritious diet and good physical fitness to all of my patients. These measures may help shrink loose skin in some cases, but it is not always enough in every case.
Q: In terms of an individual’s health, what makes a good candidate for plastic surgery following weight loss surgery?
Dr. Merten: In order for me to consider a patient to be a good candidate, there are a number of factors that I will examine. The patient must be in good health, without any medical problems that would make the surgical procedure more risky than usual. The patient also needs to have reached stability with their weight, maintaining their weight for a period of at least six months to a year.
I require my patients to be on a healthy diet with good nutrition, and, if they are a smoker, I also require they stop smoking a minimum of six weeks before the procedures to improve their healing ability. It is also very important that the patient has realistic expectations, that they are in good mental health without any body image disorders, and that my patients have the mental stamina to endure the procedures to be performed.
Q: Is there anything else about cosmetic surgery post-weight loss that you would like to include?
Dr. Merten: Post-weight loss plastic surgery can help many people improve their appearance and their self esteem. A lot of my patients are surprised that they do not like their appearance after the weight loss. It is important to note that each case is different and unique, and one patient may respond to a certain procedure completely differently than another. Always consult with an experienced plastic surgeon who is properly accredited and highly qualified in order to obtain the best possible results. Patients today may be surprised at just how far plastic surgery has come, and the treatment options that are available.
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Stay tuned for our next blog post, where our plastic surgeon details the process of treating multiple aesthetic concerns following major weight loss. If you have any questions regarding post-weight loss surgery, or wish to schedule your consultation, please contact Pure Aesthetics today.