Weight Loss Surgery
Having lost a large amount of weight as a result of weight loss surgery or through diet and exercise is a terrific achievement which will enhance your health, your confidence and your appearance.
After achieving a great weight loss many people find they are left with large amounts of heavy, loose folds of skin around the abdomen, arms, thighs, breasts, buttocks, face and neck. The skin may well have lost its elasticity and has sagged due to having been stretched for a long period of time. After significant weight loss, the skin often fails to shrink back to its former size and shape.
What are the benefits?
You must be realistic in your expectations. Your surgery will lead to marked improvements in your shape, but it is impossible to restore the skin or body to what it would have been without the weight gain. Your body will also need time to recover from your surgery and therefore the end result may not be immediately apparent. However, weight loss surgery can have significant benefits for your health and your posture. Everyday activities such as getting dressed and moving around become easier and the improvement in your body shape will boost your confidence and your quality of life will be significantly enhanced.
Weight loss surgery procedures involve making incisions in the least obvious part of the areas to be treated, removing excess skin, and suturing the area with fine stitches to minimize scarring. With these types of procedures, scarring is unavoidable. Liposuction may also be used in conjunction with some procedures. Weight loss surgery is better done in stages to minimize complications such as infection and blood loss, and in some cases is often done over a period of years. Your consultant surgeon will advise you of the best strategy to address all of your needs.
The areas of the body most often treated through body contouring after great weight loss are:
Abdominoplasty: Also known as a “tummy tuck,” involves removing excess skin and tightening of the underlying abdominal muscles. An incision is made just above the pubic area from hip to hip, occasionally extending to the back.
Buttocks/upper thighs: This is a procedure to remove skin and lift the thighs and buttocks. This is usually performed as a continuation of an abdominal procedure. The incision is made around your middle and the upper hips and excess skin is removed below the incision.
Thighs: A medial thigh-lift is performed to remove excess skin from the upper leg and this involves an incision along the inner thigh starting at the groin and extending as far as the knee.
Breasts: A number of breast procedures are available, including breast uplift with or without augmentation (enlargement with implants) and breast reduction. To remove excess skin, incisions can be made vertically down the centre of the breast from the areola.
Arms: Surgery is performed to remove excess skin from the arm (brachioplasty), an incision can be made either in the armpit or starting at the armpit and extending to the elbow.
Face and neck: Removing excess skin around the face or neck after weight loss is the same as a traditional facelift.
How long does the operation take?
Depending on the surgical procedure/s undertaken, the procedure/s will be performed under a general anaesthetic and take between approximately 3 – 5 hours.
How long do I stay in hospital?
All surgeries are performed in the hospital and most patients stay in the hospital for between one to four nights.
What can I expect afterwards?
After surgery, tubes are usually placed in the wound to drain excess fluid, and medications are given to control pain and discomfort. You will experience soreness, swelling and bruising for two to three weeks after surgery which is perfectly normal.
Most people can return to work after two to four weeks, however if you have a physically demanding job you will need to wait at least four weeks.
What are the long term results?
The aim of Weight-loss Surgery is to restore your body proportions and achieve a natural aesthetic appearance. The result should boost your self-confidence allowing you to live a more active life and enable you to wear the clothes you wish to wear. In order for you to optimise the results of your surgery it is important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle, eating a well-balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise.
What are the risks?
With any surgical procedure there are always associated risks. However, if your surgery is undertaken by a qualified plastic surgeon the risks are reduced, nonetheless specific complications may occur. Such as the risk of infection which is reduced by taking preventative measures such as administering antibiotics both at the time of and following your surgery. However despite these measures mild infection is relatively common and can occur around the incision site, but usually subsides over a period of about 2 weeks.
Because of the significant amount of skin to be removed during weight loss surgery, there are greater associated risks than with standard cosmetic surgery.
It is important for you to examine the reasons for undergoing a cosmetic surgery procedure as it is unlikely to resolve any life issues you may have. Having surgery for someone else is not the basis from which to make a decision. Cosmetic surgery will certainly boost your self esteem but you do need to be realistic about your expectations. Cosmetic surgery will lead to marked improvements but you also need to be aware that the end result of your surgery can and does take time and you need to allow your body time to recover.
Our aim is to fully understand your concerns and desires before agreeing on a treatment plan which is in your best interest. At consultation your consultant surgeon will explain your treatment fully including any potential risks and complications. Your consultation surgeon will advise you of the best strategy to address all of your needs and will also explain all aspects of your post-operative care.
If you would like to speak to one of our consultant surgeons, Mr Alan Park or Mr Sudip Ghosh, please do not hesitate to telephone or fill out our online form.