Weight loss through the help of bariatric surgery can be very effective for the person who struggles with obesity. Surgical weight loss is only one component in successful and long term health maintenance. Lifestyle changes, balanced diet, regular exercise, and support groups all play a role in long term weight stability.
Plastic surgery after weight loss is becoming more popular and is used to treat the after effects of weight loss: Excess Skin. This stretched, hanging excess skin can be bothersome and can contribute to difficult skin rashes and postural difficulties. Removal of the excess skin can be part of the continuum in the recovery of the obese patient, but it should not be the main focus of the process.
- Recovery does come from within and literally the ideal patient for post-bariatric body contouring surgery is one who is literally and figuratively comfortable in their own skin!
Post-bariatric body contouring should be utilized to improve medical problems like skin rashes, improve the comfort in clothing, improve the ability to exercise and improve self confidence.
- The analogy may be getting air conditioning for your house when you have never had it. You know you can live without it, but it does make it more comfortable in the hot summer months.
Stability should be the mantra when approaching plastic surgery after weight loss.
- Stable weight: body weight should be stable for a 3 to 6 month period after weight loss. Weight can fluctuate 5 to 10 lbs during this period, but should not go up or down by 30 lbs.
- Stable nutrition: nutrition is very important in and around post-bariatric body contouring surgery. Bariatric surgery either restricts the amount of food you can eat or makes your body not able to absorb it, or both. This decreases your reserve of protein which is vital for the healing process after plastic surgery, so it is important to increase protein intake at a minimum of 3 weeks, ideally 6 weeks in advance. This protein increase should be in the range of 30 to 60 grams of either whey or soy protein per day, and should be extended through the healing process. Low volume protein supplements are important for the restrictive bariatric patient. Lactose intolerant patients may absorb soy based products better than whey. There are a multitude os protein supplements for every patient, find some that you can use through the process.
- Stable life: diet and exercise are an integral part of the weight loss process. These should be daily activities which are comfortable throughout the pre and post plastic surgery period to maintain weight, health and body tone.
- Stable recovery: support groups are very important in the recovery process. Stable recovery should be continued throughout the plastic surgery process as this can be a stressful time. The ability to lean on a support group, as well as be able to garner their experience through the process is important.
- Stable Plastic Surgery plan: Plastic surgery after weight loss can be performed from head to toe, though just because you can should not be a reason to undergo a prolonged “extreme makeover”. Prioritize areas of concern, and areas that are the most bothersome, and then combine it with other local areas which will promote early activity. Procedures should be limited to 6 to 8 hours maximum, and secondary procedures should not be planned or performed until areas are healed (3 to 6 months minimum). Common combinations of procedures include a Two Stage approach, front and back (arms, breast, and abdomen, and then buttock, outer thighs, and inner thighs), or a lower body lift with an inner thigh lift, followed by an upper body lift with breast enhancement or male chest contouring and a brachioplasty. Facial procedures such as a neck lift and brow lift could be added to the stages if desired.
The first step in this phase of recovery from obesity is a consultation to discuss your goals and know your options. Dr. Trussler in Austin, TX will take the time to listen and develop an individual plan for post-baraitric body contouring.