You lost the weight but need a little help to get that final look you seek

Body contouring can help you get the appearance you seek after a weight loss.  It contours your body, removes excess fat, and helps you to appear slimmer.  Body contouring surgery is a compliment to bariatric surgery and for some patients is the final step of a weight loss process.

Dr. Walker provides a thoughtful and organized approach to the weight loss patient, and carefully devises customized operations appropriate for the patient at the right time after weight loss.   The procedures are tremendously rewarding and eradicate the last reminders of the weight that patients have worked so long to be rid of.

For people who are just beginning their weight loss journey, it is important you realize that body contouring is not an alternative to losing weight but instead a final step in the process designed to get rid of stubborn fat.  There are great benefits to body contouring as well as risks and it should not be taken lightly.

This outline will give you a basic understanding of body contouring, when it can help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect.  It can't answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and the surgeon. Dr. Walker is more than happy to clarify any misunderstandings, please contact her office with any questions or concerns you may have.

What happens during a body contouring procedure?

As body contouring is often a combination of procedures, the procedures necessary to achieve your goals will be defined along with a plan for the timing of these procedures.  Plastic surgery procedures that may be recommended by your physician include:

  • Lower body lift: to correct sagging of the abdomen, buttocks, groin and outer thighs
  • Breast lift: to correct sagging, flattened breasts
  • Arm lift: to correct sagging of the upper arms
  • Thigh lift: to correct sagging of the inner, outer and mid-thigh

Step 1 - Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures.  The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia.  Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 - The incision
All body contouring procedures require incisions to remove excess skin.  In many cases, these incisions may be extensive.  Incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as personal preference and your doctor’s surgical judgment. Advanced techniques usually allow incisions to be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing, but this is not always the case.

Body contouring is often performed in stages.  Your particular condition and goals, as well as your plastic surgeon’s best judgment, will all influence how your doctor defines a surgical plan.  While it may have taken you two years or more to lose all the excess weight, it may take equally as long for the results of your body contouring to be complete.

Body Lift - A complete lower body lift treats sagging buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips and outer thighs in one procedure or in staged procedures.  Incision patterns vary, and may include a circumferential incision around the body to remove the "belt" of excess skin and fat.

Breast Lift - The incision patterns for lifting a woman’s sagging breasts will be determined based on the amount of excess skin to be removed.

Arm Lift - Sagging skin in the upper arms is treated with an incision from the underarm area extending along the inside or back of the upper arm.  Additional incisions on the arms may be necessary anywhere excess skin has formed sagging pockets.  The smoother, tighter contours that result from upper arm contouring are apparent almost immediately, although initially obscured by swelling and bruising.  In addition, skin quality is dramatically improved in both appearance and texture.

Thigh Lift - Reshaping of the thighs is achieved through incisions in the groin that can extend downward to the knee along the inner portion of the thigh.  Improving contours of the outer thigh may require an incision extending from the groin around the hip.  Through these incisions your plastic surgeon will tighten tissues for a smoother, better toned thigh.

Step 3 – See the results
Your body contouring procedures will result in a more normal appearance to the body, with smoother contours. This is, in essence, the final phase of your total weight loss experience.

The best candidates for body contouring

Body contouring is not a procedure to aid in weight loss and as such the best candidates are relatively fit.  In addition, the best candidates for body contouring should have a stable weight and a favorable Body Mass Index.

Generally, if you have a healthy diet and lifestyle that compliments the procedure and you do not suffer from diabetes, poor circulation, heart or lung disease and have fat deposits you can't make progress against than you are a good fit.  It is also helpful if you have some elasticity left in your skin (an issue older patients face).