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Bariatric Surgery and Body Contouring

Bariatric surgery (also known as gastric bypass surgery) is a weight loss procedure performed on a patient's stomach and/or intestines to reduce the space available for food and thus limit the patient's food intake. This serious weight loss surgery is used only for obese people - those who have a body mass index (BMI) close to or above 40, and for people with a BMI of 35 and above with an obesity-related condition such as Type 2 diabetes or heart disease.

Although bariatric surgery does present some risks (as does any surgical procedure), it is often a very effective alternative for obese individuals who are otherwise unable to lose harmful excess body weight.

Body Contouring after Bariatric Surgery

Patients who have had bariatric surgery are able to lose large amounts of body fat, often up to or surpassing 50% of their pre-surgery weight. When this weight has been lost, usually over a period of 12 to 18 months, the patients are sometimes left with significant amounts of excess skin that did not "shrink" to fit their new, more slender contour. This is the point at which body contouring can help.

Drooping, stretched-out excess skin can interfere with a post-bariatric surgery patient's daily activities and hygiene. By itself, the skin can weigh tens of pounds. Without the intervention of body contouring surgery, the skin will never come to properly fit the patient's new, lower-weight body.

Excess Skin Can Be Removed

The areas of concern for many patients who have undergone bariatric surgery and are left with a significant amount of excess skin are generally:

  • Excess abdominal skin
  • Breast droopiness
  • Hanging skin under the upper arms
  • Sagging facial skin
  • Excessive sagginess of the thighs

In a body contouring procedure, which will actually be a series of procedures such as liposuction, abdominoplasty, and brachioplasty, the excess skin is removed from a
patient's body and perhaps neck and face as well. Many bariatric surgery centers and providers now offer the post-surgery service of body contouring, with board-certified
cosmetic surgeons specializing in this type of surgery.

Step by Step

Body contouring is the removal of extra skin in these or other areas during surgeries that are performed one or perhaps two at a time under general anesthesia. Each patient should plan, in consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon, the specific sequence, timing and staging of body contouring procedures that will best work for his or her unique circumstances.

As board-certified plastic surgeons are aware, the body contouring procedures that are appropriate for post-bariatric surgery patients differ significantly from the body contouring procedures used for non-bariatric surgery patients.

Contact an Experienced Surgeon for Bariatric Surgery and Body Contouring

If you suspect that bariatric surgery is right for you, or if you have had bariatric surgery and you want to undergo body contouring to complete your body's rejuvenation, contact a board-certified plastic surgeon today to explore your options. You can arrange a private consultation to discuss your unique needs and circumstances.