Major weight loss, whether through surgery or diet/exercise, is highly transformative for patients, leaving them healthier, happier, and more energetic. However, the weight loss is often just the first step in their journey. In many cases, as the body shrinks down to its new, smaller, healthier size, the skin cannot shrink along with it due to a loss of elasticity. The result is excess skin along the face, breast, arms, waist, and thighs that detracts from the new hard-earned physique.
Plastic surgery after weight loss can dramatically reverse these changes. If you are ready to learn more about post bariatric plastic surgery, request a consultation online with Dr. Steele, or call our office at 817-731-5330. We serve patients in Fort Worth, TX and surrounding communities and we welcome patients who wish to travel from outside the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Many patients who have achieved significant weight loss will require more than one body contouring procedure, often in stages. Additional procedures can improve the appearance of the breast, arms, and face. If you have obtained a stable weight and are maintaining a healthy lifestyle, the time may be right to visit Dr. Steele in Fort Worth for body contouring surgery. Because weight loss affects each patient differently, Dr. Steele will take the time to answer your questions and help design an individualized surgical plan to optimally and safely achieve your goals. Weight loss patients commonly undergo the following lifting and tightening surgeries:
Upper Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)
This procedure is designed to deal with upper arm skin and fat (often called “bat wings”). Through an incision along the inner arm running from the elbow to the armpit, the skin and fat is excised, often in conjunction with liposuction of the arm. In milder cases, a limited-incision brachioplasty may be an option with the incision limited to the armpit. Click here to see arm lift photos.
Lower Body Lift
Inner Thigh Lift
Similar to the upper arm, the inner thigh can be left with residual skin and fat after weight loss. An inner thigh lift, often combined with liposuction, will rejuvenate and tighten the inner thigh. After a body lift, most patients will notice a small improvement in the upper/inner thigh. For that reason, the inner thigh lift is typically performed in a staged fashion after the body lift or tummy tuck procedure
Like many women who have had children, weight loss patients will often note significant sagging and loss of breast volume. A breast lift or breast lift with implants may be an option to rejuvenate the breast by reshaping the breast, while adding volume to the upper breast. In some weight loss patients, the extent of sagging can be such that it is unsafe to combine a lift with implant at the same operation. In these cases, Dr. Steele recommends proceeding first with a mastopexy (lift) with a delayed breast augmentation 3-6 months later.
Because of the poor skin quality in most weight loss patients, liposuction alone is typically not performed due to worsening of the skin laxity. However, many of the above procedures will be combined liposuction to remove fat in combination with skin excision for tightening.
Unfortunately, significant weight loss can result in loss skin in the face resulting in a turkey neck and jowling. This often makes people look older than their actual age. A facelift can tighten the face/neck skin and reposition the tissues into a more youthful position.
A body lift surgery typically requires an overnight stay due to the length of surgery. Other procedures may be performed on an outpatient basis, however, if multiple procedures are combined together, an overnight stay may also be required.
Recovery time will vary depending on the procedures performed. For a body lift, patients generally need about two weeks off from work. Other procedures such as an arm lift or breast lift have a speedier recovery, often getting back to work within the week. Patients need to avoid cardio activity for 4 weeks and avoid lifting more than 15 pounds for 6 weeks. More vigorous activity like push-ups and planks can be started at 2 months. Depending on the surgery performed, a compression garment or bra may be necessary. Many of these procedures require the use of drain tubes that may stay in place for a few weeks depending on fluid output. You will be given antibiotics, pain pills, anti-nausea pills, muscle relaxants, and for some patients, blood thinning shots to cut down on the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots. Although these procedures result in lengthy scars, Dr. Steele will provide optimal scar care instructions to give you the finest scar possible.