Surgery For the Removal of Excess Skin Due to Extreme Weight Loss
Full Body Lift Surgery is a solution for anyone who’s lost weight and is left with excess skin on their face, breasts, back, trunk and thighs. Extremely obese individuals often experience a loss in skin elasticity due to the prolonged periods of stretching from the increased volume of weight.
Whether through surgery or improved nutrition and fitness habits, shedding a significant amount of weight results in pounds of loose skin. The only way to tighten the skin is through surgery, which unfortunately leads to scarring. The severity of scarring depends on the amount of excess skin removed. For a full body lift, long scars will remain on the inner legs, underneath the arms, across the stomach, and across the hips.
Three Stages of a Body Lift
- In the first stage, excess skin is removed from the belly area after which the abdominal muscles are tightened by way of an incision at the bikini line.
- The second stage comprises of incisions made on the back and buttocks for elimination of extra skin and fat. Again, these incisions are made in harmony with a body’s natural contours.
- The third stage consists of making a clean, precise incision on the lower aspect of the upper arm, removing excessive skin, and then closing with very small sutures for the least possible scarring. Incisions are closed with sutures using dissolvable thread which reduces scarring and requires no post-surgical removal.
If required, a liposuction procedure may also be used during surgery to remove excess fat from troublesome areas. Breast augmentation or lifts may also be performed during the surgery to reduce sagging skin and enhance size.
After a body lift, common side effects of any post-surgical period occur, such as pain, bleeding, swelling and redness. These are all temporary, and most plastic surgeons plan for this in advance and prescribe medications accordingly.
Surgical Body Lift Procedure
Dr. Schusterman evaluates the patient’s entire body to determine the extent of the incisions and duration of the surgery. General anesthesia is used for the operation, which can last anywhere from 2 to 8 hours depending on the amount of excess skin removed. During the surgery, a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is typically performed first, after which excess skin is removed from the legs, arms, and breast areas.
|Pain controlled with medication||5 to 10 days|
|Tubes and drains left in skin||1 to 2 weeks|
|Swelling subsides||2 to 6 weeks|
|Return to work||As early as 2 weeks; 4 to 6 weeks recommended|
|Resume exercise||6 to 8 weeks|
|Fully healed scars||6 months to 1 year|
Because of the extent of the body lift surgery, recuperation takes time. However, properly managed with a gradual return to activities of daily living will see patients returned to their preoperative health within 4-6 weeks. A skilled plastic surgeon in Houston will use the latest surgical procedures to create thin, fine unobtrusive scars which fade with time.
The key to successful results after a Houston body lift is to have it done by a board certified and experienced plastic surgeon who is well versed with all the procedures and expert in producing optimal results. For patients contemplating a body lift after extreme weight loss, consult your plastic surgeon to develop a treatment plan specifically tailored to your unique needs.
Patients should expect some degree of pain, bruising, and swelling after the procedure. Total recovery time depends on the extent of the surgery and patients may be hospitalized up to one week.
Full Body Lift Results
The results achieved with a body lift remain sensitive to diet and exercise. Even after contouring, patients with previously loose skin will experience loosening and sagging much faster with age than their peers.
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Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Mark A. Schusterman, MD, FACS
Although his research and development of microsurgical reconstruction techniques established his reputation, his knowledge and understanding of the human body and the challenges associated with aiding patients suffering with head and neck injuries as well as breast cancer patients has made Dr. Schusterman an award-winning plastic surgeon.