Surgical body contouring may refer to a wide range of different procedures that can be done after major weight loss, pregnancy, or other significant changes in the body. These surgeries remove the extra skin and fat from nearly any area of the body, after which the underlying muscles are tightened for added support. Some of the most common body contouring surgeries can include breast lift, lower body lift, thigh lift, arm lift, and tummy tuck.
Who is a Candidate for Body Contouring Surgery?
Body contouring surgery is best suited for people who are in good health overall. Ideally, body contouring patients should be either at or close to their ideal weight. There may be cases where the patient is still above their ideal weight, but if that excess weight is due to extra skin the surgery may be scheduled anyway. Many people who have undergone bariatric surgery followed by major weight loss are very good candidates for this surgery. The skin isn't naturally elastic enough to adjust to the dramatic change in body shape, which means that surgical excision of the skin can be the best option.
The Benefits of Body Contouring
Body contouring surgery allows patients to get rid of extra skin that couldn't be eliminated through diet and exercise. Many patients find that this type of surgery yields major benefits in terms of self confidence. Body contouring patients may feel better both physically and emotionally after their surgery.
Body Contouring Techniques
There are a wide variety of body contouring techniques, as there are a number of different body contouring surgeries. Some surgeries may be performed alone, but it is quite common for multiple procedures to be done at one time, especially for post bariatric surgery patients. For example, a tummy tuck and thigh lift may be done during the same surgery. If a patient has a number of surgeries planned, a staged approach may be taken. For example, in the first stage the patient might have a tummy tuck and and thigh lift. In the next stage, upper body procedures might be the focus. In the third stage, facial and neck procedures like face and neck lift may be the focus.
Preparing for Body Contouring
Patients will need to prepare for body contouring surgery in several ways. This commonly includes preoperative blood tests, other lab tests, and discontinuing certain prescription and non-prescription medicines and supplements. Since many body contouring procedures are done under general anesthesia, patients will also be given instructions as to preparing for that anesthesia. This generally includes not eating or drinking from the night before surgery until the time of surgery.
The anesthesia (either general anesthesia or IV sedation and local anesthesia) is administered first and allowed to take full effect before the surgery begins. The incisions are then made based on the exact procedure and the patient's individual needs. Most body contouring incisions are fairly large ones, but Dr. Rau makes every effort to place the incisions as strategically as possible so they can be concealed by most kinds of clothing. Body contouring surgery can be a fairly lengthy surgery, generally taking several hours or more. When the surgery is complete, the patient will be moved into recovery.
Recovery From Body Contouring
The recovery from body contouring surgery can vary considerably from one patient to another. Each body contouring surgery can be unique to the patient, with many patients having 2 or 3 procedures at once. Patients will generally need to plan for at least 2 to 4 weeks off work, depending on the surgeries done. Within 3 months, most patients have fully recovered and returned to their regular routine including exercise. Patients will have prescription pain medication to alleviate severe pain in early recovery, and will then usually be able to take non-prescription medications for mild to moderate pain. To have the best and most effective body contouring surgery experience, it's very important to follow all guidelines and instructions from the doctor.
Results: What to Expect From Body Contouring Surgery
Patients will notice an immediate difference because a large amount of skin is typically removed in body contouring procedures. However, it is quite common to have swelling for around 10 to 12 weeks following the surgery. After the swelling has passed, the full aesthetic results can be seen. Having realistic expectations is very important, so Dr. Rau and his team will be happy to help patients in forming those expectations ahead of the surgery.
Ready to Get Started?
Dr. Jeffrey Rau and the team at Rau Plastic Surgery are experienced with body contouring procedures of all types, and they enjoy helping patients achieve their new look. Call anytime for a body contouring surgery consultation.