Reaching your goal weight is an amazing achievement. Whether it’s done through diet and exercise or bariatric surgery, losing a substantial number of pounds requires both discipline and hard work. So, when you hit the magic number on the scale (or even just reach the point where you feel great), it should be an incredible feeling.
For many people, though, their weight loss doesn’t result in the body they’ve always dreamed of, and there’s certainly no magical feeling. For instance, Australian woman Jilly Sampson lost 216 pounds, but told the Sydney Morning Herald that “there was actually no joy in the weight loss. None. Because of the skin. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? I lost nearly 100 kilograms. But I didn’t look any better. In fact, I looked worse.”
Sampson isn’t alone in her plight. In cases of significant weight loss, many Minnesotans have turned to Minneapolis body contouring surgery as a way to regain confidence and enjoy their new, active lifestyle without the excess skin. While it’s possible for some areas of excess skin to have the tone or elasticity to fit a new, leaner body shape, body contouring surgery is an effective way to remove that skin or fatty tissue from the body, resulting in the ideal silhouette. From the abdomen to the buttocks, thighs, chest, arms, flanks, or breasts, body contouring operations can simply help create a normal appearance with natural-looking contouring.
So, how do you know if you’re a good candidate for a post-weight loss body contouring surgery?
You have excess skin due to weight loss
While this might seem like an obvious answer, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes that the best candidates for body contouring operations are adults who have lost weight, and therefore have excess skin or fatty tissue. However, they also recommend that your weight has stabilized before you have surgery. If you plan to continue losing weight, become pregnant, or are in poor health that could obstruct the healing process, it might not be the time or you to have this surgery. There are fewer complications with patients who are already close to their ideal weight. Whether or not you’ve lost weight from gastric bypass or lap band surgery or from diet and exercise doesn’t matter, but you do want to be at a stable weight.
You understand the costs associated with body contouring
The average cost of body contouring after weight loss can reach around $30,000, although this number certainly fluctuates depending on procedure. If your body lift will cover a large area or your surgeon anticipates extended hospital time, the costs will usually be higher. On average, according to the Healthcare Blue Book, a consumer guide to healthcare costs, “body contouring comes with an average price tag of about $13,000.” So, if you contour more than one area, this average cost will increase. It’s worth checking to see if your health insurance company will cover the procedure, and you should certainly discuss the costs with your plastic surgeon. Essentially, body contouring surgeries aren’t designed to be a low-budget, cheap way to become lean. Rather, they should be the finishing touch on a weight-loss journey.
You have time to recover and are comfortable with scarring
Minneapolis Plastic Surgery notes that “A patient who only needs skin removed from the flanks, for example, may recover more rapidly than a patient who has excess tissue removed from several areas, or has deeper tissue tightening.” No matter what, though, recovering from body contouring surgery requires a careful and thoughtful lifestyle: Smoking and other unhealthy habits can create additional complications, and plastic surgeons recommend that the patient is able to maintain a balanced diet and steady metabolic rate. Scarring can fade over 6-12 months, and there is frequent scarring with these procedures. However, the scarring rarely impedes the patient’s happiness with their new appearance.
You’re emotionally stable and have realistic expectations
If you have severe anxiety about your appearance or weight, it’s important to understand that body contouring surgery is not a fix-all cure. It can provide improvement in your skin elasticity and fat tissue, but good candidates for this surgery don’t expect perfection. You’ll most likely have a more toned appearance. Make sure that you’ve looked at before-and-after photos, talked to your doctor about what’s reasonable to expect for your body type, and that you are aware of what the surgical process entails.
If you have questions or comments about the surgical options available for body contouring, make sure to discuss them with your plastic surgeon, or leave a comment in the section below, anytime!
Dr. Douglas Gervais is a board certified plastic surgeon who performs procedures with Minneapolis Plastic Surgery. Dr. Gervais is an expert when it comes to a wide variety of plastic surgery procedures.
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