The first requirement for body contouring after massive weight loss is that weight must be stable for 12 to 18 months before surgery. If you continue to lose weight, the sagging pockets of skin and tissue will redevelop. If you rapidly regain some of the weight lost, you will traumatically stress your already weakened and thinned skin, which can lead to wider scars and visible stretch marks.
In addition to having stable weight, good candidates for body contouring are adults of any age who do not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase surgical risks. Good candidates also have a positive outlook and realistic goals for what body contouring can accomplish and are committed to leading a healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition and fitness. Current smokers are poor candidates because smoking prevents quick healing, which is important with the long incisions needed for many body contouring procedures. Smokers are required to cease smoking for 4 weeks prior to, and 4 weeks after, surgery. This includes nicotine patches, nicotine gum, chewing tobacco or any product that contains nicotine.
If weight loss resulted from bariatric surgery, your surgeon will work closely with your physician to determine when body contouring can appropriately begin, learn more about your medical history, and evaluate your nutritional status. Such information will let us know if special measures are needed to keep you safe and optimize healing.
Body contouring after massive weight loss is not simple. A lengthy surgery is usually required and is followed by 3 to 5 days in the hospital. Long scars are produced by many of the surgical procedures, though we make every effort to keep them as inconspicuous as possible, in a location that will be covered by clothing. If multiple body areas are treated, multiple incisions are needed, the length and placement of which depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed.
It will take many months before you achieve the look you want, and there will be discomfort along the way. But you have already accomplished the hardest part by losing weight. Body contouring after massive weight loss can be a very important and rewarding phase of your challenge to have a healthier, trimmer, and more proportionate body.