The new year is right around the corner, which for many of us means it’s the time we start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you want to lose weight, stop smoking, or save money. Whatever it is, the new year offers a kind of reset button on life. For some, plastic surgery also offers this opportunity for a reset. Though it can’t fix everything, it can give you the confidence boost to start making other changes.
In this post we will be talking about plastic surgery after weight loss, which is an especially good example of this kind of reset. But, unlike many other changes you might choose to make in the new year, plastic surgery requires an especially large amount of thought, research, and preparation. It’s surgery, after all.
Plastic surgery after weight loss can feel like a huge reset because, for many, it is the last step in a long journey to remake their lives. Losing a large amount of weight (say, 50 to 100 pounds or more) takes time, effort, and in some cases weight-loss surgery. It is arduous, no matter how you get there. Weight loss alone changes lives in a big way, giving people more energy, improved health and self-esteem, and greater mobility. But, like most things in life, it isn’t always a perfect solution.
After significant weight loss, some people are left with excess loose skin. This affects people differently; for some it is a minor cosmetic issue and for others the loose skin itself diminishes mobility, causes rashes and infections, and impacts their sense of wellbeing. This 2018 study of nearly 1200 people (80% were women) who underwent gastric bypass surgery, found a link between excessive skin and poorer psychosocial functioning.
Unfortunately, the loose skin that follows a large loss of weight won’t go away no matter how many sit ups you do or expensive creams you buy. For this reason some people turn to plastic surgery for a permanent solution.
This kind of surgery is generally referred to as body contouring, and it can include a whole host of different procedures including the following:
- Tummy tuck
- Arm lift
- Body lift
- Thigh lift
- Breast augmentation
- Breast lift
- Breast reduction
While these procedures can restore a more youthful and toned appearance to the body, they come with some risk, especially when more procedures are performed at once. For this reason there are three things you need to consider if you are thinking about plastic surgery after massive weight loss.
It’s not an option for everyone
Obesity is a well known health risk and the medical conditions (called co-morbidities) that can go along with it include diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and other breathing problems. These are serious health issues and they are often the reason someone undertakes an extreme weight loss effort. Sometimes those co-morbidities don’t completely go away, even after a large weight loss, making it too risky to undergo cosmetic surgery.
Plastic surgery for weight loss also won’t be an option for you if you are unwilling to change unhealthy habits. For example, you have to be willing to quit smoking, as it can get in the way of healing.
You have to wait a while after weight loss
Most plastic surgeons will require you to wait at least six months after reaching your goal weight before considering plastic surgery. This gives your body time to stabilize. Many of the health conditions associated with obesity will improve or go away during this time, and good long term eating and exercise habits will get established. This waiting period also gives some of the extra loose skin time to shrink down on its own.
It isn’t a panacea
Plastic surgery is the only permanent way to remove the large amount of loose skin that follows significant weight loss. It can improve your appearance and mobility and even your health. But it will not turn back the clock to a time before you had any weight to lose, to the body you had, say, at 16. Your body will also continue to be subject to the effects of aging after the surgery.
Though there are ways to minimize the appearance of scars, scarring is inevitable as well. (Learn how Dr. Slack keeps scar visibility to a minimum). Take a look at our before and after gallery so you know what to expect, at least in the first months after surgery as scars will continue to fade.
Also, it is important to know that no plastic surgery is a panacea for all of life’s problems; it won’t save your marriage, make you smarter, or get you that promotion. Being realistic and specific about the problems you want to solve will take you a long way toward a more satisfying result.
If you are considering plastic surgery after weight loss, it is important to take your time thinking about it, do your research and find the right surgeon for you. It has taken you a while to get where you are so a little more won’t hurt. Call our office today and make an appointment with Dr. Slack to get that process underway.