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Post Weight Loss Plastic Surgery

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Post weight loss plastic surgery, also called bariatric plastic surgery, is a growing specialty within the field of plastic surgery. I use the word “specialty” deliberately, as it truly takes a special plastic surgeon to put beautiful finishing touches on a newly slim body safely.

Weight loss patients should look for a plastic surgeon who—with their skills, experience and commitment to the specialty—can demonstrate that they’re ready for the challenge of resculpting the body. Here’s why.

There’s a range of surgical options. Every body is different; that goes without saying. But it’s especially apparent in weight loss patients. Some people’s skin bounces back to some extent; others describe their unclothed look as “melted wax.” And skin often sags unevenly from one side of the body to the other.

Take the abdominal area, for example, where most people who seek plastic surgery after weight loss have significant amounts of redundant skin. Whereas your average post-childbearing mom may be very satisfied with a standard tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, a weight loss patient may benefit from other options such as an extended abdominoplasty or a circumferential abdominoplasty, or torsoplasty. True to its name, the latter procedure circles the entire torso, lifting and excising droopy skin. Only a plastic surgeon with experience in a variety of abdominal procedures can design and deliver the right option.

There’s a need to understand special challenges. Weight loss patients, particularly those who have chosen bariatric surgery, may have health considerations that must be taken into account when planning surgery. For one thing, when caloric intake is restricted, people often don’t get enough protein in their diets. Low levels of protein can adversely affect the healing process. Other possible factors that can surface are long-term heart or lung issues that may persist after extra pounds have been shed.

Even with some additional challenges to consider, weight loss patients can usually undergo plastic surgery safely. But it’s vital to choose a surgeon who has invested in learning about obesity, massive weight loss and potential health issues—one who will take the necessary steps to safeguard patients’ health.

There’s the temptation for plastic surgeons to market aggressively to weight loss patients. Plastic surgery for men and women who have lost a great deal of weight can be a very desirable addition to a surgical practice. One reason is the growing numbers of people who are losing weight through bariatric surgery. As gastric bypass surgery and lap bands become more commonplace, and more often covered by insurance, the potential patient pool grows larger.

Another reason is that post-bariatric patients often need more than one procedure. In fact, it’s not at all unusual for someone who has lost a hundred pounds or more to want plastic surgery for their abdomen, chest and arms. Many add facelifts to the list, and some opt for other procedures to fine tune their new bodies. A multiple-procedure patient is a lucrative proposition for plastic surgeons.

After all these cautions, there’s good news too. There are many highly qualified, board-certified plastic surgeons out there who work with weight loss patients.

How to find one? Doing research on the Web is a must. It can be a good sign when a large portion of a surgeon’s Web site is devoted to the specialty. Especially if there are plenty of before and after photos to see. Some plastic surgeons even have a site focused entirely on bariatric plastic surgery.

Perhaps the best research aid is the weight loss community itself. Sites like obesityhelp.com and others offer advice about plastic surgery and, more important, patients who have personal experiences to share.

Massive weight loss is a wonderful accomplishment. Men and women who achieve it deserve the best in plastic surgery.

Add a Comment7 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I underwent so called "mummy makeover" after my second delivery. I recommend it to every mother, who has problems with her body change. Unfortunately, I had limited budget. Clinics here in UK are really expensive that's why I looked for clinic abroad. I had several tips for clinics from my friends. Finally, I chose Formé clinic in Prague. Price was lower than in UK and they have really great reputation. Clinic was clean, stuff was such helpful and nice. It has been 8 months from my surgery. Surgery changed everything - I feel happy and confident.

February 8, 2016 - 8:50am
EmpowHER Guest

My cousin after her third delivery had her bariatric treatment done. She faced the same problem as what Diane’s cousin had to face, those folded skins and the irritation between them. She read an article on tummy tuck surgery from http://www.theplasticsurgerypost.com/category/tummy-tuck/ .After which she contacted her doctor and he advised her to have another tummy tuck surgery. Its been 2 years after that.Her tummy is perfectly flat and she never complained about the irritation again, in fact she looks much younger now with those flat tummy. Wow!! Now she no more seems to be a mother of 3...

July 31, 2014 - 2:17am
EmpowHER Guest

Liposuction is NOT weight loss surgery! No reputable plastic surgeon would be plastering the Internet with links to his website via comments like this.

May 5, 2014 - 9:05am

I'll have to ask her if she's documenting. That's an excellent suggestion and I'll make sure she thinks that way. Thank you again.

August 26, 2009 - 8:15am

Thanks for your comments. Congratulations to your friend, Diane, for persevering with her weight loss. It's a tough journey.

These days more and more insurance companies are covering bariatric surgery. That's because they know that when someone's weight is in the normal range, health risks like diabetes are reduced or disappear altogether. This makes forking out the money for surgery a good investment for insurance companies.

Unfortunately, insurers still consider post weight loss plastic surgery a cosmetic issue. "Not medically necessary," is exactly how they look at it.

From many conversations with plastic surgeons, I've found that sometimes an insurance company can be persuaded to cover some of the cost of eliminating the excess skin. Seems like women are most often successful when they need breast surgery for further reduction and/or lift. And occasionally an insurance company will cover another procedure, like abdominoplasty, if they can be convinced that paying for surgery will be cheaper than paying to treat rashes, infections and so on over the long haul.

As your friend probably knows, the key to making a good case is documentation. Letters from doctors, photos of rashes, copies of prescriptions for anti-inflammatory creams, etc. And appealing when turned down.

Even then, most people do not win against insurance companies. Enough said about that, especially these days.

August 24, 2009 - 3:34pm

This is good information to have. A dear friend of mine had bariatric surgery a few years ago and has kept all the weight off, but still feels incredibly self-conscious and upset about the folds of skin she has. She is saving money for the surgery, but the cost is nearly prohibitive. Just seems that if a doctor says that something is medically necessary, then that should be the last word. Thanks so much for your post.

August 24, 2009 - 8:41am
EmpowHER Guest

There was a woman on a health show on television that lost 200 pounds and her skin did not fit her body anymore. She had enormous folds of skin that drooped all over her body creating a whole new set of problems such as skin bacteria in places where sweat was trapped in the folds. She had fought a long battle with her insurance company because she wants them to pay for post weight loss surgery. A plastic surgeon had agreed to do the surgery at a reduced fee to help the woman. The insurance company is refusing on the grounds it is cosmetic surgery and not medically necessary. This is exactly the kind of treatment people get from insurance companies after accepting premiums for years that have led consumers to ask for massive changes in the industry. Most people don’t have to lose that much weight and rely on diet, exercise and supplements to get back into shape. But sometimes bariatric surgery should not be considered cosmetic surgery and health insurance companies should cover the related expenses in those cases.

August 21, 2009 - 8:18am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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