Significantly overweight individuals who undergo gastric bypass surgery will typically lose at least 60% of their excess body weight in the following 1-2 years. Unfortunately, neither diet nor exercise will eliminate the loose and saggy skin that has been stretched over time. A body lift is a series of surgeries that can remove excess skin and leave your figure looking more firm and toned. While an arm lift, breast lift, and facelift may be recommended following massive weight loss, a body lift typically involves procedures for the lower body such as a thigh lift, buttock lift, and abdominoplasty or liposuction. Individuals who receive a body lift at our facility may need to undergo the various procedures at staged intervals to keep operating times within a safe range. Recovery time will vary based on the extent of your treatment.

Abdominoplasty After Weight Loss

Large fat deposits or excess, loose skin in the abdominal area may make you a candidate for abdominoplasty. This is a major surgical procedure that is performed under general anesthesia and entails the removal of excess fat and skin, and tightening of the abdominal muscles. The incision is made low on the abdomen, near the pubic region, so that any scarring is hidden by most underwear and bathing suits. A full abdominoplasty takes between two to four hours depending on the extent of work involved and whether or not it is combined with some degree of liposuction. After the incision is made, the abdominal skin above the umbilicus is lifted. The umbilicus is cut free from this skin and left on its attachment. This is later brought out through a new incision. The abdominal muscles are tightened with heavy sutures to help narrow your waistline. Excess skin and fat are removed and the incision is closed. The pubic area is sometimes flattened as well either by direct fat excision or liposuction. An abdominal binder or compression garment is placed to support the abdomen and help to decrease swelling during your recovery. On average, 3-10 pounds of skin and fat may be removed.

Drain tubes are left in place for approximately one to four weeks after surgery. During your recovery, you will remain somewhat flexed at the waist to feel comfortable and to minimize tension on your incision. The abdomen feels “tight” for several weeks after surgery. Numbness is common in certain areas and may be permanent for some. The scar begins to fade two to three months later and may take one to two years to reach its final appearance. Swelling will resolve within six weeks by 75 percent, and the remainder will be gone after six months.

Showering is permitted once the drain tubes have been removed. Heavy lifting, aerobic activity, and vigorous exercise should be avoided for six to eight weeks. Lifting should be limited to fifteen to twenty pounds during the first six weeks. Patients are encouraged to walk around as soon as it feels comfortable, as this will aid in their recovery.

Abdominoplasty may be an inpatient or outpatient procedure, depending on the extent of the surgery. Returning to work can take anywhere from two to four weeks, while full recovery takes several months. Abdominoplasty surgery will result in scarring of the lower abdomen, which is not noticeable under clothing and will eventually fade. Most patients experience significant, long-term results and a dramatically improved abdominal area.

If you are interested in having abdominoplasty in the Reno area, contact us at our cosmetic surgery office today to schedule a consultation with our experienced cosmetic surgeon.

Body Lift

Following massive weight loss, skin wrinkling and loss of tone can change the body’s contour, leaving excessive skin over a large area of the body. A body lift procedure can eliminate loose skin and help restore a more toned figure. The procedure consists of an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), outer thigh lift, and buttock lift. The scar required for this procedure is placed very low on the abdomen, near the pubic region. It continues across the sides and along the lower back. This scar is hidden by most underwear and bikini swimsuits. Patients require a two to four night stay in a care facility or hospital following this operation.

A body lift takes between three to five hours, depending on the extent of work and repositioning required during surgery. Excess skin and fat are removed from the abdomen, waist, thighs, and buttocks. The abdominal wall muscles are tightened to help narrow the waist and firm the abdominal wall. In some cases, liposuction is utilized in the body lift to improve contour. As with the abdominoplasty, the umbilicus is brought out through a new incision after the excess skin is removed from the abdomen. Drain tubes are placed under the skin to minimize fluid accumulation after the operation. These are left in place approximately one to four weeks after surgery. Dissolvable skin sutures are carefully placed for skin closure. Patients are placed in a binder or a compression garment for post-operative comfort and to help minimize swelling. Dr. McCormack may require that you take a special blood thinning medication for a few days before and after your surgery to help prevent the formation of blood clots in the legs (DVT).

Because the procedure is rather extensive, patients often take several weeks to recover from a body lift. Reno residents and those of the surrounding areas who undergo the procedure, however, will find our Dr. McCormack and staff available to address any post-op concerns. Following the surgery, you may shower once the drain tubes have been removed. You will be discharged from the hospital or care facility after two to four days. It is necessary to have someone with you to drive you home and stay with you during your first 24 hours at home. Patients from out of state should plan to stay locally for approximately two weeks.

Discomfort during the first few days is controlled with pain medication. You will be swollen in certain areas for some time. Generally 75 percent of the swelling is gone at six weeks. The remaining swelling may take up to six months to one year to resolve. It is important that you start walking as soon as possible during your recovery. This helps prevent blood clots in your legs and helps to keep your lungs open. Employment involving desk work may be resumed two to three weeks following surgery. If your work involves prolonged standing, heavy lifting or vigorous activity you are advised to wait six weeks before returning. Vigorous exercise should not be resumed until after six weeks. Temporary numbness is common and may become permanent in some cases. You will feel like you need to be flexed at the waist for a few days after surgery. With time, you will be able to stand upright again. The scars will begin to fade two to three months after surgery. Although they never disappear completely, the scars will become considerably less visible over the next one to two years.

Contact McCormack Plastic Surgery

If you have undergone massive weight loss and are interested in learning more about body lift, abdominoplasty, or any other contouring options at our practice, please contact us at McCormack Plastic Surgery to schedule a consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon.