One of the most gratifying things Dr. Weinberg does surgically is help people who have successfully dropped significant amounts of weight. It’s becoming clearer, however, that there is some specific technical consideration in surgery after large weight losses.
Facelift after weight loss is a good example. Our patients from Oakville and the surrounding areas, who carry significant amounts of excessive weight suffer changes to their tissues, such that their skin tends to be thinner and more fragile. While skin laxity is a hallmark feature of aging, this is even more of an issue once large amounts of weight have been lost. This means that a greater degree of tightening may need to be achieved in the areas of the cheek and neck, and more work may need to be done to elevate the underlying muscles and other facial tissues. It’s also often the case that facelifts after large weight drops may need to be accompanied by more fat augmentation, to fill out cheeks and chin for example, either at the time of surgery or afterward. These people may also be more likely to require eyelid or brow lift surgery along with their facelift.
Combination surgeries, in general, are more common among the post weight loss population, thus tummy tucks are often done along with other body lift procedures like arm or thigh lifts, and breast lifts. In men Gynecomastia surgery, to reduce male breast tissue is also sometimes combined with tummy tuck. Combination surgeries are beneficial from the point of view of reducing the number of post- op recoveries, and exposure to the anesthetic, but they do carry an increased surgical risk as compared to single surgeries. As those who’ve had large weight losses often have other medical issues, sometimes these large multi-step procedures require close patient monitoring and therefore need to be done in the hospital.
There’s growing evidence, though, that undergoing these surgeries can have important long-term benefits for patients. Two recent studies, one in Chicago, reported in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, demonstrated that patients who had body contouring procedures such as tummy tuck, after gastric bypass surgery for weight loss achieved greater weight loss, and kept the weight off. Seven years after a bypass, patients who underwent body contouring procedures maintained an average weight of 176 pounds, compared to 200 pounds among the non-body contouring group of patients. Even taking into account the weight of tissues removed in body contouring procedures, those who had the cosmetic procedures regained an average of only 14 pounds, as compared with 50 pounds among those who did not have body contouring.
Researchers at the Henry Ford hospital felt that body contouring procedures improved the quality of life of patients after bypass surgery and substantial weight loss, and concluded that body contouring should be considered an essential part of bariatric surgery.
If you have further questions about surgery after weight loss at our Oakville plastic surgery practice, contact us at (905) 273-3045.