Dr. Stephenie Poris and Dr. Elizabeth Dovec pose together

Plastic Surgery After Bariatric Surgery- Unveiling Your Best Self!

Congratulations! You’ve shed those pounds, revamped your lifestyle, and turned your health around with Bariatric Surgery. You lost all this weight and have improved or resolved so many associated health issues but now have some excess skin…so now what?!

Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of post-weight loss plastic surgery with Dr. Stephenie Poris from Poris Plastic Surgery.

Here we break down the when, what and how of plastic surgery after weight loss with Dr. Stephenie Poris of Poris Plastic Surgery with our Q & A with her. You can also listen to her full podcast DoctorXDietitian podcast episode.

What is body contouring after bariatric surgery?

Body contouring after bariatric surgery is a procedure designed to remove excess skin and fat deposits that remain after significant weight loss. Bariatric surgery, such as gastric bypass or gastric sleeve, is a life-changing decision that helps individuals achieve their weight loss goals. However, it can lead to loose skin and areas of stubborn fat that can be difficult to eliminate through diet and exercise alone.

Body contouring procedures are specifically tailored to address these concerns. They can target various areas of the body, including the abdomen, arms, thighs, buttocks, and breasts. The goal is to reshape and refine the body, providing a more proportionate and toned appearance.

Body contouring after bariatric surgery is a comprehensive approach that can involve multiple procedures, such as tummy tucks, arm lifts, thigh lifts, and breast lifts. These procedures can be done individually or in combination, depending on the patient’s specific needs and goals. The ultimate aim is to achieve a more contoured and harmonious body shape, enhancing the overall results of the bariatric surgery.

The ideal candidates for body contouring after bariatric surgery are individuals who have achieved significant weight loss through bariatric surgery and have maintained a stable weight for at least six months. It’s important to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon like double board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Poris here in Orlando, FL to determine if you are a suitable candidate for these procedures.

What are some benefits of body contouring after surgery?

The benefits of body contouring after bariatric surgery go beyond just the physical transformation. Here are some key advantages that make body contouring an essential part of the weight loss journey:

  1. Improved Body Proportions: Bariatric surgery can leave behind loose skin and fat deposits that can make it difficult to appreciate the full extent of your weight loss. Body contouring procedures help to reshape and redefine your body, enhancing your proportions and revealing the true extent of your weight loss success. This can result in a more balanced and harmonious appearance that aligns with your new healthier lifestyle.
  2. Enhanced Self-Confidence: Excess skin and stubborn fat deposits can be a constant reminder of your previous weight, which can negatively impact your self-esteem. Body contouring helps to remove these reminders, allowing you to fully embrace and enjoy your new body. With a more toned and contoured physique, you’ll feel more confident and self-assured, radiating positivity in all aspects of your life.
  3. Improved Physical Comfort: Excess skin can cause discomfort and irritation, especially in areas prone to chafing or rashes. Body contouring procedures remove this excess skin, providing relief and improving your overall physical comfort. Additionally, by eliminating areas of stubborn fat, you’ll experience increased mobility and ease of movement, making it easier to engage in physical activities and maintain an active lifestyle
  4. Long-Term Weight Maintenance: Body contouring after bariatric surgery can significantly improve your chances of maintaining your new body shape long-term. By removing excess skin and fat, it becomes easier to maintain your weight loss and adhere to a healthy lifestyle. The enhanced body contouring results act as a motivating factor, encouraging you to stay committed to your weight loss goals and maintain a consistent exercise and nutrition regimen.
  5. Improved Quality of Life: Body contouring not only enhances your physical appearance but also improves your overall quality of life. With a more proportionate and contoured body, you’ll feel more comfortable in your own skin and be able to fully engage in activities you may have avoided before due to self-consciousness. Whether it’s wearing the clothes you’ve always wanted or participating in social events with confidence, body contouring can have a profound impact on your emotional and psychological well-being.

How do you prepare your body for plastic surgery after bariatric surgery?

Preparing for body contouring after bariatric surgery is crucial to ensure a successful outcome and smooth recovery. Here are some steps you can take to prepare for the procedure:

  1. Research and Consultation: Start by researching qualified plastic surgeons (hint: me!!) who specialize in body contouring after bariatric surgery. Look for board-certified surgeons with extensive experience and positive patient reviews. Schedule a consultation with at least two to three surgeons to discuss your goals, expectations, and any concerns you may have.
  2. Medical Evaluation: We will conduct a thorough medical evaluation to determine if you are a suitable candidate for body contouring after bariatric surgery. We will review your medical history, perform a physical examination, and may request additional tests or consultations with other specialists if necessary.
  3. Quit Smoking: If you smoke, it’s crucial to quit smoking at least four weeks before the surgery. Smoking can impair the healing process and increase the risk of complications. We will provide guidance and resources to help you quit smoking if needed.
  4. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Leading up to the surgery, focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and stay hydrated. These habits will not only support your overall health but also contribute to a smoother recovery and optimal results.
  5. Arrange Support: Body contouring after bariatric surgery often requires assistance with daily tasks during the recovery period. Arrange for a friend or family member to help you with activities such as cooking, cleaning, and transportation. Having a support system in place can greatly ease the recovery process.
  6. Follow Pre-Operative Instructions: We will provide specific pre-operative instructions that you must follow closely. This may include avoiding certain medications or supplements that can increase the risk of bleeding, fasting before the surgery, and arranging for someone to drive you home after the procedure.

By taking these steps to prepare for body contouring after bariatric surgery, you can optimize your chances of a successful outcome and a smooth recovery.

When is the right time to have plastic surgery after weight loss surgery?

We want to be part of your weight loss journey, so the sooner we see you the better! We want to get to know you and your goals, which can help us determine what the right surgery for you is! However, there are a few things that we must check off before you are a candidate for surgery.

We typically say that when patients are at their goal weight, meaning their weight has plateaued and been stable at the same number for about three to six months, then it is usually safe to undergo plastic surgery. Furthermore, we are going to look at your post weight loss nutritional lab work, and your overall health to determine if you are at a safe and healthy place to heal properly after your surgery.

Specifically, we are looking at your protein levels, your vitamin levels, as well as any medical problems that could cause issues with your recovery. When we have optimized all these that’s when you’ll know it’s safe to undergo a plastic surgery procedure.

Where do you start?

Anytime we have a full comprehensive consultation these are the questions we are going to address. Most importantly I want to know what your goals are. What bothers you the most? Once we can answer these questions then we’ll have an idea of where we start. Is your problem area mostly in your tummy well let’s address that first! How many surgeries can you do at once?

It very much depends on what you would like to address. Typically, we do not recommend surgery times greater than about 6 hours due to safety and there are certain procedures we do not recommend combining. Sometimes it is safer and necessary to stage procedures as well. We will go over all of this at your consultation.

Will my surgery be covered by insurance?

Here’s where things can get tricky. Sometimes depending on what the issue is you can have insurance cover part or all the operation. However usually these procedures are considered cosmetic and are not covered under insurance. At Poris plastic surgery we do accept insurance and will make every attempt to get your procedure covered if possible!

What about a panniculectomy?

Panniculectomy is more of a functional procedure. I perform this operation when I just need to remove the excess skin on the lower half of your abdomen, but it does not include repair of your ab muscles, nor do you get to save your belly button. This procedure can be done if you have significant rashes under your pannus and need to remove significant excess skin that can get infected. Insurance tends to cover these operations once you have documented rashes with treatment and a pannus that hangs lower than your private parts!

So you want an abdominoplasty, what does that mean?  

An abdominoplasty means removing the excess skin on the lower part of your tummy up to or including your belly button. It also means that we’re going to repair the muscles (your abs) underneath that have been separated due to weight loss or pregnancy. During an abdominoplasty we also either recreate your belly button or use your natural belly button!

Can I combine an insurance operation with a cosmetic one?

Absolutely, if you do get approved for a panniculectomy oftentimes that is not going to be fully corrective for your goals and needs. We are happy to apply this approval towards performing a more comprehensive operation such as an abdominoplasty.

What about my saggy breasts?

With massive weight loss we lose volume in our tissues especially our breasts. Now for women this means that you’ve probably lost that upper pole of your breast fullness, or your nipples have dropped towards the floor. And the fold under your breast is lower than it should be. These are all normal things that happen with age and weight loss.

If your nipples have dropped, we call this breast ptosis, and I can do a breast lift to bring them back to their youthful location. If you have lost volume or cup sizes, implants or fat grafting can help increase the volume. Sometimes we do these procedures together in what is called a breast lift or “mastopexy” -augmentation.

Can I do my breast procedure at the same time as my stomach procedure?

YES! This is the definition of a “mommy makeover”. However, we usually like to keep surgery within a safe period of time, so adding on too many procedures at once can be dangerous!

Now what about those bat wings?

Arm lift surgery can be very rewarding! Sometimes we can add liposuction to help define the arms a little more if needed. Arms and breast surgery do naturally go together and sometimes you end up extending the arm lift onto the side of chest to help get that excess skin too!

Saggy butt?

Here is where we get really technical and specific. Depending on your body type, to get volume there are a few options. For some it may mean removing some skin on the back and lift the buttocks. For others however, it could mean adding fat back to the buttock. This can be tricky and absolutely must be performed by a plastic surgeon.  

Finally the thighs… don’t forget these things!!! 

Okay so they are last for a reason. I usually recommend performing all other plastic surgical procedures first. The reason is that the lower body can affect the legs, so there really is an order to surgery here.

What are some risks and considerations associated with body contouring surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, body contouring after bariatric surgery carries certain risks and considerations. It’s crucial to be aware of these potential risks and have an open discussion with your plastic surgeon before making a decision.

Here are some common risks and considerations: 

  1. Scarring: Body contouring procedures involve incisions, which will result in scarring. The extent and visibility of the scars will vary depending on the procedures performed and individual factors. However, plastic surgeons are skilled in minimizing scarring and will provide guidance on scar management techniques.
  2. Infection: There is a risk of infection following body contouring surgery. Your plastic surgeon will provide guidelines on wound care and proper hygiene to minimize this risk. It’s important to follow these instructions diligently and report any signs of infection, such as increased pain, redness, or discharge, to your surgeon immediately.
  3. Bleeding: Like any surgical procedure, body contouring carries a risk of bleeding. Your plastic surgeon will take precautions to minimize this risk and provide guidance on medications and supplements to avoid prior to the surgery. It’s important to follow these instructions to reduce the chances of excessive bleeding.
  4. Poor Wound Healing: Individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery may have compromised wound healing due to nutritional deficiencies or other factors. Poor wound healing can increase the risk of complications such as infection or delayed healing. It’s crucial to work closely with your plastic surgeon and address any underlying nutritional concerns before undergoing body contouring procedures.
  5. Anesthesia Risks: Body contouring after bariatric surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia. While complications from anesthesia are rare, it’s important to discuss any concerns or medical conditions you may have with your anesthesiologist before the surgery. They will evaluate your medical history and determine the safest approach for anesthesia.

It’s important to have realistic expectations and understand that body contouring after bariatric surgery is not a substitute for weight loss or a healthy lifestyle. It’s a complementary procedure that helps refine and shape your body after significant weight loss. 

Final thoughts

When you are ready for a consultation, have your goals in mind! Furthermore, make sure your medical doctors have any medical issues addressed, and recommend you a safe candidate for a cosmetic procedure. Finally, we are here for you every step of the way during your weight loss journey. We understand that these are life changing choices and experiences and look forward to providing you with all the necessary education to make your decision easy and fun!  

To see Dr. Stephenie Poris in consultation call 407-558-1616 or visit porisplasticsurgery.com. You can also follow her practice on Instagram @stiletto_surgeon. We look forward to taking part in your journey!

Listen to our full DoctorXDietitian podcast episode on Plastic Surgery and Body Contouring After Weight Loss! Good luck!

XOXO,
BodyByBariatrics and Dr. Stephenie Poris

*BodyByBariatrics blog does not replace medical advice. Seek the help of your health care professional if you have questions related to your condition. We strive for patients to achieve healthier, happier, longer lives through weight loss surgery

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