Last updated date: 10-Jun-2023
Originally Written in English
A significant weight loss comes with various benefits, especially for people who have been attempting to cut off weight. Most people often opt for various options, including weight loss surgical procedures and lifestyle changes, to achieve this. However, losing a substantial amount of weight often causes the tissues and skin to lose elasticity to conform to the new body size.
Therefore, if you wish to modify this and improve the shape of the supporting tissue, you can consider body contouring. It’s the best alternative of removing stubborn fat that fails to respond to other treatment options, including exercise and diet. It also helps eliminate excess sagging skin, giving you a good proportional look with smooth contours.
What is Body Contouring?
Body contouring, also known as body sculpting, involves surgical and non-surgical procedures to enhance skin and tissue appearance. This is after a significant weight loss due to bariatric surgery, diet, or pregnancy. Thus, these procedures help remove excess fat and sagging skin to restore the standard shape and size.
The common body contouring procedures can include;
Breast lift: This involves raising the breasts to eliminate excess sagging skin and tighten the nearby tissues. This helps in reshaping and supporting the new breast contours.
Arm lift: This aims at reducing loose sagging skin drooping downwards. It also helps tighten, strengthen, and smoothen the underlying supporting tissue that describes the overall upper arm shape.
Lower body lift: This aims at correcting loose sagging on the lower body, including the buttocks, abdomen, and thighs. It also helps enhance the tone and shape of the underlying skin, supporting the skin and fat.
Facelift: This procedure aims at improving the visible aging signs around the face and the neck. It involves relaxing the facial skin that causes sagging. It also deepens the fold lines located between the corner of the mouth and nose.
Tummy tucks: This involves the removal of excess skin and fat in the abdomen. It restores the separated and weak muscles to provide a good profile that is firm and smooth.
Medial thigh lift: This is a procedure to reshape and adjust the thighs by removing excess fat and skin. This eventually results in smooth skin and well-balanced contours of both the thighs and lower body area.
Ideal Candidates for Body Contouring
Not every person is eligible to undergo a body contouring procedure. Usually, during the consultation, the medical provider will examine your condition, including overall body status. This is to confirm that you are the right candidate.
In general, the best candidates for body contouring procedure include individuals who;
- Are non-smokers
- Are in a good health state without any medical issue that can increase risks of complications or interfere with recovery
- Have a stabilized weight loss
- Are dedicated to leading a good healthy lifestyle along with proper dieting and fitness
- Have realistic expectations and goals, and a positive point of view
What Does Body Contouring Involve?
The initial aim of body contouring is to improve overall body shape and appearance by eliminating excess fat and saggy skin. This objective is achievable through surgical and non-surgical techniques, depending on a person’s expectations.
The types of non-surgical body contouring methods include;
- CoolSculpting or cold treatment
The coolSculpting technique uses temperatures that are extremely cold to destroy fat cells but not harm the skin. It involves the use of equipment that pulls in parts of the skin through suction. It then freezes it down to kill the fat beneath for a certain fixed period. CoolSculpting is applicable in various body parts such as the belly, arms, thighs, and chin.
- Heat treatment or SculpSure
This technique is designed to reduce fat in the body. It utilizes laser energy to destroy the fat cell's structure, and the body will then remove the dead cells. Heat treatment uses a flat applicator; hence it’s less effective on curvy body areas. It, however, works well for the thighs and stomach.
- Radiofrequency energy
This involves radiofrequency tools that convey energy to generate heat, hence killing the fat cell. Since it mainly focuses on the water within the cells, it’s essential to keep the body hydrated in advance. On the contrary, the treatment won’t be effective if the body is dehydrated.
- Ultrasound energy
This method of treatment involves the use of ultrasound energy to dissolve fat. Unlike the other treatment approaches, this requires the physician to control the device by moving it manually. It works well on the abdomen but is not suitable for other body parts and doesn’t cause discomfort.
Just like non-surgical procedures, the surgical approaches also aim at helping you achieve the desired goals. The surgery steps for surgical body contouring include the following;
- Administration of anesthesia
The plastic surgeon often starts by giving anesthesia medication to prevent pain sensations and provide comfort during surgery. Depending on the extent of the operation and what you intend to achieve, the surgeon can either administer general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. However, the surgeon will help you choose the most suitable one.
- Incision creation
Body contouring is typically a major procedure; hence, it involves creating a large incision to take out excess skin. Mostly, the incision or cuts can be extensive. The pattern and length of the incision usually depend on the position and amount of excess skin to remove. Also, it can depend on your preference as well as the surgical opinion of the surgeon.
Modern techniques enable the surgeon to create incisions in the strategic areas where they are less visible. Furthermore, the body contouring procedure is done in several stages. The nature of the condition, general objectives, and the physician’s best opinion determines the surgical treatment plan.
It can take two or more years before you finally lose all the excessive weight. At the same time, it might take a while for the body contouring results to be complete.
After the body contouring procedure, the surgeon will put a bandage and dressing on the incision to facilitate healing. They will also provide significant guidelines and instructions, including;
- The medications to take to facilitate the healing process and those to apply to the surgical wound
- Caring for the surgical areas
- The signs and concerns to watch out for on the surgical wound and the overall health
- Follow up with the medical provider or surgeon
The doctor might also instruct you to refrain from straining, lifting, and bending for several days or weeks. This will depend on the surgical area and extent. If the procedure involves thighs or abdomen tightening, the doctor will ask you to avoid standing completely upright.
It’s also essential to avoid stressing the inner sutures during the recovery. Always ensure that you sleep while elevating the knees with a pillow. You can reduce the risks of blood clotting in the legs by taking short walks and consuming enough fluids.
After the body contouring procedure, you will begin to see the results immediately. Nonetheless, it might take several months, two years, or even more before eventually noticing the outcome.
You should expect visible and noticeable scars after the procedure. While these might be permanent, it’s essential to accept that part of body contour is proportional to the new weight and body shape.
Fortunately, the body contouring results are long-lasting, especially if you retain a stable weight and overall body fitness. But as you age, it’s normal for the body to lose some of the firmness gradually.
Lastly, you should note that there is no guarantee that you will achieve your desired results. In certain cases, it might be impossible to obtain an optimal outcome with one procedure. Therefore, an additional surgical intervention might be necessary to get the results you want.
Risks and Complications of Body Contouring
The choice to undergo body contouring plastic surgery is usually personal. This means that a person has to decide whether the associated benefits will help accomplish the desired goals. It’s also essential to understand if the risks and possible complications of the procedure are acceptable.
Before undergoing the treatment, the plastic surgeon will first discuss with you the risks and side effects that might arise. You may also be required to sign forms of consent to confirm that you completely understand the surgery and complications.
In general, these are the potential body contouring risks and complications;
- Anesthesia risks (adverse reaction)
- Seroma (accumulation of fluids)
- Blood clotting, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis
- Changes in the skin feeling or sensation
- Excessive scarring or widening of the scars
- Poor healing of the wound
- Loss of skin
- Contour irregularity or residual skin laxity
- Unfavorable scarring
In general, body contouring is a treatment procedure that aims at improving skin appearance following a major weight loss. Normally, losing a significant amount of weight leaves the skin saggy and loose. Hence, this procedure helps reshape the new body. Body contouring involves a range of different choices. However, the first and most essential thing to consider is finding a certified professional plastic surgeon.
For the best treatment procedures and services, you can consider the CloudHospital medical platform. It works with a number of professional plastic surgeons and other specialists with skills in both surgical and non-surgical methods. With this, there is no doubt that you will achieve the results you desire.