Body Contouring After Weight Loss
Every weight loss journey is different, but there’s one thing most patients will agree on: they are not easy. For most people who have experienced major weight loss after a gastric bypass or on their own, excess skin is not only painful and cumbersome – it can also be a reminder of a person you once were but are no longer today. By safely removing problematic excess skin with a procedure called body contouring, University of Chicago Medicine physicians can help you overcome this side effect of rapid, major weight loss.
What is Body Contouring?
When a person quickly loses a large amount of weight, skin that was previously tight-fitting may now hang because it doesn’t have enough elasticity to spring back into place. This can cause extra skin folds of tissue that get in the way during exercise or develop rashes or infections. Body contouring helps with skin removal after major weight loss; it involves surgically removing that excess skin. Body contouring is usually done in three stages and under general anesthesia:
- A belt lipectomy is first performed to remove the loose skin and fat around your waist or “belt line.” During a belt lipectomy, your surgeon makes a cut around your lower back and belly to take out extra skin and fat. The surgeon sews the tissue that’s left back together, making a smoother contour, flattening your stomach, lifting your buttocks and the outside of your thighs.
- Several months later, the surgeon removes excess skin and tissue from the back part of your upper arms (from shoulder to elbow), the upper back and breasts (women may opt for a breast lift, reduction, or implants).
- Approximately two to three months later, the surgeon removes excess skin on the inner thighs by making incisions along the inside of your legs.
Patients who undergo body contouring will experience scarring in the areas where excess skin is removed. However, many major weight loss patients consider body contouring a final procedure that is necessary to fully embrace their new body.
Why Choose UChicago Medicine for Body Contouring?
UChicago Medicine’s board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons are highly experienced in the most challenging body contouring cases. UChicago Medicine is a leader in using ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) in body contouring. UAL uses ultrasonic waves to more precisely target fat cells and is particularly effective for patients who have already had liposuction or who have fibrotic fat. Patients who receive weight loss surgery at UChicago Medicine will benefit from a continuum of care for body contouring surgery.
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