Body contouring is a common method used to improve your body’s shape and tone. The procedure may be done to improve the overall shape and appearance of the body, and it can also help tighten the skin and tissues of the body after experiencing a significant amount of weight loss.
It is common for those who have been significantly overweight for a long period of time to find that their skin is loose in areas such as the abdomen, upper arms or thighs after a large amount of weight loss. Unfortunately, this skin and the underlying tissues don’t always bounce back.
Recently, body contouring has been found to have a positive effect on long-term body mass index (BMI) in those who have lost a significant amount of weight. In short, those who have body contouring after significant weight loss appear to be more successful at keeping the weight off than those who opt not to undergo contouring procedures.
A study undertaken by members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) suggests that patients who undergo laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB), lose a significant amount of weight, and then have body contouring plastic surgery such as abdominoplasty (a tummy tuck), brachioplasty (an upper arm lift), or a thighplasty (a thigh lift) are much more likely to have long-term weight loss than patients who do not undergo body contouring.
Fifteen years after their body contouring surgeries, patients had an average body mass index (BMI) of 24.6. Those who did not undergo body contouring had an average BMI of 31. BMI is an indirect way of measuring or calculating body fat. Those with a BMI of 24.6 fall within the category of being at a normal size while those who have a BMI of 31 would be considered obese by American medical standards.
While the study specifically followed patients who lost weight as the result of a gastric band procedure, it may be extrapolated that patients who lose a significant amount of weight in general may have similar lasting results after body contouring. The study, however, did not explain why this might be the case, only that lasting weight loss was significantly more common after body contouring. Those who don’t undergo body contouring are much more likely to regain the lost weight within a mere four years of their weight loss.
Body contouring can resolve several issues after weight loss. Some patients who lose a large amount of weight suffer from unattractive folds and layers of excess skin that can result in poor self-esteem. In addition, such excess skin and tissues may cause physical discomfort. Exercise, a key element in a healthy weight loss plan or maintenance plan may be uncomfortable to perform with excess skin. The skin may rub against itself, or clothes may bind in an uncomfortable manner -- causing a decreased desire to exercise. Clothes may also not fit comfortably -- resulting in having to wear clothes that are larger than necessary. These factors, when combined, may result in a reduced desire to exercise or work at keeping the weight off.
Body contouring may bring with it greater self-esteem and a desire to stay more active and pay more attention to weight maintenance. In addition, a slimmer body combined with tighter tissues may cause increased comfort in clothing and while exercising. Patients may find themselves more aware of weight changes or fluctuations after body contouring, and thus may be better able to make adjustments to diet or exercise sooner than those who haven’t undergone body contouring.
If you have lost a significant amount of weight, congratulations! To learn more about body contouring and keeping off the weight, please call Monarch Plastic Surgery today at (913) 663-3838 for our Leawood and Lansing offices or (816)436-3262 for our North Kansas City location.