Karol Gutowski, MD, FACS

BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON
Questions? Call Ellen: 773-985-3993
773-985-3993

Liposuction

Can't get rid of stubborn fat? Learn about liposuction before you meet Dr Gutowski in person.

Transcription

A well-proportioned body is often considered an ideal of health and fitness. Despite good health and a reasonable level of fitness, some individuals may still have a body with disproportionate contours due to localized fat deposits. These areas of excess fatty tissue may be due to hereditary rather than a lack of weight control or fitness. If you are bothered by excess fat deposits that do not respond to diet or exercise, liposuction may be right for you.

In general, liposuction slims and reshapes specific areas of the body by removing pockets of excess fat to improve your body contours and ultimately, enhancing your self-image. Liposuction, also known technically as Lipoplasty, is a cosmetic procedure, one you elect to undergo to improve your personal appearance. Liposuction can remove excess fat from several regions of the body including beneath the chin, called Submental Liposuction, the upper arm, the male breast, the female breast and underarm region, the upper and lower abdomen, the back and flanks, the waist and love handles, the hip, thigh, and buttock region, the legs including the knees, calves, and ankles.

This program present an overview of Lipoplasty commonly referred to as liposuction. It is not a substitute for a complete consultation with a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, who may also be a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, is the first step to learn how liposuction can enhance your appearance and improve your self-image. In general, a consultation will include a discussion of your goals, an evaluation of your individual case, and the options available to you.

Your surgeon will also discuss the course of treatment recommended for you, the likely outcomes of liposuction, and any potential risks associated with the procedure. Your plastic surgeon will answer any questions you may have about liposuction. During a consultation, you will be asked to share your expectations for your surgery and your personal health history. Full disclosure of your health history is important for your safety. You should inform your physician of any life-threatening illness or medical conditions in your family. You must also be candid about your current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.

Liposuction is best performed on healthy adult men and women who are generally close to their ideal body weight. Good candidates for liposuction are individuals who practice good eating habits and exercise regularly. In addition, good candidates are individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing. A positive outlook with specific and realistic goals for improvement of your appearance is essential. In addition, good candidates have healthy skin that is firm and elastic and will conform well to new, slimmer contours following liposuction. If you smoke, you are at increased risk of poor healing including the formation of irregular scars, and therefore it is advisable to stop smoking for several weeks before and after surgery. Certain health conditions may preclude you as a candidate for liposuction or require special precautions. These conditions include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, or certain other circulatory disorders and diabetes.

By making the decision to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon, and following physician recommendations, you are taking an important step in helping to ensure your safety. A board-certified plastic surgeon is a physician who is specifically trained in plastic surgery of the face and entire body. Prior to your procedure, you will be asked to sign informed consent documents. These documents assure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and its potential risks and complications. In addition, you must commit to precisely following all of the instructions you are given. Instructions include presurgical considerations such as testing and medications, day of surgery requirements, medications, and specific information related to the use of anesthesia.

Prior to surgery, it is important to discuss all your questions and convey to your surgeon any concerns you may have regarding your surgery. Liposuction may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, an ambulatory surgical facility, or a hospital. Patients will be under local anesthesia either with or without sedation or general anesthesia. The decision for anesthesia will be based on the requirements of your specific procedure, any additional procedures that may be performed in the same surgical session, and considerations of patient and surgeon preference.

Liposuction may be performed in conjunction with other surgical procedures. Commonly, these procedures include a neck lift, breast procedures, a tummy tuck, or body lift procedures. Multiple procedures can increase the length and complexity of surgery, and therefore, can increase risk of complications. Discuss this thoroughly with your plastic surgeon. Liposuction is a surgical procedure that requires small incisions in or near the area where excess fat will be removed and new contours will be shaped. In general, a canula is inserted into each incisions to loosen excess fat and sculpt new contours. The fat is then removed from the body using a surgical vacuum or powered suction device.

Liposuction may be performed with one or a combination of these techniques. The super wet technique, or alternatively, a technique called tumescence, requires an infusion of saline solution with added adrenaline and possibly anesthetic prior to removal of excess fat. This allows the fat cells to swell and blood vessels to constrict with the potential need for only a local anesthetic, less blood loss, and bruising. Ultrasound assistant liposuction or UAL includes the use of ultrasonic energy to liquefy excess fat prior to surgical suctioning. This may be done through a canula that emits ultrasonic energy inserted in the treatment area prior to fat removal.

Power-assisted liposuction uses a power-driven device to help break up fat deposits before suctioning rather than your surgeon's physical power and thrust. Manual suction uses no power, but rather a syringe attached to the canula to manually withdraw fat. Manual suction is more commonly used for smaller areas such as the face or to harvest fat for use in fat grafting. One or multiple areas of the body may be treated with liposuction in a single session. Large-volume liposuction, which may require special precautions, including an overnight hospital stay, is defined as suctioning greater than five liters or 5,000 cc's of fat.

Depending on the size of the canula used, your incisions may or may not require stitches. You may have small, thin tubes placed in your incisions to drain any excess fluid that accumulates, or you may be placed in a compression garment, or wrapped in elastic bandages to reduce swelling, and to help your skin to conform to your new contours. Before being released, you and an accompanying family member, friend, or caregiver will be given specific instructions and signs to watch for in the treated regions or in your overall health. Your plastic surgeon will advise you to begin light walking immediately after your procedure and to engage in light walking every two to three hours regularly in the first few days after liposuction. Other instructions may include drain care, wound care, and wearing compression garments around the clock in the first weeks following liposuction. Follow all instructions carefully. This is essential to the success of your outcome. You will also be instructed when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.

Following liposuction, you may experience numbness, bruising and soreness. In addition, your skin may feel unusually firm. These are all common conditions. Any discomfort you experience can be controlled with oral medications. Complications associated with liposuction include uneven contours, rippling, or loose skin, skin or nerve damage, irregular pigmentation, infection at the surgical site, fat clots, blood clots in the legs, blood pooling beneath the skin, or hematoma, fluid loss, or fluid accumulation called seroma, and infection or poor healing of the incision site. Puncture of internal organs is a very rare, but possible occurrence. All surgery carries risks associated with anesthesia. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction carried the additional risk of thermal burn or heat injury.

Depending on the extent of your liposuction, you can expect to be up and about within a few days following surgery. Initial healing of incisions may take five to 10 days at which time any sutures will be removed, if necessary. Healing will continue for several weeks to months as swelling continues to resolve, and your new contours take shape. Secondary procedures may be required if skin has not conformed to new contours, or if rippling, dimpling, or uneven contours result. It is important to resume good eating habits and regular exercise after liposuction to maintain your weight and your new, proportionate body image. Diligent sun protection is essential in the first year following liposuction to prevent pigment irregularities.

Choosing to undergo liposuction or any plastic surgery procedure, whether cosmetic or reconstructive, is an important decision, so is selecting a plastic surgeon. Not all doctors who perform plastic surgery, or who use the title of plastic surgeon are board-certified in plastic surgery. In order to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a physician must graduate from an accredited medical school and then complete a minimum of five years of surgical training including an accredited plastic surgery residency program. The physician must pass a comprehensive written and oral exam in order to become a board-certified plastic surgeon.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have prepared this educational program to supplement your personal consultation with a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Plastic surgeons with this certification have completed approved surgical training and rigorous examinations in plastic surgery including both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures of the face and entire body.

A flat, well-toned abdomen is something many of us strive to achieve through exercise and weight control. Regardless of effort, sometimes even individuals of normal body weight and proportion can develop an abdomen that protrudes with loose, sagging skin that may hang over or below the waistline. The most common causes of these conditions include pregnancy, hereditary, or significant fluctuations in weight. If you are bothered by a protruding abdomen that does not respond to diet or exercise, a tummy tuck may be right for you. In general, a tummy tuck restores a flatter, firmer appearance to the abdomen to improve your body contours and ultimately enhance your self-image.

A tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure, one you elect to improve your personal appearance. Technically called Abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck can improve the appearance of the upper and lower abdomen by reducing excess sagging skin and tissues. The procedure can also correct Diastatis, a condition in which the abdominal muscles have separated. A tummy tuck can be modified to address more limited conditions of excess fat and skin localized in the lower abdomen. Lipoplasty may be recommended in conjunction with a tummy tuck to reduce excess localized fat and to reshape the love handles or waistline. Where excess fat is the only factor and skin tone is good, Lipoplasty, commonly known as liposuction, may be recommended as an alternative to reshape your abdomen.

This program represents an overview of Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck. It is not a substitute for a complete consultation with a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, who may also be a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, is the first step to learn how a tummy tuck can enhance your appearance and improve your self-image. In general, a consultation will include a discussion of your goals, an evaluation of your individual case, and the options available to you. Your surgeon will also discuss the course of treatment recommended for you, the likely outcomes of a tummy tuck, and any potential risks associated with the procedure.

Your plastic surgeon will answer any questions you may have about Abdominoplasty. During a consultation, you will be asked to share your expectations for surgery and your personal health history. Full disclosure of your health history is important for your safety. You should inform your physician of any life-threatening illness or medical conditions in your family. You may also be candid about your current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. Abdominoplasty is best performed on healthy adult men and women who are generally close to their ideal body weight. Good candidates for a tummy tuck are individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing. A positive outlook with specific and realistic goals for improvement of your appearance is essential.

Pregnancy or significant fluctuations in weight can affect the improvement achieved through a tummy tuck. You may be advised to postpone your procedure if you are planning future pregnancies, or if you are not at a stable and relatively normal weight for your body type and build. If you smoke, you are at increased risk of poor healing including the formation of irregular scars, and therefore, it is advisable to stop smoking for several weeks before and after surgery. Certain health conditions may require special precautions for individuals considering a tummy tuck. These conditions include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, or certain other circulatory disorders, and diabetes.

By making a decision to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon, and following physician recommendations, you are taking an important step in helping to ensure your safety. A board-certified plastic surgeon is a physician who is specifically trained in plastic surgery of the face and entire body. Prior to your procedure, you will be asked to sign informed consent documents. These documents ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo, the potential risks and complications. In addition, you must commit to precisely following all of the instructions you are given. Instructions include presurgical considerations such as testing and medications, day of surgery requirements, medications, and specific information related to the use of anesthesia.

Prior to surgery, it is important to discuss all your questions and convey to your surgeon any concerns you may have regarding your surgery. Abdominoplasty may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, an ambulatory surgical facility, or a hospital. A tummy tuck is most commonly performed under general anesthesia. However, in some cases local anesthesia with sedation may be used. The decision for anesthesia will be based on the requirements of your specific procedure, any additional procedures that may be performed in the same surgical session, and considerations of patient, and surgeon preference.

A tummy tuck may be performed in conjunction with other surgical procedures. More commonly, these procedures include Lipoplasty, a buttock or thigh lift, surgery to improve the size, shape, or position of your breasts, or other cosmetic procedures. Multiple procedures can increase the length and complexity of surgery, and therefore, can increase risk of complications. Discuss this thoroughly with your plastic surgeon. A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure requiring a horizontal incision in the area between the naval and the pubic bone. The length of the incision is determined by the amount of correction necessary to achieve your goals, and more specifically, the amount of skin to be reduced. The incision may only be a few inches in length, may extend from hip to hip, or may extend beyond the hip to achieve optimal results. A second incision around the naval may be necessary to correct excess skin in the upper abdomen. Through the incision, weakened abdominal muscles will be repaired, if necessary, excess fat will be removed using surgical or Lipoplasty techniques. Excess tissue and skin will be removed. Your incisions will be closed with sutures or surgical clips.

Following your tummy tuck, you may have small, thin tubes placed in your incisions to drain any excess fluid that accumulates, or you may be placed in a compression garment, or wrapped in elastic bandages to reduce swelling. Before being released, you and an accompanying family member, friend, or caregiver will be given specific instructions and signs to watch for in the treated regions and in your overall health. Standing fully upright may be uncomfortable and may stress any internal sutures as they heal. For this reason, you may be instructed to maintain a somewhat bent position and to sleep with pillows elevating your knees.

Your plastic surgeon will advise you to begin light walking immediately after your procedure and to engage in light walking every two to three hours regularly in the first few days after a tummy tuck. Other instructions may include drain care, wound care, and wearing compression stockings to prevent the formation of blood clots in the legs. Follow all instructions carefully. This is essential to the success of your outcome. You will also be instructed when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.

Following a tummy tuck, you may experience numbness, swelling, bruising and soreness. In addition, your skin may feel unusually firm. These are all common conditions. Postoperative discomfort can be controlled with medications. Complications associated with a tummy tuck include blood clots in the legs, blood pooling beneath the skin, or hematoma, fluid accumulation or seroma, and infection, or poor healing of the incision site. All surgery carries risks associated with anesthesia. Depending on the extent of your tummy tuck, you can expect to be up and about within a few days after surgery. Initial healing of incisions may take five to 10 days at which time any sutures or clips will be removed, if necessary.

Healing will continue for several weeks to months as swelling continues to resolve, and your new contours take shape. During this time, while it is important you remain active, you should not engage in any lifting, bending, pushing, or strenuous fitness until your plastic surgeon has given you clearance to return to a normal activity. The results of a tummy tuck are generally permanent as long as you maintain a stable weight and healthy lifestyle including eating well and a regular fitness routine. Diligent sun protection is essential in the first year following liposuction to prevent pigment irregularities and darkening of surgical scars.

Choosing to undergo a tummy tuck or any plastic surgery procedure, whether cosmetic or reconstructive, is an important decision, so is selecting a plastic surgeon. Not all doctors who perform plastic surgery, or who use the title of plastic surgeon are board-certified in plastic surgery. In order to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a physician must graduate from an accredited medical school and then complete a minimum of five years of surgical training including an accredited plastic surgery residency program. The physician must pass a comprehensive written and oral exam in order to become a board-certified plastic surgeon.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have prepared this educational program to supplement your personal consultation with a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Plastic surgeons with this certification have completed approved surgical training and rigorous examinations in plastic surgery including both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures of the face and entire body.

A well-toned body with smooth, firm contours is regarded as a sign of fitness achieved by healthy diet and exercise, but exercise and a proper diet cannot always achieve results for individuals who have loose, sagging skin and uneven contours. Aging, sun damage, pregnancy, and significant fluctuations in weight, as well as genetic factors may contribute to poor tissue elasticity and can result in sagging of the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, and upper arms. If you are bothered by uneven body contours or saggy, loose tissues, and skin that does not respond to diet or exercise, a body lift may be right for you. A body lift is a surgical procedure performed to improve excess, loose, and sagging skin, and irregular contours of specific body regions, typically, the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks.

Body lift procedures can reshape and firm contours of the abdomen, sides, and lower back area. Body lifts can also improve the appearance of buttocks that may be sagging, flat, or shaped unevenly. Body lift procedures usually involve some use of liposuction. In cases where skin elasticity is poor, a combination of liposuction and body lift techniques may be recommended. This program presents an overview of the body lift procedure. It is not a substitute for a complete consultation with a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, who may also be a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, is the first step to learn how body lift procedures can enhance your appearance and improve your self-image. In general, a consultation will include a discussion of your goals, an evaluation of your individual case, and the options available to you.

Your surgeon will also discuss the course of treatment recommended for you, the likely outcomes of your body lift, and any potential risks associated with the procedure. Your plastic surgeon will answer any questions you may have about surgical body lifts. During a consultation, you will be asked to share your expectations for surgery and your personal health history. Full disclosure of your health history is important for your safety. You should inform your physician of any life-threatening illness or medical conditions in your family. You must also be candid about your current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.

A body lift is best performed on healthy adult men and women who are generally close to their ideal body weight. Good candidates are individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing. A positive outlook with specific and realistic goals for improvement of your appearance is essential. Pregnancy or significant fluctuations in weight can affect the improvement achieved by a body lift. You may be advised to postpone your body lift if you are planning future pregnancies, or if you are not at a stable and relatively normal weight for your height. If you smoke, you are at increased risk of poor healing and more visible scars, and therefore, it is advisable to stop smoking for several weeks before and after surgery. Certain health conditions may preclude you as a candidate for a body lift or require special precautions. These conditions include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, or certain other circulatory disorders, and diabetes.

By making the decision to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon, and following physician recommendations, you are taking an important step in helping to ensure your safety. A board-certified plastic surgeon is a physician who is specifically trained in plastic surgery of the face and entire body. Prior to your procedure, you will be asked to sign informed consent documents. These documents assure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo, and its potential risks and complications. In addition, you must commit to precisely following all of the instructions you are given. Instructions include presurgical considerations such as testing and medications, day of surgery requirements, medications, and specific information related to anesthesia.

Prior to surgery, it is important to discuss all your questions and convey any concerns you may have regarding your surgery to your surgeon. A body lift may be performed in an accredited, office-based surgical facility, an ambulatory surgical facility, or a hospital. Body lift procedures are more commonly performed under general anesthesia. However, in some cases, local association with sedation may be used. The decision for anesthesia will be based on the requirements of your specific procedure, any additional procedures that may be performed in the same surgical session, and considerations of patient and surgeon preference.

A body lift may be performed in conjunction with other surgical procedures such a liposuction or surgery to improve the size, shape, and position of your breasts. Your health and the extent of your body lift will determine if procedures can be safely performed in one surgical session, or if staged procedures may be more appropriate. Your body lift will be individualized to your specific conditions and the regions to be treated. Conditions that may be improved by a body lift include dimpled or uneven soft tissue called cellulite, lax, loose skin, excess fat and tissue, and sagging body contours. A body lift is a surgical procedure, and therefore, require incisions. The incisions are usually lengthy. Incision length and location depend on the amount and location of excess to be removed, as well as surgeon preference. Advanced techniques usually allow incisions to be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing and swimsuits.

One common technique for a body lift places incisions along a bikini pattern to tighten the abdomen, groin, waist, thigh, and buttocks. The incision around the body usually within thong bikini lines removes a belt of excess skin and fat, and repositions, and tightens tissues for a smoother, better toned lower body contour. Through these incisions, your plastic surgeon will remove excess fat, reshape, and reduce excess underlying tissue, redrape the skin over the newly shaped contours, and reduce excess skin. Sutures, skin adhesives, tapes, or clips close the skin incisions.

Following a body lift, you may have small, thin tubes placed in or near your incisions to drain any excess fluid that accumulates, or you may be placed in a compression garment, or wrapped in elastic bandages to reduce swelling. Before being released, you and an accompanying family member, friend, or caregiver will be given specific instructions and signs to watch for in the treated regions, or in your overall health. If you have your abdomen or waistline contoured by a body lift, standing fully upright may be uncomfortable and may stress any internal sutures as they heal. A buttocks lift may make it uncomfortable for you to sit or lie flat. For these reasons, you may be instructed to maintain a somewhat bent position and to sleep with pillows elevating your knees.

Your plastic surgeon will advise you to begin light walking soon after your procedure and to engage in light walking every two to three hours regularly in the first few days after a body lift. Other instructions may include drain care, wound care, and wearing compression garments. Follow all instructions carefully. This is essential to achieving the best outcome. You will also be instructed when to follow up with your plastic surgeon. Following a body lift, you will experience some numbness, swelling, bruising and soreness. In addition, your skin may feel unusually firm. These are all common conditions. Any discomfort you experience can be controlled with medications.

Complications associated with body lift procedures include blood pooling beneath the skin called a hematoma, fluid accumulation under the skin or seroma, and infection, or poor healing of the incision site, blood clots in the legs, excessive or widened scars, numbness, and other changes in skin sensation, and irregular, or asymmetric contours or scars. All surgery carries risks associated with anesthesia. These risks will be fully discussed prior to your consent. Depending on the extent of your body lift, you can expect to be up and about within a few days following surgery. Initial healing of incisions may take five to 10 days at which time any sutures or clips will be removed, if necessary.

Healing will continue for several weeks to months as swelling continues to resolve, and your new contours take shape. During this time, it is important you remain active. However, you should not engage in any lifting, bending, pushing, or strenuous exercise until your plastic surgeon has given you clearance. The smoother, tighter contours that result from a body lift are apparent almost immediately although initially obscured by some swelling and bruising. In addition, skin quality is dramatically improved both in appearance and feel. The resulting incision lines are permanent although they may be concealed by many styles of undergarments. The results of a body lift are generally permanent as long as you maintain a stable weight and healthy lifestyle including eating well and a regular fitness routine. Diligent sun protection is essential, particularly during the first year following your body lift, to prevent pigment irregularities and darkening of surgical scars.

Choosing to undergo a body lift or any plastic surgery procedure, whether cosmetic or reconstructive, is an important decision, so is selecting a plastic surgeon. Not all doctors who perform plastic surgery, or who use the title of plastic surgeon are board-certified in plastic surgery. In order to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a physician must graduate from an accredited medical school and then complete a minimum of five years of surgical training including an accredited plastic surgery residency program. The physician must pass a comprehensive written and oral exam in order to become a board-certified plastic surgeon.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have prepared this educational program to supplement your personal consultation with a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Plastic surgeons with this certification have completed approved surgical training and rigorous examinations in plastic surgery including both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures of the face and entire body.

Dramatic weight loss whether achieved by proper nutrition and exercise, or as the result of bariatric surgery or other forms of medical treatment can be very rewarding. However, once you reach your weight loss goals, you may not have the fit and healthy body image you desire. Following weight reduction surgery, or any substantial weight loss, the skin and tissues that have been severely stretched often lack elasticity and cannot conform to the new size of the body. As a result, sagging pockets of skin may form around the fact, neck, and jawline, at the upper arms, in the abdominal region, and the lower back, or around the hips, buttocks, groin and thighs. In addition, women who have lost large amounts of weight may find their breasts have flattened and now sag significantly.

Body contouring after major weight loss is an important and rewarding phase of your progress to a healthier, more proportionate body and can help you to further enhance your body image and self-confidence. In general, surgical body contouring following major weight loss improve the shape and tone of the underlying tissue, and removes excess fat and skin. The result is a more normal appearance to the body with smoother contours. This is, in essence, the final phase of your long weight loss experience.

Before you undergo body contouring following major weight loss, it is important to understand these very important considerations. Your weight loss must have stabilized. If you continue to lose weight, sagging skin will redevelop. If you rapidly regain the weight you have lost, you will stress your already weakened and thinned skin. Weight gain may create new stretch marks and widen existing scars. Your body contouring will take time, often requiring multiple procedures that are staged for your health, safety and comfort. Many months of recovery may be required between each stage. In total, your post-weight loss body contouring may last as long as or longer than your weight loss experience. In order to remove excess sagging skin, multiple large incisions are required. In general, they may be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing and swimsuits, but this is not always the case.

This program represents an overview of body contouring following major weight loss. It is not a substitute for a complete consultation with a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, who may also be a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, is the first step to learn how body contouring after major weight loss can enhance your appearance and improve your self-image. In general, a consultation will include a discussion of your goals, an evaluation of your individual case, and the options available to you. Your surgeon will also discuss the course of treatment recommended for you, the likely outcomes of post-weight loss body contouring, and any potential risks associated with the procedure, or procedures you elect to undergo.

Your plastic surgeon will answer any questions you may have about post-weight loss body contouring. During a consultation, you will be asked to share your expectations for surgery and your personal health history. Full disclosure of your health history is important for your safety. You should inform your physician of any life-threatening illness or medical conditions in your family. You must also be candid about your current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.

Post-weight loss body contouring is best performed on healthy adult men and women who are generally close to their ideal body weight. Good candidates are individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing. A positive outlook with specific and realistic goals for improvement of your appearance is essential. Pregnancy or significant fluctuations in weight can affect the improvement achieved by body contouring procedures. You may be advised to postpone certain body contouring procedures if you are planning future pregnancies, or if you are not at or able to maintain a stable and relatively normal weight for your height. If you smoke, you are at increased risk for poor healing and more visible scars, and therefore, it is advisable to stop smoking for several weeks before and after surgery. Certain health conditions may preclude you as a candidate for some body contouring procedures, require special precautions. These conditions include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, or certain other circulatory disorders, and diabetes.

By making the decision to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon, and following physician recommendations, you are taking an important step in helping to ensure your safety. A board-certified plastic surgeon is a physician who is specifically trained in plastic surgery of the face and entire body. Prior to any procedure or procedures, you will be asked to sign informed consent documents. These documents ensure that you fully understand the procedure or procedures you will undergo, and the potential risks, and complications. In addition, you must commit to precisely following all of the instructions you are given. Instructions include presurgical considerations such as testing and medications, day of surgery requirements, medications, and specific information related to anesthesia.

Prior to surgery, it is important to discuss all your questions and convey to your surgeon any concerns you may have regarding your surgery. Post-weight loss body contouring procedures may be performed in an accredited, office-based surgical facility, an ambulatory surgical facility, or a hospital. Body contouring procedures are more commonly performed under general anesthesia. However, in some cases, local anesthesia with sedation may be used. The decision for anesthesia will be based on the requirements of your specific procedure, any additional procedures that may be performed in the same surgical session, and considerations for patient and surgeon preference.

Your body contouring following major weight loss will be individualized to your specific concerns and the regions to be treated. Your concerns, goals, health, safety and comfort, as well as the surgical judgment of your surgeon will define a surgical plan for you. While it may have taken you 18 to 24 months or more to lose all the excess weight, it may take equally as long for your body contouring to be completed. In addition to preparing yourself for stages of contouring and recovery following your procedures, you must also accept that a single procedure to treat a specific area may not achieve the results you desire. Uneven contours may remain or can develop following your body contouring surgery. In some cases, skin elasticity is so poor that relapse of the excess skin is possible.

Specific plastic surgery procedures that be recommended for your individualized post-weight loss body contouring plan include fact lift to reduce sagging of the mid-face, jawline and neck, breast lift with or without implants to correct sagging, flattened breasts, tummy tuck to correct the apron of excess skin having over your abdomen, body lift to correct sagging at the abdomen, buttocks, groin, and outer thighs, thigh lift to correct sagging along the thighs, arm lift to correct sagging at the upper arms.

All body contouring procedures require incisions to remove excess skin, and thereby improve body contours. In many cases, these incisions may be extensive. Incision length and location depend on the amount and area of excess skin to be removed as well as surgeon preference. Through your incisions, your plastic surgeon may remove excess fat, reshape and reduce excess underlying tissue, redrape the skin over the newly shaped contours, and reduce excess skin. Sutures, skin adhesives, tapes, or clips close the skin incisions.

Following body contouring procedures, you may have small, thin tubes placed in or near your incisions to drain any excess fluid that accumulates, or you may be placed in a compression garment, or wrapped in elastic bandages to reduce swelling. Before being released home following your procedure, you and an accompanying family member, friend, or caregiver will be given specific instructions and signs to watch for in the treated regions, or regarding your overall health. If you had your abdomen or waistline contoured, standing fully upright may be uncomfortable and may stress internal sutures as our incisions heal. If the buttons have been treated, it may be uncomfortable for you to sit or lie flat. For these reasons, you may be instructed to maintain a somewhat bent position and to sleep with pillows elevating your knees.

Your plastic surgeon will advise you to begin light walking soon after your procedure and to engage in light walking every two to three hours regularly in the first few days after surgery. Other instructions may include drain care, wound care, and wearing compression garments. Follow all instructions carefully. This is essential to the success of your outcome. You will also be instructed when to follow up with your plastic surgeon. Following body contouring procedures, you may experience numbness, swelling, bruising and soreness. In addition, your skin may feel unusually firm. These are all common conditions. Any discomfort you experience can be controlled with medications.

Complications associated with post-weight loss body contouring procedures include blood pooling beneath the skin called a hematoma, fluid accumulation under the skin or seroma, infection, or poor healing of the incision, blood clots in the legs, excessive or widened scars, numbness, and other changes in skin sensation, and irregular, or asymmetric contours or scars. All surgery carries risks associated with anesthesia. These risks will be fully discussed prior to your consent.

Depending on the extent of your procedure or procedures, you can expect to be up and about within a few days following surgery. Initial healing of incisions may take five to 10 days at which time any sutures or clips will be removed, if necessary. Healing will continue for several weeks to months as swelling continues to resolve, and your new contours take shape. During this time, it is important to remaining active. However, you should not engage in any lifting, bending, pushing, or strenuous activities until your plastic surgeon has given you clearance.

The smoother, tighter contours that result from post-weight loss body contouring procedures are apparent almost immediately although initially obscured by some swelling and bruising. In addition, skin quality is dramatically improved both in appearance and feel. The resulting incision lines are permanent although they may be concealed by many styles of undergarments. The results of post-weight loss body contouring are generally permanent as long as you maintain a stable weight and healthy lifestyle including eating well and a regular exercise routine. Once you have completely recovered from one series of procedures, it may be time to begin preparing for additional procedures to target other areas of the face or body. During the entire course of your body contouring, you must practice diligent sun protection until the healing process of all incisions and the resulting scars are fully complete. It might take a year or more following a given procedure for scars to refine and fade to some degree.

Choosing to undergo a body contouring or any plastic surgery procedure, whether cosmetic or reconstructive, is an important decision, so is selecting a plastic surgeon. Not all doctors who perform plastic surgery, or who use the title of plastic surgeon are board-certified in plastic surgery. In order to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a physician must graduate from an accredited medical school and then complete a minimum of five years of surgical training including an accredited plastic surgery residency program. The physician must pass a comprehensive written and oral exam in order to become a board-certified plastic surgeon.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have prepared this educational program to supplement your personal consultation with a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Plastic surgeons with this certification have completed approved surgical training and rigorous examinations in plastic surgery including both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures of the face and entire body.