American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Four questions to ask before you consider body contouring


Whether you have achieved a significant weight loss goal, are struggling with separated abdominal muscles or are simply looking to fine-tune your workout results, you may be considering body contouring treatments. In your research, you will quickly find that there is a wide range of body contouring options, including both surgical and nonsurgical.

To choose the right body contouring procedure for you, start by selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area who has experience with body contouring treatments including tummy tucks, mommy makeovers, liposuction and CoolSculpting®.

At your consultation, be sure to ask these four important questions, along with any others that you have to help you make the right body contouring decision for your specific needs and goals.

Which body contouring procedure is right for me?

The best body contouring procedure for you will depend on your goals and current body shape and type. If you have recently achieved a significant weight loss goal, for example, loose abdominal skin might be one of your top concerns. In this case, a tummy tuck with liposuction may be an ideal option. While a tummy tuck can remove and tighten excess skin, liposuction can address stubborn fat that isn't responding to diet and exercise alone.

Women who have had children and are looking to treat separated abdominal muscles (a condition known as diastasis recti), loose skin, stubborn fat or other concerns such as drooping breasts, can be good candidates for a mommy makeover. This combination procedure includes multiple body contouring treatments wrapped into one surgery. Tummy tuck, liposuction and a breast lift with or without implants are some of the most common procedures to include in a mommy makeover. However, you can customize your mommy makeover to suit your unique needs.

For men and women looking to fine-tune their workout results it might be worth considering nonsurgical body contouring options like CoolSculpting to treat exercise-resistant fat in challenging areas. CoolSculpting can be used on nearly any area of the body, including your abdomen, hips, thighs, back, under chin and upper arms. One of the biggest advantages of nonsurgical body contouring is that these treatments do not require extensive downtime.

Am I a good candidate for body contouring?

The ideal candidate for body contouring will already be at or very close to his or her target weight. However, it is never too early to start planning an upcoming body contouring treatment, even if you are still working on your fitness goals.

Ask your plastic surgeon what you can do right now to improve your body contouring results down the road. Hitting your weight loss target is an excellent place to start, along with establishing healthy habits now so that you can easily maintain and prolong your body contouring results later. Even if you are not quite ready for your body contouring procedure right now, you can still take steps to get yourself there and work towards amazing results.

What kind of results can I expect from body contouring?

It is vital that you maintain realistic and accurate expectations for your body contouring results as you begin the planning process and go into your procedure. Your plastic surgeon should be transparent about the benefits and limitations of each body contouring treatment you are considering so that you can make an informed decision about the best options for you.

Body contouring procedures are meant to serve as tools to enhance your natural body shape and fine-tune workout results. Because these treatments are not weight loss methods, you should not expect to lose a significant amount of weight as a result.

It is also important to understand that while nonsurgical body contouring treatments can be very effective, they are not going to give you the same dramatic results that are possible with a surgical procedure like a tummy tuck or liposuction. Your plastic surgeon should help you weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each type of procedure to help you choose the best fit for your goals.

Finally, know that your body contouring results won't appear overnight, even with nonsurgical treatments like CoolSculpting. Be prepared to dedicate some time to the process. That said, most people find that their body contouring results were well worth the wait in the long run.

Are there risks involved?

It is always a good idea to have an understanding of both the benefits and drawbacks of a cosmetic procedure before jumping in. No reputable plastic surgeon will tell you that there are absolutely no risks involved, though in the case of nonsurgical treatments in particular, the risks are often minimal.

Your plastic surgeon should be upfront and honest about potential complications with your procedure, as well as clearly explain what you can do to help to minimize the risk of complications before, during and after your procedure.


The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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