American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

How to prepare for post-weight loss body contouring surgery

preparation for body contouring after weight loss

Losing a large amount of weight through diet and exercise or weight loss surgery is a noteworthy achievement. However, significant weight loss can often leave behind loose unwanted skin in areas of the body including the abdomen, arms, thighs and buttocks.

If your weight loss has left you with excess loose, sagging skin, you may already be considering one or more body contouring options, including:

  • Lower body lift: Removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen, buttocks and the upper/outer thighs.
  • Thigh lift Removes excess skin and fat from the upper, inner thighs.
  • Tummy tuck: Removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen and repairs/tightens the abdominal muscles.
  • Arm lift: Removes hanging skin and fat from the upper arms.
  • Breast lift: Removes excess skin and reshapes and lifts the breasts for an improved contour.
  • Facelift: Removes excess skin and tissue around the jawline and tightens the underlying muscles of the face.

With these options and many more, it can be confusing to know exactly which procedures are the best match for your body contouring goals. Below are some helpful tips to help prepare for your post-weight loss body contouring procedure.

Make sure you're at your target weight

One of the best ways to ensure your body contouring procedure gives you the results you want is by making sure you have achieved and are maintaining your target weight. If you have not hit your ideal weight and continue to lose weight after surgery, it could alter results and you may end up with more of the sagging skin you are trying to eliminate.

Establish healthy habits

The road to recovery after body contouring surgery can take some time and adjustment. It's important that you develop and maintain healthy lifestyle habits before you have this type of surgery. If you're already eating healthy and exercising regularly, you'll be in a great position to recover more quickly. Avoiding alcohol and quitting smoking can do wonders for you in the recovery stage as well. Many post-weight loss patients prepare and freeze nutritious meal options before their surgery so they can continue to eat right even while recovering. Making healthy eating easier can reduce stress as well as keep your body fueled with the right nutrients to support healing.

Have a good support system set in place

The day before your procedure is not the time to try and look for a ride home from the surgical facility. At our office, we advise patients to arrange transportation and caretaking before surgery is even scheduled. Start organizing your support network as soon as you know you will be having the procedure. Having someone prepared to support and take care of you while you rest and recover will help reduce stress, allow you to relax and make it easier to achieve the best results.

Ask for advice

Even if you had bariatric surgery or other surgical procedures, you're very likely to have many questions when it comes to post-weight loss plastic surgery. That is perfectly normal. Write down your questions and ask your plastic surgeon when you visit for a consultation. You also may want to search forums and blogs on the internet for advice and answers, but keep in mind that the best information tailored to your specific needs will likely come from your surgeon. You can and should ask as many questions as you need to help reduce any anxiety and help you feel more prepared.

Keep your attention on the end results

The pre-surgery phase is going to be filled with planning, preparation and other to-dos that might distract you from the very reasons you are having your body contouring procedure in the first place. It's essential to keep a positive mindset and stay focused on your end results. Visualize the desired outcome and how this procedure will help get you closer to your personal goals.

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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