American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

Is weight loss your New Year's resolution? What's next when you lose the weight?

weight loss resolution next steps

Body contouring can help put the finishing touches on your 2020 weight loss goal and keep you motivated. Shedding excess weight, whether by diet and exercise or bariatric surgery, improves your health as well as your appearance.

However, major weight loss can result in excess skin and stubborn pockets of fat that no amount of dietary changes or exercise seem to touch. For this, body contouring procedures can help eliminate the excess skin and sculpt your curves, giving you your desired appearance, improving your motivation to keep the weight off and give you the self-confidence you deserve.

What body contouring procedures are available?

Whether to remove or tighten excess skin or help to repair stretched and lax muscles due to years of excessive weight, there are a variety of different surgical body contouring procedures available. These procedures include:

  • Tummy tuck – This procedure can remove excess abdominal skin as well as help to repair stretched and lax abdominal muscles.
  • Breast lifts and augmentation – Breast lifts can improve sagging tissue while augmentation can increase your bust line and breast appearance.
  • Thigh lifts – This procedure addresses sagging and excess skin on the inner thighs.
  • Upper arm lifts – An upper arm lift addresses excess, sagging skin and tissue in the arms.
  • Facelifts – As you lose weight, you may experience sagging in the mid-face, jowls and neck. Facelifts after weight loss can address these issues, giving you a younger, more defined look.
  • Lower body lifts – Lower body lifts address excess skin and sagging in the abdomen, buttocks, and inner and outer thighs.

How to decide if you are ready for body contouring surgery?

When you have lost a large amount of weight, you may be extremely eager to jump into body contouring surgery to help eliminate your excess skin and complete your weight loss journey. However, there are some important things to consider before you take that step.

  1. You need to be at or near your ideal body weight. If you are continuing to lose weight, now is not the time for body contouring. Additional weight loss after a surgical procedure can result in additional excess skin and the need for additional procedures.
  2. Your weight loss needs to be stable. You may have lost a double or even triple-digit number of pounds, but, as you know, weight loss can fluctuate and keeping weight off is often the hardest part of your weight loss journey. Before you are a good candidate for body contouring surgery, you need to be able to maintain your weight loss and show weight stabilization.
  3. You must be healthy enough for surgery. If you have lost weight naturally through diet and exercise, chances are you are already following a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you lost weight through bariatric surgery, you may need time to adjust to your new dietary restrictions and make sure you are meeting nutritional needs before surgery. If you are a smoker, you will be advised to stop smoking as this can impair healing and recovery.

What added benefits does body contouring provide?

Body contouring procedures address physical concerns such as the removal of excess skin and the repair of stretched muscles. But they do far more than that. After all the work you put in to lose the weight, the excess and hanging skin can create a different set of concerns. While you should be celebrating your success, this excess skin and tissue may leave you feeling self-conscious or even uncomfortable.

Many people who have lost significant amounts of weight report discomfort due to their excess skin. It can interfere with normal activity, including exercise necessary to maintain your new weight loss. Excess sagging skin is also prone to ulcers and infections. Body contouring procedures remove this skin, reducing the risk of infection and giving you the ability to get back to life.

What is your next step?

Once you meet the criteria for body contouring surgery, your next step is to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in body contouring procedures. Together, you and your plastic surgeon will determine which procedures will help you achieve your contouring goals and put a surgical plan in action.

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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