Body contouring includes plastic surgery techniques that can slim down the body and restore smooth contour after weight loss. Procedures may be performed alone or combined as part of a comprehensive body-contouring plan.
Brachioplasty, a procedure commonly called the upper arm lift, can remove excess skin and fat from the arms, providing a slimmer and more proportional arm shape. The incision starts in the underarm area and travels toward the elbow. Skin and tissue is removed and sutures are placed to repair the incision. After surgery, the arms are tighter and smaller in circumference. This procedure does create a scar on the arm, but most patients are willing to accept this drawback in exchange for the benefits provided by an arm lift. Healing time is approximately 2 to 4 weeks.
A body lift (or lipectomy) can resolve excess skin problems that appear on the lower body after weight loss. Surgery can be performed in stages or as a single operation. During the body lift, excess skin can be removed around the midsection, back, thighs, buttocks and hips. Extra care is taken to place incisions in natural skin folds that allow scars to be concealed. Recovery time is approximately 4 to 6 weeks.
Calf augmentation can enhance or restore the shape of your lower legs. A firm silicone implant is placed on the inner or outer calf, thereby increasing calf projection and enhancing the leg contour. This procedure is suitable for patients who have small calves, which are disproportionate to their bodies. In some cases, it may be performed for someone who has experienced significant shrinking of the leg due to injury or disease.
Thighplasty can reshape and slenderize the thighs by reducing excess skin and fat. Excess tissue in the thighs can be very difficult to eradicate with diet or exercise. During thighplasty, an incision in the inner thigh trims excess skin and removes fat with liposuction. The result is smoother skin and better-proportioned contours of the thighs and lower body.
Also known as abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck removes excess fat and skin, and in most cases restores weakened or separated muscles, creating an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer. Although a tummy tuck can be performed for both women and men, it is more common among women who have experienced childbirth. An incision is made across the abdomen, just above the pubic hairline. The excess tissue is trimmed and the underlying muscles are tightened with sutures. In many cases, liposuction is performed on the midsection to enhance the aesthetic result.
With liposuction, a thin tube is inserted beneath the skin to vacuum away unwanted fat deposits. Because only a small incision is needed, the scarring to the skin is minimal and the fat generally does not return to that site. The best candidates for liposuction are within 30 to 50 pounds of their ideal body weight and have good skin tone. Another option is Ultrasound-assisted liposuction, which uses sound waves to break up fat prior to removal. For the right candidate, this technique can provide excellent aesthetic results with a shorter recovery period.
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Read more about body contouring sculpting patients after significant weight loss.