Body contouring is the removal of excess skin leftover after massive weight loss. Body contouring is a relatively new field of plastic surgery. Previously, there were very few people who lost massive amounts of weight and were able to keep it off. But since the advent of weight loss surgery, the demand for body contouring has skyrocketed.
After massive weight loss (of approximately 100 pounds or more), most people are left with substantial excess skin. There is no cream or exercise that will eliminate this excess skin; nothing can make it shrink or go away. Removing the skin is not an issue of pure vanity; it is a health concern. People suffer yeast infections in the folds of the skin or skin infections that can lead to cellulitis and abscesses. The excess skin can also get in the way of physical movement. The only way to eliminate the extra skin is through the surgery known as body contouring surgery.
There are several different kinds of body contouring available today and they are outlined briefly below:
- Arm Lift - Excess skin at the back of the upper arms is removed via an incision on the underside of the arm to give a more natural-looking contour.
- Tummy Tuck - In this surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, a waistline incision is made to remove excess skin along the waistline and tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall.
- Lower Body Lift - A lower body life includes a tummy tuck with muscle tightening, outer thigh lift, buttock lift and a mons lift. Be sure to discuss the mons lift (in which the mons is elevated and reduced in height and width) with your surgeon as not all surgeons perform a mons lift as part of a lower body lift.
- Breast Lift - A breast lift usually involves an anchor-shaped scar where doctors cut around the nipple, cut under the breast, and then relocate the nipple up to where it should be. In a breast lift, no breast tissue is removed. If you have lost a significant amount of breast tissue due to your weight loss, you can also have breast augmentation at the same time. Men also receive this surgery, primarily for the removal of excess skin around the breast area.
- Total Body Lift - This surgery, popularized by Dr. Hurwitz of Hurwitz Center for Plastic Surgery in Pennsylvania, is performed in either one or two procedures. In most instances, a horizontal incision is made along the bra line and another along the waistline, and the entire skin flap lifted. Dr. Hurwitz has written a book, Total Body Lift: Reshaping The Breasts, Chest, Arms, Thighs, Hips, Back, Waist, Abdomen And Knees After Weight Loss, Aging And Pregnancies that details the procedure.
Remember that body contouring carries with it the risks associated with any major surgery. However, the results can be even more life-altering than the massive weight loss which often precedes body contouring surgery.