Weight Loss Surgery Plastic

Bariatric surgery helps clinically obese patients lose significant amounts of weight in a relatively short time period. While bariatric surgery effectively helps patients lose weight, they may have to get further surgeries to deal with some of the results of the surgery, including sagging skin.

Unfortunately, skin that expands when a person gains weight often fails to tighten up after the weight is lost. Exercise will only tighten the muscles beneath the skin and not the skin itself. Sagging skin causes many problems for patients, including:

  • difficulty fitting into clothing
  • hygiene issues
  • unpleasant appearance.

To combat these negative effects, many patients opt for plastic surgery after the bariatric surgery to help tighten skin. Because skin that is stretched during weight gain is permanently damaged, this type of plastic surgery requires a specialist experienced with post-bariatric patients.

Body Contouring

Body contouring is surgery that reshapes the body after significant weight loss. Through precise cutting, re-draping and sculpting, excess skin is removed and remaining skin is attractively re-positioned. Body contouring procedures include:

  • abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
  • brachioplasty (arm lift)
  • mastopexy (breast lift, with or without implants)
  • medial thigh lift
  • outer thigh and buttock lift.

Each patient is unique and requires a different procedure or combination of procedures. For most patients, having two procedures done during a single operation is usually safe. Patients requiring more than two procedures generally have to come back for additional surgeries.

Body Contouring Consultation

Getting plastic surgery after bariatric surgery begins with a consultation. During a consultation:

  • A complete medical history is taken.
  • A medical exam is given.
  • You will be asked about alcohol, tobacco and vitamin/supplement usage.
  • You will be given a written estimate of the cost of your procedures.
  • You will have the opportunity to discuss any concerns with the surgeon.

Body Contouring Procedure

Body contouring surgery usually takes place at a full service hospital under general anesthesia. Most procedures take four to six hours, and you can expect a hospital stay of one to four nights.

Just before surgery the skin is marked, while the patient is standing, to identify the areas where incisions will be made. After the patient is anesthetized:

  1. Incisions are made to remove excess skin and fat.
  2. Skin and fat are gently lifted from underlying structures.
  3. Tightening of muscles or hernia repair may be done at this time.
  4. Remaining skin is re-draped over the underlying structures.
  5. Drains may be inserted beneath incisions to help keep fluid from accumulating.
  6. Suturing is usually done in multiple layers to support incisions while they heal.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Body Contouring Surgery

Getting plastic surgery after bariatric surgery to correct sagging skin has several benefits, including:

  • an easier time finding clothes that fit
  • better hygiene
  • improved self-esteem
  • tighter, more attractive skin.

As with any surgery, there are also some drawbacks to consider, including:

  • high costs
  • post-surgical pain and swelling
  • risks associated with any major surgery
  • scarring.

Everyone scars differently, so no one can predict your final result. Generally, the more skin a patient has removed, the more extensive his scars will be.

Other Surgery after Weight Loss

After bariatric surgery, some patients experience sagging skin in the face, as well as the body. Plastic surgery to correct this type of sagging includes:

  • eyelid surgery
  • face lift
  • forehead lift.

Discuss the full ramifications of any plastic surgery with a physician before committing to a procedure.


LocateADoc.com (2008). Do I Need Plastic Surgery After My Bariatric Surgery? Retrieved April 17, 2008, from the LocateADoc.com Web site.

Loftus Plastic Surgery Center (n.d.). Surgery after Weight Loss. Retrieved April 17, 2008, from the InfoPlasticSurgery.com Web site.

Revis, Don Jr. MD (2008). Body Contouring After Gastric Bypass. Retrieved April 17, 2008, from the Beautysurg.com Web site.