Summary: Many people choose to have plastic surgery for body contouring after weight loss, both to complement the aesthetic effect of their weight loss efforts and to improve their health. Before you decide whether surgical body contouring after weight loss is the right choice for you, you’ll want to book a consultation with a plastic surgeon who focuses on post-weight loss plastic surgery. Here are 5 questions you should definitely ask when you go.
1. Am I a Good Candidate for Post-Weight Loss Plastic Surgery?
At your consultation, a plastic surgeon will help you to determine your candidacy for post-weight loss body contouring by giving you a physical examination and asking a series of questions. Here are some of the factors that can affect whether you’re a good candidate:
- Your Health. You should be in good general health before having surgery. If you previously had bariatric surgery, consult with the surgeon who did your procedure to get the go-ahead for body contouring after weight loss. If you have any kind of medical conditions, it’s important to be sure they are well-controlled.
- Your Diet. Your diet goes hand in hand with your health, and it’s important to make sure you’re eating right and giving your body the nutrients it needs to undergo and recuperate from surgery. This can sometimes be a concern for people who have had bariatric surgery, since adjusting to the post-surgery diet can be challenging. You may want to work with a nutritionist, dietician or other expert to ensure that you’re fueling your body right with a nutrient-rich diet.
- Your Weight. It’s important to make sure you can maintain a steady weight before considering body contouring surgery. If you continue to lose weight after surgery, you may end up with more excess skin. If you gain weight afterward, you might find yourself right back where you started. Therefore, it’s recommended that you wait for your weight to stabilize before having even non-invasive contouring procedures.
- Your Lifestyle. If you’re engaging in unhealthy habits, you might not be a good candidate for surgical body contouring after weight loss. Smoking in particular creates a host of issues for someone who wants to have any type of surgery. Nicotine raises your risk for surgical complications and it can slow down the healing process. If you quit before surgery, don’t start again afterward. You’ll look and feel better, and increase your chances of enjoying your results for many years to come.
- Your Mindset: The best plastic surgery candidates have a positive attitude and a healthy outlook. They understand the limitations of plastic surgery and have reasonable expectations.
2. What Happens during Surgery?
Your plastic surgeon may recommend one procedure or a combination of procedures, depending on your unique anatomy and goals. Ask your plastic surgeon to explain exactly what will happen during any procedure you’re considering. Find out where the surgery will be done, and ask for details about things such as anesthesia and the time your surgery is expected to take. Aside from asking questions about your surgery, make sure you have a clear picture of what to expect from your recovery. Ask how long the initial downtime will be and how long it will be before you can begin to resume your normal routines.
3. What Are the Pros and Cons of Having Body Contouring after Weight Loss?
Make sure you and your plastic surgeon discuss all the pros and cons of having body contouring procedures after a major weight loss. Talk about your concerns and expectations and make sure you understand the risks. Your plastic surgeon should give you both positive and negative things to consider so you can make an educated, informed decision about whether the time is right for weight loss surgery.
Your attitude will help determine how successful you are at maintaining your results through time.
4. Will My Results Last Forever?
Have a frank discussion with your plastic surgeon about maintaining your body contouring results. No surgery can produce long-lasting results unless the patient does his or her part to maintain them. Make sure your plastic surgeon explains the factors that contribute to the best possible results, and keep your new look long-term. He or she can give you sage advice on the matter, from how to care for incision scars to tips for keeping the weight off going forward.
5. What Qualifications Do You Have?
Choosing a plastic surgeon you can trust is an absolute must. Here’s what to look for:
- Board Certification. Only consult with board certified plastic surgeons. Board certification ensures the highest standards of health, safety and aesthetics.
- Experience. You should choose a plastic surgeon who is experienced with body contouring after weight loss. Dramatic weight loss can present particular physical issues that require an experienced hand if they are to be addressed most effectively.
- Rapport. Good communication between you and your plastic surgeon is a vital ingredient in your recipe for surgical success. You should feel completely comfortable talking to your plastic surgeon. At your consultation, observe the way the plastic surgeon interacts with you. Only choose someone who listens to you, explains things thoroughly and takes the time to help you understand your options.
- Pictures. Make sure you ask to look at a plastic surgeon’s portfolio of before and after photos. Look at patients who had body contouring after weight loss to help you make an honest assessment of what is possible.