Summary: As we often say around here, body contouring surgery—such as a lower body lift or a belt lift—is often the last step in a weight loss journey. But now some researchers are presenting evidence that suggests those who elect to undergo a body contouring operation might have an edge when it comes to maintaining lower BMI ratings down the road. According the website of the Minneapolis body contouring experts at Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, the recovery can be intense, but most patients feel it’s worth it in the end. This research seems to back that up.
The Full Transformation
When it comes to weight loss—especially of the most dramatic kind—body contouring surgery is often the last step. Whether that weight loss is achieved through lifestyle changes or in combination with a surgical procedure such as gastric bypass surgery, the resultant weight loss often leaves a large amount of excess skin. It’s kind of like queen-size sheets on a twin-size bed. This leads to wrinkles and shriveled, lax skin that patients often feel is unsightly and unflattering. Without body contour surgery, such as a lower body lift, the weight loss transformation can feel incomplete.
Weight Loss Doesn’t Mean Weight Win
After all, if you’re as embarrassed by your body as you were before the weight loss, it can feel like a loss—it can feel like there was no point to the whole exercise. This is why it’s not surprising that new research, presented at Plastic Surgery The Meeting, a conference for plastic surgeons, suggests that patients who elect to undergo body contouring surgery generally maintain a lower body mass index than those who do not. What’s particularly striking about the data that was presented is that it appears to be a long term trend.
Contouring Your BMI
This means that body contouring surgery is good for your BMI over at least the next fifteen years or so (if we extrapolate the data presented at the conference). This also supports earlier research which hinted that those who underwent body contouring surgery tended to keep weight off a little bit longer than those who did not, even when the least successful bariatric surgeries were employed.
So let’s put some of the pieces together here. First of all, we can discuss BMI—body mass index. It’s essentially a calculation of your body’s height to weight ratio. The larger the number, the more mass your body has. This is the number doctors use to determine one’s general body index: normal, overweight, obese and so on. The number itself does not have a direct impact on health, but the body size certainly can, which is why doctors pay attention to it.
Bariatric surgery is a group of procedures designed to help people lose weight. In the case of gastric bypass surgery, the size of the stomach is reduced so that the patient gets full more quickly. The downside, of course, is that if the eating habits don’t change overall, the stomach can easily be stretched out again. That said, bariatric surgery is generally reserved for the most severe of cases, as there are inherent risks and weaknesses of the procedure (relapse, for example).
Smoothing Out the Wrinkles
Body Contouring surgery is also a name for a group of procedures. Generally, they’re much like a facelift, except for a large part of your body. Excess skin is removed and the remainder of your tissue is stretched in order to present the appearance of more youthful, elastic skin. This is a life-changing procedure for many who have undergone substantial weight loss. Once the surgeons eliminate the excess tissue, patients feel free to live their lives in a much more public way, a way that is often taken for granted: wearing shorts or a bikini at the beach.
I’m speculating, of course, but it seems to me that those very tangible rewards—the rewards that patients of body contouring see and feel every day—may be among the reasons why body mass index tends to stay lower: there’s more motivation to stick with the program, in a way. Of course, that’s painting with a pretty broad brush, but it’s difficult to downplay the kind of confidence such a procedure can bring. For many people who have experienced massive weight loss, body contouring really can be that last step.
Which isn’t to say it isn’t without costs. Body contouring can be expensive, and the recovery period can be particularly long and painful. So it isn’t for everyone—and it certainly isn’t necessary to ensure a long and healthy life, nor is it necessary if you want to wear shorts in the summer. Rather, it seems that body contouring offers just a little bit of extra incentive, and for some people, that extra incentive will be worth the added cost. Most people are quite pleased they took that last step.