What is body contouring?

Surgical body contouring following major weight loss removes excess fat and skin while correcting the shape of the underlying support tissue. The result is a more natural looking appearance with gentle contours.

Although dramatic weight loss has many benefits, the results of after weight reduction surgery, or any substantial amount of weight loss, cause the skin and tissues to often lack the elasticity to adapt to the compressed body size.

Body contouring procedures may include:

Facelift: sagging of the mid-face, jowls, and neck

  • Breast Lift: flattened or sagging breasts
  • Tummy Tuck: excess skin that hangs over the abdomen
  • Lower Body Lift: sagging of the abdomen, buttocks, groin, and outer thighs
  • Medial Thigh lift: sagging of the inner, outer, and mid thigh
  • Arm lift: sagging of the upper arms

In general, perspective body contouring candidates are:

  • Adults who have achieved a stable weight
  • Healthy individuals without medical conditions that impair recovery process or increase risk of surgery
  • Non-smokers
  • Individuals with positive, realistic goals
  • Individuals that are committed to a healthy lifestyle with adequate nutrition and fitness

Body contouring recovery

During your recovery process from body contouring surgery, bandages will be applied to your incisions after the procedure.

Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed underneath the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may build up.

You will be given specific instructions which include how to care for the surgical site(s), medications to apply physically or take orally to aid healing and reduce the chances of infection, specific signs to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and a time to follow up with your plastic surgeon.

You may also be instructed to bypass bending, straining or lifting for several days to weeks.

Where straining of the abdomen or thighs is involved, your surgeon may also tell you to avoid standing fully upright and stressing any internal sutures as they heal, and to sleep with pillows elevating your knees.

To minimize the risk of DVT (blood clots in the legs), you will need to be up and walking as soon as possible, and drinking plenty of fluid.

Follow all instructions with delicacy – this is essential to the recovery process.

If an aspect of your body contouring surgery is done on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night after surgery.

Body contouring risks and safety information

The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal and up to you. You will have to decide if the benefits will get you where you want to be physically and emotionally and if the risks and potential complications of body contouring surgery are acceptable.

You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications that follow.

Body contouring risks include:

  • Bleeding or infection
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Poor wound healing
  • Loss of skin
  • Blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and pulmonary embolism
  • Excessive or elongated scars
  • Numbness or other changes in sensation of the skin
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Residual skin laxity or contour irregularity