Massive weight loss causes many changes in your body. Often, your skin cannot contract to compensate for the weight that is lost, leaving you with excess skin and some excess fat in multiple areas such as the neck, breasts for women and chest for men, arms, abdomen, back, buttocks and knee caps. To correct this excess skin, the only effective solution is surgery. Plastic surgery after weight loss in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania combines treatments to remove that excess skin and fat. Dr. John Stratis has extensive experience performing these combined body contouring procedures for men and women after massive weight loss, including patients who have had gastric bypass surgery.
Dr. Stratis is a board-certified plastic surgeon with many years of experience performing body contouring procedures. To learn more about plastic surgery after weight loss, request a consultation with Dr. Stratis online or call the office at (717) 728-1700.
The most bothersome area for the majority of weight loss patients is the abdomen, trunk, and back. The best treatment for this area is with a belt lipectomy. This procedure is considered cosmetic in nature and involves making an incision around the area where a belt would be, lifting the skin above and below the incision, removing excess skin and fat, and tightening the underlying muscles. Liposuction in Harrisburg, PA, will usually be performed as well.
This is the most invasive plastic surgery procedure after massive weight loss. However, it results in the most significant change in the patient's body contour. Because this operation is fairly extensive, it should be performed by itself, not with other procedures.
After the procedure, you will be admitted to the hospital for 1 to 3 days. Although the full recovery period is generally 6 weeks, you will be able to return to most of your normal activities, keeping in mind that you should avoid heavy lifting and unnecessary strain. You will see an immediate improvement, but the final result is not completely evident for about 6 months after the procedure. The improvements seen after belt lipectomy include obvious improvements in the belly, but also the back, buttock area, and thigh area. Generally speaking, improvements in the buttock and thigh area are only complete after two operations, one of which includes belt lipectomy.
A tummy tuck removes excess fat and skin in the abdomen and tightens underlying muscles. The procedure often uses liposuction and excision techniques. Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is performed under general anesthesia with an overnight hospital stay or on an outpatient basis. The recovery time to full activities is 6 weeks, although many activities can be done prior to that time.
Excess skin and fat in the lower abdomen can cause draping of the skin over the pubic area, leading to recurrent infections or uncontrolled skin irritation. The procedure to correct the excess skin and fat (a panniculectomy) is performed under general anesthesia and can be performed either as an outpatient procedure or with an overnight hospital stay. You should expect a 3-week recovery period before you can return to full activity.
The thigh area is treated with a lateral thigh lift (part of a belt lipectomy) and a medial thighlift (a separate procedure). The incisions for a lateral thigh lift are up on the hip while the incisions for a medial thigh lift go from the inside of the thigh down to the knee. Through these incions, skin and underlying fat are lifted and excess skin removed. Liposuction will often be performed as part of a thigh lift. These procedures are performed under general anesthesia, usually with an overnight hospital stay.
The breasts tend to suffer deflation and drooping with massive weight loss. In Pennsylvania, this can be treated in several ways with breast enhancement surgery. If there is sufficient breast tissue, a breast reduction can be performed. Excess skin and breast tissue will be removed and the position of the nipple will be corrected.
If there is not sufficient breast tissue to warrant removal, a breast lift can be performed. A breast lift and breast augmentation can be performed at the same time. This results in larger, firmer breasts in a lifted position. All of these procedures are performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. There may be some scars, but they are usually well hidden in a bra or bathing suit. There is a chance that you may lose sensation of the nipples on a temporary or permanent basis. Although you will see an immediate difference, the final result is not completely evident for approximately 6 months after the procedure.
Men who have lost a lot of weight often end up with excess skin and residual fat in the chest. Through male breast reduction, men can gain tighter skin, a firmer chest, and improved definition. If nipples are also stretched or enlarged, Dr. Stratis can resize them to look more proportional.
Many patients who have lost a massive amount of weight have a great deal of excess skin and fat on their upper arms. This is treated by surgical removal and liposuction. The incision is made in the armpit and goes down the inside of the arm. This procedure can be performed in conjunction with other procedures, particularly breast/chest procedures. It is generally performed on an outpatient basis unless combined with other procedures. Recovery time is generally about 3 weeks.
The neck can be treated in several different ways and is often combined with other facial rejuvenation or other body contouring procedures. Incisions are made underneath the chin and around the earlobe in order to elevate the skin and remove excess fat. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia on an outpatient basis.
We serve post-weight loss patients from other areas of Pennsylvania such as Lancaster. If you're considering plastic surgery after weight loss at our practice, learn about possible risks associated with these procedures by visiting our Consequences & Complications page.