San Francisco Body Contouring
Long-term weight loss, whether through diet, exercise, or weight-loss surgery, is a major accomplishment and one that should make a person feel quite proud. Unfortunately, many patients who have had major, successful weight loss still find that their clothes don’t fit the way they had hoped and that they still don’t like the outward appearance of their bodies due to the excess skin left behind on their arms, legs, torso and/or buttocks. After massive weight loss, the skin and tissues often lack elasticity and cannot conform to the smaller body size. For these individuals, the fat is gone, but the remnants of their former, larger selves remains.
Nearly 72 percent of American adults are considered overweight, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics. Long-term weight loss is very difficult and requires permanent changes to everyday life. Despite reaching their weight loss goals, excess sagging skin can negatively impact patients by keeping them from being able to fully enjoy the benefits of their weight loss. For those who feel burdened by large amounts of excess skin, body contouring surgery can significantly enhance their comfort and self-confidence, improve the fit of clothing, and allow them to move and exercise with greater ease.* Many different areas of the body can be addressed and improved with body contouring, including the face, neck, breasts, arms, torso, and thighs.
Am I a Good Candidate for Body Contouring?
Patients who are good candidates for body contouring procedures should be in good general health and have maintained their goal weight for at least six months. This is because weight fluctuations could negatively impact the surgical outcome.
A consultation with Dr. David Sieber can help determine whether you’re a good candidate for body contouring, and together you can develop a plan for addressing the loose skin that’s left around your body. Because patients with several areas of excess skin won’t be able to have surgeries on each area all at once for safety reasons, Dr. Sieber will help to determine the best plan of action based on your body and lifestyle. The goal is to prioritize the areas that bother you the most and safely combine surgeries that work well together. The end result is a bodily transformation that will reflect the inner transformation you’ve already undergone.*
Body Contouring Benefits:*
- Reshaping and revitalizing sagging breasts
- Removing loose, uncomfortable skin on the body
- Firming and tightening the appearance of skin on the stomach and back
- Improving loose skin on thighs or arms
- Length: 2-5 hours (depending on the treatment areas)
- Anesthesia: General
- Surgery Type: Outpatient
- Side Effects: Bruising, swelling, pain/tightness
- Recovery: 1-3 weeks
Body Contouring Technique
During your consultation Dr. Sieber will have discussed with you the procedures necessary to achieve your aesthetic goals. These procedures may include:
- A breast lift to correct sagging, deflated breasts
- An arm lift to correct sagging of the upper arms
- A lower body lift to correct sagging of the abdomen, groin, outer thighs and buttocks
- A thigh lift to correct sagging of the inner, outer, and mid thigh
In most of these body contouring procedures, large incisions are cut into the skin, the excess skin is removed completely and then the skin is pulled tight to its new position.
All-over body contouring can be a time-consuming process. While some surgeries can be combined, such as procedures to address saggy breasts and loose abdominal skin, body contouring usually requires several surgeries spread out over time because patients should be under anesthesia for no longer than 5 to 6 hours at a time due to the increased risk of complications. Additionally, certain body contouring procedures will also include liposuction to remove nagging pockets of fat that aren’t affected by diet or exercise. This can lengthen the surgery and add time to recovery as well.
Scarring After Body Contouring Surgery
The reality of body contouring surgeries after massive weight loss is that they necessitate removing large amounts of excess skin, which is why many body contouring patients are especially concerned with scarring.
When patients consider the alternative, which is saggy skin that is emotionally tough to deal with, can interfere with exercise and make daily life more difficult, the trade-off is absolutely worth it. Although there may be scars, patients who undergo body contouring surgery experience improvements in comfort and self-confidence that can last a lifetime.*
That being said, Dr. Sieber understands the unique emotional effect of weight-loss related loose skin, so he employs several strategies to ensure the best possible scar outcome. For example, whenever possible, Dr. Sieber will place the scars in the most inconspicuous areas of the body that can be concealed by clothing. He also uses the finest incision lines possible, and offers his patients a post-operative scar therapy program which can help to reduce the appearance of scars.*
The placement and appearance of scars, the sequence of surgeries, and the addition of liposuction will all be discussed in detail with Dr. Sieber during your consultation. Any additional concerns or questions you have, right up to your surgery date, will also be addressed.
Preparing for Body Contouring Surgery
Body contouring surgery is intensive and requires an enormous amount of healing over long periods of time, especially in the case of those who need multiple surgeries. That’s why it’s important to prepare your body so that you can optimize the healing process.
Body contouring is a major surgery, so you should consult with your primary care physician and discontinue medications and supplements that can increase the risk of bleeding. These should be stopped, with your primary doctor’s permission, two weeks before surgery. If you’re unsure, consult with Dr. Sieber with any questions.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, smoking impedes wound healing and can contribute to postoperative complications. It should go without saying, but if you smoke or vape, you should stop. Not only does smoking damage your heart and lungs, but a smoking habit can be especially harmful for those having skin surgery. This is because smoking constricts blood vessels in the body, affecting the flow of oxygen and nutrients through the bloodstream, crippling your body’s ability to heal.
To create the best environment for healing within your body, Dr. Sieber recommends that you maximize your nutritional intake a few months before surgery. Eating a high protein, nutrient dense diet and supplementing with vitamins will make your body stronger, both for surgery and during recovery. Protein provides the building blocks for our muscles, bones, and immune systems. In addition to eating well, continue your regular exercise routine so that you can be as strong and healthy as possible heading into the operating room.
Recovery from Body Contouring Surgery
Depending on the specific procedure you’re having, Dr. Sieber may decide that it is necessary to place a temporary drain under the skin. Although a drain can feel like a nuisance, it helps to reduce the accumulation of fluid in the areas where skin was removed and will aid in healing. The drain is typically removed within the first week after surgery.
You will need to wear a compression garment at all times for the first couple of months after your procedure. This helps to reduce swelling, as well as protecting your incision and reducing fluid accumulation.
Particularly with extensive procedures, you will feel very sore and uncomfortable for at least the first few days, and strenuous activity will be off-limits for at least several weeks until your body is adequately healed.
Continue eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet, and be sure that you don’t allow how you might be feeling to impact your recovery. Some patients, feeling bored or tired during their recovery may be inclined to eat unhealthy snacks. Other patients find their appetite for food is not strong after body contouring surgery, and may not be eating enough nutritious, high-protein food to heal properly. Therefore it’s important to be mindful of nutrition and to continue eating healthy foods so that the body has the fuel it needs.
Q: I’m still trying to lose weight. Should I have body contouring to get to my goal weight?
A: Body contouring is not a weight-loss surgery. While you may lose some weight if you have an extensive amount of extra skin, or if your procedure includes liposuction, the best time to have body contouring (or any post weight-loss surgery) is when you’ve reached your goal weight and have maintained it for at least six months.
Q: Will my scars be noticeable after surgery?
A: Each person is different and the formation of scars has a genetic component to it and depends on the quality and look of your skin before surgery; some people scar more easily than others. Typically body contouring procedures involve removing large amounts of skin so you should have realistic expectations and understand that although Dr. Sieber does his best to create the smallest scars possible as well as conceal them in hard to see places, you may still have visible scars when wearing certain garments.
Q: Can I just have one surgery and be done with it?
A: Because body contouring is very involved, it takes quite a long time to perform. It’s unsafe for the total surgery time to exceed five hours, so surgical body contouring must be done in segments and broken into multiple procedures over time. This reduces the risk of post-operative complications from surgery and anesthesia. Additionally, the recovery process can be a long and painful one, so it’s better to be strategic with the order of surgeries and focus all of your healing efforts on one or two areas at a time.
Q: Can I pick which area to operate on first?
A: The ideal place to start depends on a number of factors, including which area bothers you the most, how much time you can take off work for recovery, and the cost of the procedure. Dr. Sieber will work with you to go over your options during your initial consultation. You may find that after speaking with the doctor, a different area than the one bothering you the most will be better to start with from a strategic standpoint.
Q: How much will body contouring cost?
A: Each person’s situation is unique, so for an accurate price quote, an in-person consultation with Dr. Sieber is necessary so that he can examine you, discuss your concerns and determine exactly which procedures he recommends. For many people who have had dramatic weight loss, loose skin is truly everywhere on their body, so several surgeries are usually needed.
Q: How much skin will be removed?
A: The total weight of the skin removed will depend entirely on the patient. During your initial consultation, Dr. Sieber will examine you to determine where on your body you’ll have skin removed.
Q: What if I gain weight again after I’ve healed from my surgery?
A: A large weight gain likely will cause the skin to stretch out to accommodate the new fat cells underneath. Small weight gain, within 10-15 pounds, is unlikely to cause the skin to stretch, and normal fluctuations in weight should not be an issue, however maintaining healthy eating and regular exercise is necessary to maintain the benefits of body contouring surgery.
*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person. Editorial content, before and after images, and patient testimonials do not constitute a guarantee of specific results.