Is it recommended to get an abdominoplasty after bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery has as an objective to trigger a durable weight loss and is often associated with the improvement of the health of the patient and the elimination or reduction in symptoms of severe conditions. Patients undergoing bariatric surgery notice an increase in the quality of life, and it is considered the most effective treatment for morbid obesity.
Plastic surgery can improve the appearance of the patient’s body after weight loss. In all cases after losing a considerable amount of weight, the skin won’t be able to retract on the new contours of the body, so the patient will be confronted with extreme skin sagginess. To correct this and to help the patient look his best, plastic surgery is recommended after undergoing bariatric surgery. The role of plastic surgery is strictly aesthetic and in no way related to weight loss. In this article we will discuss the goals of bariatric and plastic surgery and whether it is recommended to get an abdominoplasty after bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery: an efficient method to lose weight
Bariatric surgery techniques are used to reduce food intake considerably to let the body to use the accumulated fat reserves. The reduction of energy deposits translates into the reduction of adipose tissue, weight loss, and the optimal functioning of the body. When weight loss occurs, the health conditions associated with obesity will also disappear or be reduced. Patients who are recommended to undergo bariatric surgery should know that the weight loss occurs gradually and they can reach a normal diet in six to twelve months in some cases and even more, depending on the initial condition of the patient.
If weight has become the patient’s most important source of discomfort and bad health, and that losing weight doesn’t occur or is unsustainable no matter what methods are used, chances are the only solution left is to undergo bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery targets patients with moderate to morbid obesity, and the most commonly performed procedures are gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and gastric banding.
A gastric sleeve entails the excision of a part of the stomach. In other words, the stomach is transformed into a tube with a volume of no more than 100 ml. The role of the procedure is to restrict food intake to a meal of about 80 ml. The procedure is frequently performed and recommended, and it has the benefit of not interfering with the normal food circuit so patients can eat technically any food they want, as long as the quantities are small.
Gastric bypass is the procedure used for patients with morbid obesity or of an older age or suffering from diabetes. The procedure entails creating a small gastric reservoir of about 20 ml from the initial part of the stomach that will be connected to the end of the intestine. The role of the procedure is for the food ingested to bypass the stomach and a part of the intestine to reduce the absorption of the main food categories.
Gastric banding is an adjustable ring that will be inserted into the initial part of the stomach with the role of creating a small gastric reservoir. It is a restrictive procedure, and its aim is to reduce the amount of food consumed in one meal considerably.
Keep in mind that bariatric surgery is addressed to severely overweight and obese patients. To be eligible for bariatric surgery, the patient needs to have a body mass index over 24.9. The body mass index is an official indicator to calculate the ideal weight for a certain height. It is calculated by dividing the weight in kg to the height in m square (IMC = weight / height 2).
Just like any other surgical procedure, it is recommended to avoid smoking before and after bariatric surgery, and the same is valid for alcohol intake. The surgeon performing the procedure will also advise you against getting pregnant too soon after the procedure.
Plastic surgery: enhancing the body after bariatric surgery
After bariatric surgery, all patients will more or less lose weight. However, in almost all cases, they won’t be happy with the new appearance of their body. When weight loss occurs, the surplus of kilograms will go away, but this won’t happen to the skin. The skin that was overstretched will remain saggy in the areas where the fat deposits were. This means that after bariatric surgery, most patients will be left with what we call a belly apron: these are skin folds from the abdomen that cover the pubic area partly or entirely. This skin folds can create discomfort for the patient in terms of finding clothing and lingerie to cover for it, and dermatological issues can also occur on the folds due to the constant friction of skin on skin. This is the reason why plastic surgery is recommended after bariatric surgery.
When setting up an appointment with the plastic surgeon after a major weight loss, patients want to know whether it is recommended to get an abdominoplasty after bariatric surgery. Both procedures target the abdominal area, and they wonder whether there are more risks associated with it. Bariatric surgery is performed and targets the internal cavity of the stomach. Unlike bariatric surgery, plastic surgery is performed outside the abdominal cavity and can address the fat tissue, the skin tissue of the abdominal wall, and sometimes the muscles as well.
When undergoing an abdominoplasty after sudden or major weight loss, the plastic surgeon will make an incision on the lower part of the tummy, in the suprapubic area. The incision will follow the natural curves of the body and can be as long as from one hip bone to the other. Using this incision, the plastic surgeon will detach the skin and underlying fat tissue from the muscles of the abdominal wall. If the muscles are distended or weakened, the surgeon will bring them together on the median line and strengthen them with sutures to create a firm and flat appearance of the tummy.
After correcting the muscles of the abdominal wall, the surgeon will re-drape the skin tissue over the muscles. The excess of skin and underlying fat tissue is eliminated, and the incision is sutured. When the skin sagginess is excessive, the plastic surgeon might need to make an additional incision around the navel to reposition it. Also, for patients who have lost a considerable amount of weight, it might be necessary to get incisions on the flanks as well. Otherwise, they might be left with an unpleasant appearance of the body called doggy ears. This happens when the front of the abdomen is firm and flat, but there is excess skin on the flanks that is saggy, altering the aesthetic appearance of the patient.
Abdominoplasty is performed with the aim of helping the patient get a better-looking body after losing weight from bariatric surgery. Most patients feel the complete range of benefits of weight loss only after undergoing plastic surgery as they finally look as thin and appealing as they feel. Abdominoplasty shouldn’t be performed on patients who smoke or are suffering from severe blood, lung and heart conditions as the risk of developing a complication can be increased.
When scheduling abdominoplasty after bariatric surgery, make sure to ask the advice of a talented and experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon. Generally speaking, patients should wait at least four to six months after weight loss before scheduling plastic surgery to ensure that the results of the bariatric surgery are stable and final. Ulterior weight fluctuations after getting a tummy tuck can ruin the beautiful appearance of the body achieved with plastic surgery. Also, keep in mind that in some cases, the plastic surgeon will also recommend adding liposuction to the tummy tuck to get rid of the fat deposits that are still in excess on the tummy and the flanks. This will furthermore refine the results of your procedure.
Patients undergo bariatric surgery as a last resort for weight loss. The aim of bariatric surgery is not aesthetic, but to help patients have a good quality of life and get relief from the many discomforts and health conditions that are associated with being overweight or obese. In some cases, bariatric surgery is the only efficient method that can be used to achieve weight loss. But after weight loss occurs, patients notice that the appearance of the body is far from ideal and there is extreme skin sagginess present in different areas of the body. To get rid of the skin sagginess, the only solution is to get plastic surgery. For patients who had bariatric surgery, an abdominoplasty is often recommended, usually with liposuction.