Your Initial Body Lift Surgery Consultation

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It would be wise to enter the initial consultation armed with a pad of paper and lots of questions. Your surgeon will want to know your motivation for having body lift surgery so be prepared to go into detail about how your excess skin was produced. This could include discussing the weight loss programme that you followed and how long it took or bringing in information about your gastric bypass (or other weight loss surgery) or your large pregnancy. They will want to know why you want the surgery performed and what your expectations are for the results of the surgery. It is important that you are able to demonstrate that you have the will power to keep to your new regime (i.e. by proving that you have taken up new exercise classes and are eating in a healthy manner). A clear understanding of the risks and results of body lift surgery (as written in this guide) will also help to show the surgeon that you are genuinely motivated towards the procedure and will committed to your after care.

What your surgeon will want to know

Your surgeon will need to know all about your past medical history but especially any previous procedures involving abdominal surgery. They will ask you lots of questions about any current medications you are taking and any current medical problems that you have. This is because body lift surgery involves having a general anaesthetic, so a detailed examination is important to ensure that you remain safe and well during the procedure. It is likely that they will ask you if you smoke and they will probably refuse to operate on you if you do.

Your surgeon will ask you which areas of excess skin you are most unhappy about and they will discuss the different ways in which they can remove them. You will want to discuss the compromise between the benefit of having each area lifted (i.e. the excess skin cut out) and the scaring caused by the procedure. The surgeon will be able to discuss any concerns you have about scaring and they will plan the incisions so that the scars are positioned in the areas covered by underwear/bathing suits wherever possible. However, it is important to realise that body lift surgery covers a large area of the body and you will be left with some scarring in the areas lifted.

It is important that you raise any concerns about your underlying health. If you are prone to bruising or infection it may be worth discussing this with your surgeon as they may want to reduce the area of the body operated on to ensure that your body is able to heal the wounds successfully. This will reduce your risk of complications and minimise the visibility of your resulting scars. If this is the case, you will probably be offered a reduced price for any subsequent body lifts that you wish carried out and it might be worth discussing this at the outset to see if you can reduce the costs.

At the end of the consultation

At the end of your consultation your surgeon will have had time to assess your suitability given your current health (physical and mental), your past medical history, your current weight and your history of weight loss as well as your age and the expected outcome of the procedure. At this point they will tell you how they intend to proceed. This will often be a good time for you to ask any further questions that have not previously been answered.

You may be asked to have a “cool down period” which means that the surgeon wants you to seriously think about the potential outcomes of the surgery. This often occurs when patients enter the initial consultation with limited knowledge of the procedure and unrealistic expectations of the final result after a body lift. As you are reading this guide, it is hoped that you will not need this, however a cool down period could be a good time to approach family and friends to let them know that you are planning to go ahead with body lift surgery.

Mapping the operation

Your surgeon may have previously taken a number of pictures of your body. This will allow them to compared your body before and after the procedure and also potentially act as a visual reference for them throughout the operation itself.

During a subsequent consultation (although this occasionally occurs during the first consultation, depending on the surgeon) you may find yourself standing in your underwear with black pen markings all over you. Whilst this may seem strange and embarrassing, it is a very useful time for the surgeon as they work out exactly what areas of skin you want removed and where they will make the incisions. This means that it is extremely important that you are actively involved in this process. Be prepared to make lots of comments and have an idea of what areas you want removed. Obviously the surgeon is the expert and will be able to tell you the best ways for skin removal but at the end of the day it is your body and you will need to live with the scars. Be honest with your surgeon if you don’t like what they are suggesting or if you start to feel unsure about the procedure. It’s best to raise concerns whilst they are using a pen rather than after they have used the scalpel!

A number of patients find this point of the consultation the most fun. This is the artistic side of surgery in action and you will be able to tell your surgeon how you ideally want your body sculpted. By picking and choosing which areas of skin and fat to remove and which areas to leave, you can alter the result of the body lift. However, you need to realise that, ultimately, your underlying body shape is relatively set in stone. This is due to the shapes and structures of your underlying bones and organs.

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