Plastic/Cosmetic Surgery after Weight Loss Surgery - (Tummy Tuck)

Plastic surgery can be the answer to excess skin, although it is not an easy choice to make and can be very expensive.  Plastic surgery can remove excess skin from the abdominal areas, thighs, buttocks, upper arms and breasts through individualised body contouring.  These surgeries can require several days of hospitalisation and as many weeks of recovery, typically six weeks or more.  Some of the scaring can take over a year to fully heal and you will not be able to work for approximately 6-8 weeks in many cases.  Many patients go for particular surgeries over several months or even spread the surgeries over many years.  Plastic surgery is expensive and you will need to think carefully about how you might fund these surgeries. 

You might be thinking about plastic surgery immediately after weight loss surgery or you may have even planned what surgeries you wish to have.  Plastic surgery should not be undertaken until at least one year after weight loss surgery for many reasons (check the timescale with your surgeon).  Your plastic surgeon will want to see your weight level out and stabilise and this is usually around one year after surgery.  In some cases weight becomes more steady around 5 months, it depends on how much weight you had to lose, your age and many other factors.  It is still best to wait at the very least 6 months after weight loss surgery before even considering plastic/cosmetic surgery.  Your body needs to recover from the weight loss surgery, you need to get used to your new healthy lifestyle and allow your body time to adjust to all the changes.  Your plastic surgeon will want to see that you are in good physical shape and are maintaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet.

Just like weight loss surgery, plastic surgery should not be taken lightly.  One major hurdle for many weight loss surgery patients considering plastic surgery is the expense.  Plastic surgery such as a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is expensive and many insurance companies will not cover the cost of surgery, which is not classed as a ‘medical necessity’.  There are many reasons for considering cosmetic surgery other than purely cosmetic reasons, these include:

  • Rashes and irritations from excess skin folds.
  • Frequent yeast infections
  • Skin breakdown – where skin is worn away from repeated rubbing.
  • Large skin folds inhibit your ability to move, work or generally function normally.
  • Hygiene problems because of excess skin
  • Skin folds around the breast area cause you to have severe back problems due to the weight of the excess skin

Like weight loss surgery, plastic surgery is not to be gone into lightly and you will need to find out as much as you can about the procedure and what is involved.  After investigating plastic surgery you may decide not to go ahead, this is perfectly understandable as it is not for everybody.  The cost of plastic surgery may be your deciding factor, as it is for many.  Be realistic about the results, your body will be very different after surgery, however you will not have a perfect body.  In our modern age of celebrity it is tempting to think with a bit of plastic surgery we become supermodels but this is not reality.  Results can be very effective but plastic surgery is not an easy thing to experience, there will be scarring and it will take weeks for the swelling and pain to reduce, post surgery.  It is important to be realistic about the results of plastic surgery, all the years of unhealthy living or inability to exercise regularly may have taken its toll on your body.  For many reducing the excess skin does improve quality of life and many feel that the surgery is worth it due to the problems the excess skin causes them.  Many weight loss surgery patients who have undergone plastic surgery find that they can for the first time in their lives fit into clothes several sizes smaller and feel part of ‘the real world’ once again.  Plastic surgery can truly transform your body but bear in mind that you may need several surgeries and this transformation will not solve all your problems.  The changes in appearance cause problems for some weight loss surgery patients who have been used to seeing themselves in a certain way.  You begin to look vastly different and many feel different as if they are living in someone else’s body, this is a strange transition that can take a bit of getting used to. 

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