Body contouring is a common form of plastic surgery which aims to improve the appearance of excess skin or fat, particularly after weight loss. This can include upper and lower body lifts.
What is Body Contouring?
The body contouring process aims to improve the appearance of sagging skin in order to provide smoother contours. After major weight loss the elasticity in the skin may be depleted, leading to skin sagging away and failing to conform to your new body shape. For this reason, some form of surgery may be necessary in order to improve overall appearance.
Body contouring can include procedures such as upper and lower body lift, tummy tuck, arm lift, thigh augmentation and buttock enhancement. Or a combination could be made in order to provide a full body lift for maximum results.
The Body Contouring Consultation
Honesty surrounding the intent of your body contouring is vital during the consultation process. If you seek surgery based on someone else telling you to improve your body contour, have ill health or your lifestyle does not correspond then you may not be able to go ahead with a fully body lift. If you are seeking surgery post-weight loss, then it may be necessary to combine a number of different procedures in order to suit your desires for the surgery.
The risks and limitations of the surgery will be clearly outlined during the consultation, so you will be aware of what to expect post-surgery.
Pre-Surgery Preparation for Body Contouring
A general anaesthetic is necessary for an extensive procedure such as a full body lift. If you are unwell, it is vital to let your surgical team know so that any procedure can be postponed. Your health is ultimately of paramount importance and a delay is preferable to any complications due to ill-health.
If you are a regular smoker, it would be advised stop smoking around 6 weeks before your surgery as this can promote bleeding. Abdominal discomfort is typical for this type of surgery, so it is important to take at least two weeks off of work post-surgery.
What to Expect During Full Body Lift Surgery?
It differs depending on the extent of surgery, but typically you can expect a full body lift to take between 2 and 3 ½ hours. Though this will differ if you choose upper, middle or lower procedures exclusively. A full body lift will begin with an incision which will likely extend around the complete circumference of your body. The location of this incision, however, will differ depending on the primary target of the excess skin or fat, as it will depend on what you wish to achieve with this surgery.
Excess skin and tissue are removed, then the lining of the body will be tightened in order to improve the contour of your body post-surgery. This is achieved by tightening the lining above the stomach in order to provide an improved contour for the tummy. The remaining skin will then stretch down, the excess removed and the belly button will be relocated. Incisions are then closed with invisible stitches.
You will have a compressive dressing in order to ensure healing after surgery.
What is the Recovery Period after Body Contouring?
The recovery for body contouring can differ depending on the level and intensity of your procedures. For example, it will be much longer following a full body lift compared to either just an upper or lower body lift. However, no matter what procedure you undergo you will be back on the ward within an hour. Once the anaesthesia has fully worn off you will be able to move, eat and drink as normal.
You can expect some swelling and bruising surrounding your surgery wounds – this is normal and may persist well into your healing process.
Typically, there is a standard healing time of around 4 to 6 weeks. Excessive strain should be avoided in the first week and a support garment will likely be needed for the full six week recovery period. Light exercise – such as walks – are possible after one week, while normal exercise is achievable again after the 4 to 6 week healing time frame.