Body Contouring

Following pregnancy, serious weight loss, and sometimes with aging, people can be left with excess skin, stretch marks, areas of fat excess or loss of abdominal contour. Several body contouring procedures can help address this:

  • tummy tuck ( Abdominoplasty ) – removes the apron of extra skin over the abdomen, and when indicated also includes removal of excess fat and repair of damaged abdominal muscles
  • body lifting – removes skin around the whole waist to raise the buttock, lateral thighs and trim the tummy
  • arm lift (Brachioplasty) – removes extra skin from the upper arms
  • thigh – removes excess skin from the thighs

Body contouring surgery

Body contouring surgery is designed to tighten loose and flabby skin. It changes the texture of the skin by stretching it thereby making the looseness and wrinkling less apparent.

Body contouring surgery may be combined with liposuction, which is designed to improve fat bulges, not to tighten loose skin. Liposuction alone can make the appearance of the skin worse in patients with poor skin elasticity.

As with liposuction, body contouring surgery is not intended to correct obesity; patients should be at normal or near-normal weight at the time of surgery.

Procedure and scarring

Most body contouring procedures are performed under general anesthesia.

Loose skin cannot be removed without leaving scars, and body contouring often means long incisions that result in long scars. Your plastic surgeon will make every effort to give you the best scars possible, and to conceal them in the least visible areas.

Your surgeon will advise you during your consultation about the type of scar you are likely to get.

Although scars will fade over time, you should know that the scars will be permanent and that their final width, height and color will not be entirely predictable.

Recovery and possible complications

The most common complications of body contouring surgery are:

  • hematoma (an accumulation of blood under the skin)
  • seroma (fluid accumulation under the skin)
  • numbness of the skin

While most of the feeling usually comes back, hematoma and seroma may require intervention to drain the blood or serum that has accumulated if it is a large amount. Problems with healing after surgery are also possible, especially for smokers.

Normal activities can usually be resumed within a couple of weeks and many people return to work the third week after surgery. It can take 6-12 months to see the final result of body contouring surgery.