Unhappy with excess loose skin after weight loss? Body contouring surgery can make you feel toned and confident in your leaner body.
After taking great strides to lose weight, either through dieting and exercise or bariatric surgery, it can be frustrating to then have upper arms that appear loose and saggy, or hanging pockets of skin around the abdomen, buttocks and thighs. This can affect your self-esteem and contribute to a range of health problems, including personal hygiene issues, skin thinning/tearing, back and shoulder pain, infections and chronic rashes, as well as difficulty exercising and walking.
Body contouring surgery is aimed to improve various body areas — such as the upper torso and arms, the waist, abdomen, buttocks and thighs — where a lack of elasticity has resulted in saggy, heavy and loose skin. These procedures are not a weight loss alternative nor a method of fat reduction, however, should be considered as the final phase of your weight loss experience.
There are several options and stages when it comes to body contouring after weight loss, all designed to remove excessive amounts of skin and correct and reshape the remaining skin. As everyone is different, Dr Lim will develop a personalised surgical plan that focuses on your current condition and desired goals.
For more information on how plastic surgery can help combat loose skin after weight loss, contact our office for a consultation.
Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is popular with men looking to get rid of loose skin on their stomach. The procedure can give you a flatter, tighter and firmer abdomen by removing excess skin, smoothing out stretch marks and tightening up your abs.
The exact procedure used for a tummy tuck will differ patient to patient, depending on a number of factors including the desired result and the elasticity of the skin.
The most common technique used involves an incision made across the lower abdomen, extending to the hip on each side. This incision can be angled to make the scar easier to conceal. If required, Dr Lim will tighten the vertical muscles in your stomach by pulling them close together and stitching them into position. Extra skin and fat is also removed. Abdominoplasty is often performed in conjunction with liposuction.
Men with a lot of loose skin after weight loss commonly turn to a lower body lift for the chance to tighten loose skin on the lower abdomen, hips, outer thighs and buttocks in one surgery.
The technique used to reduce the lower abdomen is similar to a tummy tuck, where the existing navel is repositioned, the excess skin that exists on the lower abdomen is removed, and the skin of the upper abdomen is pulled down and joined to the lower fold on the abdomen. The excess skin on the back is usually removed as well, and the remaining skin is tightened.
Extra skin and fat on the sides of the hips are also removed, in which the skin over the outer sides of the thighs is tightened, leaving a scar around the hip. In order to lift and tighten the buttocks and outer thighs, excess skin and fat is also removed, and the scar is placed on the upper part of the buttocks, which dips into the cleft, thus the circle of lifted skin is completed.
An upper body lift can remove excess skin folds and rolls on the upper back, chest and under the arms. The extent and location of extra skin varies depending on a number of factors, like your body shape or how much weight you have lost. Some people end up with skin folds and rolls on the upper back, under the arms, and the side of the chest. This can cause a number of problems, make clothing uncomfortable or difficult to wear.
An upper body lift can have dramatic results and make a huge difference in how your clothes fit and how you feel about your body.
It is not uncommon to combine this with an arm lift and/or gynaecomastia surgery.
Also known as brachioplasty, an upper arm lift involves the removal of excess or sagging skin that hangs from the under-surface of the upper arm. The amount of skin removed varies and is dependent on the patient. However, the results of upper arm contouring are visible almost instantly — arms appear leaner and toned, and the quality of the skin is dramatically improved.
Usually, the incision will extend from the armpit area along the inside of the upper arm to the elbow, so that the scar is hidden when the arms are positioned close to the body. Patients with less skin laxity might have a smaller incision that is easily hidden in the armpit. It is important to note that healing around the arm area is quite unpredictable and may result in the scar being thickened or widened.
Body contouring surgery to remove loose skin after weight loss is individually customised to each patient depending on their personal requirements. During the consultation period, Dr Lim will take you through all available options and potential outcomes, including the possibility of liposuction to deal with stubborn fat deposits. At this time, Dr Lim will determine the surgical approach most suitable, and the type, length and location of incisions required. Dr Lim will always do his best to minimise visible scarring.
Your surgery may take a few hours and will be performed under general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital. You may be required to stay in hospital for a few days following your surgery. Patients who have a body lift require drains to be inserted during the surgery, to prevent the accumulation of fluids and blood within the surgical wounds. You will be able to go home once the amount of drainage output subsides and your pain has settled. This can take a few days.
You may be provided with a supportive garment that will help decrease the bruising and swelling, which must be worn for a few weeks after the surgery. Dr Lim will advise you on this when he reviews you post-operatively and will prescribe analgesia and antibiotics for you to continue at home.
My Klinik staff will stay in touch with you after the procedure, monitor your progress and answer any questions or concerns as they arise. You’ll have reviews with Dr Lim one week, one month and three months after surgery.
Our goal is to make your experience as easy and comfortable as possible — Dr Lim and the My Klinik staff are always willing to answer any questions you may have.
Pre and Post-Operative Care
- You must fast prior to your procedure — do not eat, drink (even water) or chew anything for at least six hours before your procedure. The hospital will ring you the day before your procedure to confirm your admission time.
- If you have a gastric band or sleeve, you will need to have a fluid diet the day before your surgery and fast for at least eight hours on the day of your procedure.
- Notify Dr Lim of any medications that you are currently taking.
- Do not take any medication that contains aspirin, or any anti-inflammatory or herbal medication for two weeks before your procedure. Aspirin thins the blood, which can result in unnecessary blood loss during your procedure.
- Do not smoke for eight weeks before and eight weeks after your procedure. Smoking decreases blood flow to the skin and may delay the healing process.
- Do not drink any alcohol for two days before and two days after your procedure as it can interfere with the anaesthetic you will be given on the day.
- Vitamin C may help reduce your healing time and is recommended for two weeks before and two weeks after surgery.
- Do not wear any nail polish, make-up or to the hospital and leave any valuables at home.
- You will need comfortable, loose clothing, like a tracksuit, to wear home from the hospital. This will prevent pressure on the surgical site, which will still be tender.
- Dr Lim will normally visit you in the hospital the morning after your procedure.
- When you wake up you may have firm strapping or bandages and one or two drains. The drains will be removed when the amount of drainage fluid has reduced. Dr Lim will instruct the nursing staff on this. You will be discharged once you are feeling well. Depending on the procedure, you may need to wear a compression garment day and night for a number of weeks — Dr Lim will advise you on this in more detail.
- General anaesthetic can take a few days to recover from — it can be quite normal to feel a little slow or out of sorts for a few days. Do not drive a car for two to three days.
- If you have had an abdominal procedure, you will need to walk in a hunched over position for the first few days and slowly straighten up as your pain subsides. You will also be more comfortable laying with your knees bent and your back and head supported by a few pillows.
- While you are in hospital you will be given medication for the pain. The amount of pain you feel after the operation varies from person to person. If you are concerned about the amount of pain you are in, or you feel you cannot control the pain, you should inform the nursing staff while in hospital, or call My Klinik if you are at home.
- It is crucial that you finish the course of antibiotics you are prescribed to prevent any post-op infection. Dr Lim will also prescribe oral pain relief — please contact My Klinik if this doesn’t control your pain.
- While in hospital and at home, you will need to keep your bowels regular. This may involve taking an aperient prescribed by Dr Lim and drinking lots of water. Prune juice may also help. If you have any trouble, please do not try and strain — inform the nursing staff and medication can be given to assist you.
- Avoid over exertion and activity for the first six weeks. Take care not to bump, strain or place any pressure on the surgical area. This includes lifting small children.
- Prevent the formation of blood clots in your legs with frequent gentle walks and mild foot and leg exercises. You will be given small injections to assist with this while you are in hospital. If you are not fully mobile, Dr Lim recommends that you continue to wear the compression stockings provided for a further three weeks at home.
- The area around your surgical sites may feel quite unusual for the first few weeks. It may feel tight and there may be reduced sensitivity in that area. This should return after a few weeks.
- Dr Lim will remove any remaining sutures at your one-week post-op checkup.
- Healing is different for each patient — it is recommended that you take two to three weeks off work. Most people feel well recovered after three to six weeks.
- Do not smoke for eight weeks after your procedure as this may slow the healing process and affect wound healing.
- My Klinik nursing staff will contact you to make sure that you are feeling comfortable and to confirm your one-week post-op checkup with Dr Lim.
- Contact My Klinik if any of the following develop:
- A temperature higher than 38°C or chills
- Heavy bleeding or fluid from the incision or drain site
- Severe sudden pain or tenderness
- Redness around the incisions that is spreading.
- Dr Lim and the nursing staff are available to you as you recover — should you have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact My Klinik. For after-hours concerns, please contact the hospital where you had your surgery and they will be able to contact Dr Lim as required.
After Weight Loss FAQs
You may be an excellent candidate for body contouring surgery if you have experienced significant weight loss and have maintained your weight for several months. You may have significant excess skin with laxity in different parts of your body. This may cause skin excoriation, chafing and discomfort. Different surgical procedures can address these issues and Dr Lim will discuss this with you at your consultation.
It is important to have realistic expectations about the results and the potential for visible scarring. Your chances of having a smooth recovery are high if your weight is stable, you don’t smoke and you maintain good nutrition.
Your first consultation with Dr Lim will take around 45 minutes and you are most welcome to bring a support person with you. Due to social distancing measures as a result of COVID-19, the support person may not be able to enter the rooms (depending on the number of persons in the rooms at that particular time).
Dr Lim will take the time to discuss the surgical options with you, and any other issues related to the appearance of your body that you feel are important to you. This will help Dr Lim understand your expectations and determine if they are achievable.
Dr Lim will explain the risks of surgery and discuss the methods of body contouring surgery with you. Your body will be assessed, and a few measurements and photographs will be taken to plan the procedure.
You do not have to make the decision to proceed with the surgery at this initial consultation. You will be given a written quotation and information to take home to read.
Dr Lim will examine your body and assess the extent and location of the excess skin (based on what you consider to be problematic), your general health status, and your Body Mass Index (BMI).
Please come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions you have, medications you are currently taking, allergies you have, other medical treatments you have received and any previous surgery you have had.
Please discuss with Dr Lim if you are planning to lose more weight. He may recommend that you stabilise your weight before undergoing surgery.
A second consultation, at no extra cost, is usually required if you wish to proceed with surgery.
In some cases, Dr Lim may recommend that you have blood tests or a scan to check for blood clots.
Avoid products that contain aspirin, glucosamine, herbal supplements, fish oil and krill oil for four weeks before surgery. We also strongly recommend avoiding alcohol, and not smoking for eight weeks before and after surgery. Smoking can negatively affect the healing process.
On the day of surgery, patients should wear comfortable, loose clothing that does not need to be pulled over the head or face. Don’t wear any make-up, jewellery or nail polish.
We want to make this experience as easy as possible — you will be given all pre-operative instructions prior to your procedure but please don’t hesitate to call My Klinik if you have any questions or concerns before your surgery.
Dr Lim performs all surgeries at fully accredited hospitals — Lakeview Private Hospital and Westmead Private Hospital. Body contouring surgery is usually performed under general anaesthetic and, depending on the type of procedure, you may have to stay in hospital for a few days.
Please contact the hospital a day before surgery to confirm your admission and fasting time. On entering the hospital, you need to report to the admissions desk and the staff will direct you through the admission process. Dr Lim and the anaesthetist will both see you prior to surgery and Dr Lim will make some markings on your body.
After the procedure, you will spend some time in the recovery room where you will be closely monitored until you are fully awake and returned to your rooms. Dr Lim will visit you in hospital the morning after your surgery if you are staying overnight.
You may have firm bandages around your body, and there may be surgical drains to remove any fluid that may accumulate after surgery. You may have calf compressors (inflatable devices) and TED or compression stockings on both legs, as well as anticoagulant injections to reduce the risk of blood clots/deep vein thrombosis. You will have a drip in your arm and be connected to a machine to give you pain relief, fluids and medication.
The first days after surgery are usually the most uncomfortable, particularly when you are moving around. Like most operations, it is not painless; the pain will be mild to moderate for about 48 hours. It is normal to feel tired and a little slow for a day or two following a general anaesthetic, and to experience bruising and swelling around the surgical sites. You will have dressings over your incisions and will be able to shower 48 hours after your surgery.
Everyone is different, so the recovery period following these procedures varies from person to person and will depend on the specifics of the surgery. Most patients are back to their normal routine in three to six weeks.
Avoid over exertion and activity for the first six weeks. Take care not to bump, strain or place any pressure on your surgical sites. This includes lifting small children. Prevent the formation of blood clots in your legs with frequent gentle walks and mild foot and leg exercises.
Your body will be sensitive for two to three weeks following surgery and should be handled according to your own level of comfort.
Returning to work depends on the demands of your job — you may be able to return to light work within three to four weeks. Dr Lim will discuss your individual situation with you before and after your surgery.
I understand that all surgical procedures have risks involved; how do I find the information to make an informed decision?
We endeavour to make sure our patients are as informed as possible. While some of the potential risks seem frightening, it is important for you to be aware that they can occur. During consultation, Dr Lim will take you through the risks involved and the potential complications.
Some of the possible complications are:
- Unfavourable or unsightly scarring
- Keloids and hypertrophic (or raised) scars
- The final body shape may not be what the patient expected and may require further procedures
- Temporary or permanent numbness around operated sites
- Sutured skin may not heal well, and a skin graft may be needed
- Constrained movements
- Fluid accumulation around the incision sites
- Poor wound healing
- Fat necrosis
- In rare cases, patients may require a blood transfusion.
Following extensive weight loss, the results after body contouring surgery are visible immediately. It may take two years or more for the final results to develop completely.
Provided that the patient does carry out all efforts to maintain their weight and practise good eating habits and exercise, the final outcome is permanent. Scars will remain, and some body firmness may be lost over time, due to the natural ageing process.
Dr Lim will monitor your progress carefully and our staff will stay in contact with you during the post-operative period. You will be seen at frequent intervals over the first three months. Your relationship with Dr Lim and the nursing staff does not end once you have had the procedure.
If you have any questions or concerns after your operation, you are always welcome to call My Klinik.
Body Contouring After Weight Loss Video
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