Surgery After Weight Loss
Who is a good candidate for this surgery?
Many people who have lost substantial amounts of weight either by dieting or bariatric (e.g. gastric band) surgery are left with unsightly skin folds. This is because the skin has stretched too much to be able to return to it’s previous shape. Commonly affected areas are the abdomen, breasts, upper arms and thighs. It is best to perform this surgery when the goal weight or size has been obtained.
It is important that potential candidates for surgery are relatively fit, because the surgery is sometimes quite extensive and lasts for several hours. Ideally patients should stop smoking to minimise their risk factors.
What can this surgery do for me?
The surgery can help to reduce the excess skin folds and restore a more normal contour to the arms, legs and trunk.
How is the surgery done?
Each area of the body requires a slightly different technique. Broadly speaking, the excess skin and some underlying fat is removed, keeping scars to areas that are less visible such as below the bikini line or the inner aspect of the thigh.
What kind of anaesthetic do I need?
A general anaesthetic is used, supplemented with a long acting local anaesthetic for post operative pain relief.
How long am I in hospital?
This will depend a lot on the amount of tissue removed, but 2 nights is usual.
How quickly will I recover?
Recovery is variable and depends on many factors including complications of surgery as outlined below. In a straightforward tummy tuck operation, most patients are back to work a month after surgery. If arms and legs are also affected, more time might be needed. In each individual case your surgeon will advise you about your recovery and which activites should be avoided. Patients will be able to drive after a few weeks, but there is great individual variation and it is essential to clear any driving with your insurance company.
What are the potential problems with this surgery?
Most patients who have lost a lot of weight are already well aware of the dangers associated with being overweight and also that surgery is more risky. Having lost weight the risks fall significantly, but patients can still suffer some of the complications such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT, or leg clots) chest infections etc. The higher a patients body mass index, the greater the risk.
The main problems specific to this type of surgery involve problems with wound healing. Some patients can experience wound breakdown, and sometimes loss of skin at the wound edges because the blood supply to the skin is insufficient. Wound infections are also relatively common. Scars are inevitable and quite large. All scars are to some extent a little unpredictable and can vary from thin, pale, almost invisible marks to wider, red, stretched or even raised marks. Some patients will experience patchy numbness of some areas of skin that in most will disappear, but is sometimes permanent.
How much will surgery after weight loss cost me?
Please contact our experienced team of medical secretaries and they will be able to advise you of costs at your chosen hospital. (Spire Norwich Hospital, Nuffield Health Ipswich Hospital or BMI The Sandringham Hospital, King's Lynn).