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What you need to know about reconstructive surgery

Posted on 07/04/2014 at 12:00 AM by Todd Eibes, MD

bariatric plastic surgeryAre you a candidate for reconstructive surgery following a weight loss procedure?

Dramatic weight loss has many benefits, but after weight loss surgery the skin and tissues often lack the elasticity to conform to a reduced body size.

With significant weight loss over a relatively short period of time, patients are often left with excessive amounts of hanging skin that creates a multitude of problems such as daily hygiene and finding clothes that fit properly.

Reconstructive surgery is not required after a weight loss procedure, however many patients begin to consider it as their health improves.

These characteristics make you a good candidate:

  • Your weight has stabilized following your weight loss surgery (Usually 12-18 months after gastric sleeve surgery).
  • You are in overall good health without chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.
  • For women – You are done having children.
  • You do not smoke.
  • You have mental stamina. Reconstructive surgery procedures require patience and endurance.
  • You have realistic expectations. Surgery will lead to marked improvements in your shape, but it is impossible to restore the skin or body to what it would have been prior to the weight gain - or to what it was in your teens or twenties.

The changes a body will go through following weight loss surgery and subsequent diet and exercise programs vary from person to person, however general areas of concern that may be addressed through plastic surgery include:

  • Breast droopiness, as well as a loss of breast volume. 
  • Sagging of the facial skin
  • Excess abdominal skin and a laxity of the muscles of the abdominal wall (sometimes with an accompanying hernia)
  • Hanging skin under the arm
  • Wrinkling and excessive bagginess of the thighs 

It’s important to be realistic when considering reconstructive surgery. Keep the following in mind:

Pros:

  • It can get rid of loose skin so you can fit into your clothes better.
  • It can get rid of overhanging skin that might be causing painful chafing, rashes and infections.
  • It can improve your self-esteem.

Cons:

  • The plastic surgery results may not meet your expectations.
  • You will have permanent scarring.
  • Your surgery results may be affected by weight gain, aging and lifestyle choices.

If you think you want to be considered as a candidate for reconstructive surgery following a weight loss procedure, a consultation with a plastic surgeon should provide you with a basic understanding of the procedures and the results you can expect.

While Iowa Weight Loss Specialists does not provide reconstructive surgery services, we have worked with several plastic surgeons with excellent results including Central Iowa based Dr. Robbins, Dr. Reece, Dr. Sherman, and Dr. Lekkas.

If you’re interested in learning more about:

  • Dr. Todd Eibes
  • Iowa Weight Loss Specialists
  • Our West Des Moines location
  • Our weekly informational class
  • Weight loss surgery financing
  • Or would like to schedule a consultation

Please call 515-327-2000 or email us.

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