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Post Weight Loss Body Lift Washington DC

Post Weight Loss – Body Lift Washington DC

For many patients who have experienced massive weight loss, there is excess skin not only of the anterior abdominal region, but also of the flanks, outer thighs, back, and buttocks.  All of these areas can be addressed with a single surgery – circumferential body lift. 

In this procedure, all of the loose, redundant skin is excised.  The trade off is a scar that is similar to a belt around the entire lower trunk region.  Not only is the abdomen flatter, but the pubic area is elevated, the outer thighs are tightened, the lower back folds are removed, and the buttocks are lifted and made smoother.  The tightening and lift is achieved by using the deeper fascial tissue to suspend the skin of the outer thighs and lower back regions.  This helps to maintain the lift over time and minimizes recurrence of the loose and hanging appearance of the skin.

Some patients elect to have an extended abdominoplasty initially.  Either months or years later, they may decide to convert to a circumferential body lift.  Whether it is done as a single procedure or in two stages, the result is the same – a lower trunk region that is missing the excess skin and now has a tighter, flatter appearance.

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Post Weight Loss Surgery

The procedure is typically performed in a hospital under general anesthesia with an overnight stay.  Occasionally, this can be done in an ambulatory setting, but this decision is made on a case-by-case basis after discussion between the patient and the surgeon.  The patient is marked in a standing position either the day prior to surgery or that morning.  The proposed skin to be excised is outlined, as is the expected location of the final scar.

At the end of the procedure, temporary drains will be placed to prevent fluid from accumulating underneath the skin.  A urinary catheter (Foley) remains in place overnight.  Patients who undergo this surgery in an ambulatory setting may have a pain pump placed that delivers local anesthesia to the operative site.  Patients who remain in the hospital overnight will receive pain medication through their IV.  Following surgery, the patient is wrapped in an abdominal binder.  The operative dressing is changed at the first postoperative visit and the drains are removed when the output is minimal.  Patients typically wear a compression garment for one month following surgery.

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Recovery from Post Weight Loss Surgery

The recovery period for a circumferential body lift ranges from 4-6 weeks.  Patients typically refrain from sitting for the first 5-10 days, remaining either in a standing position or lying down to avoid putting tension on the incision.  Driving should be avoided for the first 3 weeks.  While each patient is different, most are back to full activities by 6 weeks, and many patients are back to their normal exercise program by 8-10 weeks.  It is important that patients wear a compression garment when exercising for the first two months following surgery.

Scar massage can begin 3-4 weeks postoperatively.  Scars are initially red and raised, but flatten and fade over the course of a year.  Also, during this first year, the final lower trunk shape will be achieved.  If any revisions or touch-ups are necessary, they typically will be performed at 9-12 months following surgery.

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Post Weight Loss Surgery Risks and Complications

Risks and complications are uncommon, but may occur.  They include, but are not limited to: bleeding, infection, asymmetry, wound separation, loss of the umbilicus, skin loss, fluid collection under the skin following drain removal requiring drainage (seroma), prolonged numbness and/or swelling, widened, hypertrophic or keloid scarring, and need for revision surgery in the future.

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