After losing a large amount of weight, one of the usual after effects is an abundance of excess skin that no amount of exercise or diet will get rid of. It can be disheartening and hard to bear, especially after working so hard to get hundreds of pounds off.
Before and After of Extreme Weight LossImage Courtesy of www.thedoctorstv.com
As seen on The Doctors, most patients who undergo extreme weight loss often do it with the aid of weight loss surgery or a fitness trainer. It is also possible through very hard work and time to achieve dramatic weight loss of more than 50% your original weight. Regardless of the means, at the end of major weight loss, there is bound to be excess skin that can be a purely a cosmetic issue and an embarrassment.
Similar to how a balloon will stretch as air is blown into it, when a significant amount of weight is gained, skin will stretch to accommodate the extra volume. When air is let out of the balloon, as in extreme weight loss, the leftover skin is often stretched out, hanging loose and unable to return to a tighter state. To manage excessive skin, there are surgical procedures such as a tummy tuck or body lift to remove the extra skin.
A body lift is an absolutely wonderful procedure. The procedure balances both the front and the back - it really is a transformative process - Dr. Paul Vitenas
A common and most obvious place that extra skin hangs post-weight loss is the abdomen but other parts of the body can be affected as well. According to Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Vitenas, "A body lift is an absolutely wonderful procedure. The procedure balances both the front and the back - it really is a transformative process." A body lift offers patients a way to remove excess skin in the abdominal area and the back. Unlike a tummy tuck, which only addresses the abdomen, a body lift, also known as a circumferential abdominoplasty spans the entire trunk. "Many of the patients that we see would really benefit from having a body lift instead of just a tummy tuck," Dr. Vitenas continues.
Actual Body Lift Results of Dr. Paul Vitenas
During a body lift, the extra skin from the abdomen and back is excised while the patient is under general anesthesia. The skin is then sewn back together, leaving patients with a scar that transects the body. However, Dr. Vitenas states, "Patients are initially concerned about the scarring from the body lift. But in over 20 years of performing body lifts, I have never had a patient come back and say, 'You know, I wish I wouldn't have done a body lift - I wish I would only have a scar in the front and no scar in the back' The scar is absolutely the least of their concerns and they are delighted with the shape of their body."
A serious surgical procedure, a body lift takes approximately 4-6 hours to perform. There is significant downtime associated with the surgery: about 2 weeks during which patients usually need to wear compression garments and no strenuous activity for at least 4-6 weeks.