Body contouring surgery also referred to as surgery following weight loss, involves a number of potential surgical procedures designed to improve the body’s appearance after significant weight loss.
Losing weight has a number of well-known health benefits. It reduces the risk of having heart disease, high blood pressure and some types of cancers, along with some other benefits too, such as improved self-esteem.
Weight loss can be achieved through lifestyle changes such as increased exercise, reduced dietary intake, or via surgery (e.g. bariatric surgery). Surgical procedures to reduce weight achieve this by either reducing how much you can eat (portions) or how much your body can absorb.
Small fluctuations in weight, particularly when you are younger, are generally well tolerated and regulated by the body. Larger weight fluctuations may exceed the skin’s elastic ability to shrink with the weight loss resulting in excess skin that is loose, and in some cases excessively mobile (i.e. moves around on the body significantly).
This loose skin can produce a number of adverse physical symptoms, such as skin irritation and discomfort as well as having an effect on your psychological well-being, with a mismatch between your new internal self-image and health, and the left over skin and its physical challenges to manage.
Body contouring (or surgery after weight loss) can help you to enjoy the benefits of having a lighter body.
The main purpose of body contouring or surgery following weight loss, is to remove the excess skin, while creating the least possible visible scars.
With the intention of achieving a contoured body, a series of surgical procedures are performed to improve the individual’s body appearance and ability to move and exercise. Additionally, clothes may start to fit better, shaping the new body silhouette and allowing the results of the individual’s dedication after their weight loss journey to radiate.
At Avery, we welcome the opportunity to have an open conversation with you to understand the changes you are looking for with surgery. Our patients’ stories matter a great deal to us. You can discover some of our wonderful patients’ journeys here.
Wherever you are on your personal journey, we would like to assist you. Dr Avery will listen to your concerns and what you want to achieve with surgery. Dr Avery will assess your health and medical history to ensure any surgical procedure you are considering is a safe and appropriate choice for you.
Your genes and lifestyle influence your body type and shape, including where excess body weight is distributed. Following significant weight loss, there are a number of common areas of the body that are prone to become problematic alone or in some combination. These include the abdomen and breasts, thighs, arms, neck, buttocks and back.
Depending on your individual goals and body type, the following surgeries are some of the procedures you might undergo during body contouring surgery:
Abdominoplasty surgery, also referred to as tummy tuck, consists of the removal and tightening of the abdomen skin, removal of excess fat where appropriate, and repositioning or tightening of the rectus abdominis muscles. The extent of these three components is tailored to individual requirements.
Find out more about how abdominoplasty surgery can restore the abdomen skin and muscles here.
Breast reduction surgery involves a combination of skin and breast tissue removal and reshaping. The surgery aims to reduce the size and weight of large breasts by lifting the breasts off the lower chest and upper abdomen. The objective is to leave the breasts smaller and lighter, sitting higher on the chest and closer to the body.
Discover here what is involved in breast reduction surgery and how this surgical procedure can help to address physical limitations and discomfort.
Augmentation mammoplasty, commonly referred to as breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that aims to increase the size, shape, or fullness of the breast using implants. Individuals might consider this surgery when they want to restore their breast volume lost after weight reduction or pregnancy, achieve a more rounded breast shape or improve their natural breast size asymmetry.
Visit the breast augmentation surgery section to learn more about what to expect from this surgery.
A breast lift or mastopexy aims to create or restore fuller and firmer breasts by raising the breasts on the chest and reshaping them. Women who experience changes in the position or firmness and fullness of the breasts through the process of pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight fluctuation and ageing may benefit from a breast lift.
Get a deeper understanding of what is involved during breast lift surgery here.
Breast lift surgery with breast implants combines the benefits of breast augmentation surgery with a breast lift. The aim is to increase volume, shape and fullness (breast augmentation) while raising the position and altering the shape of the breast.
There are two main pathways to a consultation with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon. Your GP or another health practitioner can make a referral to Dr Avery. Alternatively, it is possible to refer yourself for a consultation. This decision may be made after talking with family or friends, or following your own research into plastic surgery and Dr Avery.
The purpose of your initial consultation with Dr Avery is to discuss both your concerns and your goals. It is an opportunity to openly communicate what you want to change, alleviate, improve, restore, enhance, or remove. We will discuss any concerns you may have about your potential surgery and its outcome. We will also collect information that is specific and tailored to you, to add to the knowledge you acquired through your research outside of the consultation process.
When you arrive at Avery, you will check in with our front-desk team and complete a medical history form, if not already completed. We encourage you to bring a supportive family member or friend who can remain with you throughout the consultation if you like, and be a sounding board during your decision-making process following the consultation process.
The consultation with Dr Avery will include an examination of the area of your body that you are concerned with and considering changing. Our aim will be to determine if plastic surgery can achieve what you hope it will, and if so, what specific plastic surgery procedures will address your concerns and meet your expectations in a realistic way.
Plastic surgery procedures generally impact both physical appearance and your psychological response to the new changes in your body. Besides all the advantages to having plastic surgery, it is important to be fully aware of any potential limitations of the operation and how they apply to your unique situation. This includes possible complications and what can be done if these occur.
We will discuss what the surgery involves, how it relates to you specifically given your uniqueness and current state of health, what the possible risks of the surgery are, and then decide if having the surgery is a safe and appropriate choice for you as an individual.
After your consultation, our support team will be there to talk through any further questions you have, including the cost of the surgery.
At Avery, our goal is to ensure you are equipped with the knowledge needed for you to feel empowered throughout the decision making process, surgery and post surgery.
Several nights in hospital are generally required post-surgery to aid with your recovery. Depending on the complexity of the surgery and any additional procedures, up to 2-4weeks off work may also be recommended.
There will be some bruising and swelling, which generally subsides about 2 weeks after the operation. You will be required to wear a compression garment or bandages for approximately 6 weeks to provide support and reduce post-operative pain or swelling.
A customised pain relief program will be created for you and issued before you leave the hospital. If circumstances change at any stage during the recovery period, then the pain medication can certainly be adjusted accordingly.
Scars from surgery following weight loss will vary depending on the area being operated on and how well your skin copes with scarring. There are different incisions needed depending on the surgery (breast, face, abdomen, thighs, etc). These incisions once healed, become scars.
Body Contouring FAQs
The best time to proceed with body contouring surgery is when your weight loss is mostly complete, and your weight has been stable for several months. If you have had surgery to help achieve weight loss, you may be required to wait at least a year before body contouring surgery.
It is advisable to have surgery once you’ve reached your preferred weight goal, and you are able to maintain this new weight.
It is possible to have a consultation regarding potential surgery during your weight loss journey, i.e., before your weight loss has stabilised.
It is possible to combine surgical procedures to multiple areas in one operation. Surgery to the abdomen and breasts is one such combination that may be safely combined. There are some Medicare / health insurance restrictions to certain combinations.
The key considerations of combining surgery are:
- the safety and length of the surgery
- the influence more extensive surgery may have on the ultimate outcome
- the required recovery period
The potential surgical combinations will depend on your personal goals and requirements. If you are considering surgery to multiple areas, the order in which you may undergo these will depend on what is required to achieve your goals.
Like any surgery, there is always an element of risk and a possibility of complications. Complications such as blood clots, infection, bruising, bleeding, poor wound healing and unsightly scarring can be experienced post body contouring surgery.
As part of the consultation process, Dr Avery will have a more in-depth discussion with you regarding potential complications and how to reduce the risk of these.
Body contouring surgery requires general anaesthesia that is safe and effective, with minimal risk. Dr Avery will talk through the potential risks during your consultation.
Body contouring surgery is a permanent surgical procedure; however, it does not prevent future weight gain. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise.
Revisional surgery may be an option to help you achieve the optimal result post-surgery or to correct minor irregularities.
Dr Avery will assess and inform you to help you make the right decision for you and your body.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. Dr Avery is a member of the two leading professional associations for plastic surgeons in Australia, ASAPS and ASPS. Their websites provide additional information regarding plastic surgery in Australia that you might find useful, please visit ASAPS and ASPS.