Cosmetic Surgery & Body Contouring after Obesity Surgery - Obesity Surgery Guide

For those who are overweight and feel that they are unable to undertake the appropriate diets and exercise required to reach their desired weight, obesity surgery may be the ideal solution. This type of surgery is designed to allow the patient to lose a substantial amount of weight to live a better, healthier life. Obesity surgery is not a cosmetic procedure, instead it is segregated into various different types which each change the stomach characteristics of the patient so that their food consumption is limited and weight loss quickly ensues.

It has been proven by a number of sources that obesity surgery is an effective option for those who wish to lose a lot of weight and avoid the risks associated with being significantly overweight. The positives that can result from obesity surgeries, such as a gastric band fitting, include increased mobility, higher self-esteem and lower cholesterol.

As with all types of surgery, there are also risks associated with obesity surgery. One common issue that is observed is the presence of loose skin that can be found unattractive and further surgery may be desired to remove the skin depending on the extent of the looseness. This excess skin is simply a result of the long-lasting obesity previously stretching the skin so it is more appropriate for a larger body. Therefore, as the weight is lost so quickly, the skin cannot keep up can form flaps and folds. Other potential obesity surgery risks include hernias, wound infection and gallstones.

Obesity surgery suitability

There are a number of guidelines set out by many clinics that must be abided by in order for the patient to be deemed suitable for surgery. These guidelines have been recommended by NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) and revolve primarily around your BMI (body mass index). Your BMI can be determined if you know your weight in kilograms and your height in metres. The actual guidelines include the following:

  • You are required to have a BMI of over 40 (or 35 if you have got a medical condition due to your weight)
  • You must have previously tried and failed to lose weight using medical interventions
  • You need to be fit and healthy enough to endure the physical stress of the surgery
  • You should not have any medical or psychiatric issue that would make the surgery potentially more dangerous or ill-advised
  • It is necessary that you be committed to the long-term lifestyle changes required for you to maintain the benefits of the obesity surgery.

Body Contouring

As previously mentioned, one common problem that is often experience by those who undergo obesity surgery is the excess loose skin that results from the extensive stretching by the fat. There is a solution to this issue and it is known as body contouring. This name covers a number of different types of surgeries that are designed to remove any stubborn fat or excess skin that may be experienced and deemed undesirable. This can greatly improve the appearance of the body and make the obesity surgery appear significantly more beneficial and restore body confidence. It is advisable that you should wait for at least a year before seeking out cosmetic surgery after your obesity surgery to ensure the body isn't under too much stress.

Types of body contouring surgery

Liposuction is a well-known cosmetic procedure that is used to remove fat from specific areas of the body, such as the thighs, buttocks and "bingo-wings". The process involves a surgeon inserting a hollow tube, known as a cannula, into the position where the fat is located. The other end of the cannula is attached to a vacuum, which effectively sucks out the fat from the area.

Another method used to remove fat in a minimally invasive surgical manner is by liposelection. This procedure is somewhat similar to liposuction in that a cannula is inserted and the fat is removed from localized areas. However, liposelection differs in that is uses ultrasound waves to melt the fat. This melted fat can then be extracted using more gentle suction than that used in liposuction.

A commonly known type of body contouring cosmetic surgery is a "tummy tuck". This procedure is more formally known as an abdominoplasty and is focused on removing fat and skin from the stomach area. During the process, the surgeon will tighten the abdominal muscles and then pull the fat and skin down to judge how much can be classed as excessive. The surgeon then removes the excess skin and fat in order to give the stomach and flatter, more toned appearance.

A surgical procedure that is sometimes performed in conjunction with an abdominoplasty is a panniculectomy. During a panniculectomy, the surgeon simply removes excess skin or fat but does not tighten the abdominal muscles. This makes the procedure extremely similar to an abdominoplasty but is less invasive and concentrates primarily on removing excess fat and skin as opposed to increasing muscle tone.

There are numerous types of cosmetic surgery procedures known as "lifts". These can range from a body lift where excess skin and fat is removed and tighten in various areas of the body in one procedure to a facelift where just facial skin is tightened. Another type of "lift" surgery is a buttock lift where the fat and skin is removed from the tops of the thighs and the buttocks to give a flatter, more toned appearance. Similar procedures include a thigh lift and a neck lift, which are performed in the same way at the respective locations.

A common location of excessive drooping after obesity surgery is the breast. This can affect both men and women but seems more of an issue in females due to the amount of breast tissue. To sort this situation, a surgeon can perform a mastopexy, which is more commonly known as a breast uplift. During this procedure, the surgeon removes excess skin and relocates the nipple to a higher point. This surgery lifts breasts and makes them further. It is not uncommon for women to complement this surgery with breast implants to give their breasts a fuller appearance that is more in proportion with their new figure.

Although breast problems are often more commonly associated with women, they can affect men too, especially if the were obese. A surgical procedure, known as gynaecomastia, can be offered to men in order to reduce the size of their pectoral area. This is becoming an increasingly popular procedure and it involves the removal of excess fat that is deposited there throughout the obese phase of the man's life. The result is a flatter chest, which is more desired by men as it gives a more masculine appearance.

Selecting your cosmetic surgeon

At present, body contouring cosmetic procedures are not available on the NHS. This means that if you wish to undergo such procedures following obesity surgery, you will be required to locate a private clinic and pay for it yourself. It is still worth, however, approaching your doctor to discuss why you wish to have the cosmetic procedure concerned and they may be able to refer you or at least recommend a reputable surgeon to carry out your procedure.

If you do not wish to approach your doctor for a surgeon recommendation and would rather locate a clinic and surgeon yourself, it is important that you know what to look for. A key factor that is vital when selecting your surgeon is ensuring that they are on the General Medical Council's register of plastic surgeons. They should also have been the holder of a consultancy position with the NHS as well as being an affiliated member of the Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS).

Surgeons of the highest quality are often members of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAPS or BAAPS). This ensures that the surgeon is highly qualified and experience as becoming a member of this associated is extremely difficult and there are very specific guidelines that must be followed.

The price of body contouring

It is very difficult to be able to give an accurate estimate of how much your body contouring surgery will cost. The price of body contouring is very variable as it depends on which procedure you are undergoing, the extent of work required and the clinic/surgeon your select. Often, the cost can reflect the qualification of a surgeon as those who have most experience and are more desired are able to charge more as they are in demand due to their high quality of work and good reputation.

Most clinics offer a finance plan that is most suited to you to ensure that you are able to pay in full for the surgery but at a rate that is good for you. These plans often involve paying in instalments. You can discuss during your pre-surgery consultation how much you are able to pay each month and a plan can often be generated around this. If your clinic, however, does not offer such instalment plan you may still be able to approach a bank for a loan or some insurance companies may be willing to cover cosmetic procedures although you must check with them prior to committing yourself to the procedure.

Generally speaking, the cheaper body contouring procedures are those that take the least time and are less invasive, such as liposuction or liposelection. The prices tend to increase depending on the amount of work required. Body lifts are often the most expensive procedure and can range from around £10,000 to £45,000 although these prices can vary considerably.