Body contouring is the name given to a set of surgical procedures designed to remove excess skin and stubborn deposits of fat while improving the shape and proportions of the body. Body contouring is most commonly performed after dramatic weight loss due to surgery or changes in lifestyle.
The procedures involved in body contouring are highly individualized according to each patient’s aesthetic goals, and may include a facelift, breast lift, tummy tuck, brachioplasty (arm lift), thighplasty (thigh lift), or others.
As we age, our skin loses elasticity and deposits of fat gathered in specific parts of the body become more difficult to reduce or eliminate. If surgery or a lifestyle change has led to major weight loss and you find that some areas of the body sag or you have noticeable excess skin, body contouring may be an ideal solution.
Candidates should be in generally good physical health, non-smokers, and without any medical conditions that may affect the healing process. You should also reach your weight-loss goals before undergoing body contouring. If you believe that body contouring may be for you, schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
At the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago, we understand that each patient’s aesthetic goals are unique. Dramatic weight loss can lead to a healthy increase in self-esteem and confidence, but excess and sagging skin can be a hindrance to your self-image.
When you schedule a consultation with our practice, you will speak with a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic surgery of the face, breast, and body. You and your plastic surgeon will review your medical history to ensure that you are a good candidate for body contouring, and your surgeon will suggest treatment options that are right for your body type and goals. We will never perform any procedure unless we are certain that it is the best course of treatment for you.
To begin, a general anesthetic is administered to ensure comfort during the procedure. The process itself varies according to the individual needs of the patient. Incision sites for body contouring are usually larger than most plastic surgery procedures due to the removal of excess skin; however, your plastic surgeon will place the incisions as strategically as possible and attempt to conceal them within natural folds and contours of the body.
Body contouring is usually performed in stages. Your plastic surgeon will outline each stage and discuss the particular process for each individual procedure during your consultation. The procedures typically involved in body contouring may include:
- Breast lift
- Brachioplasty (arm lift)
- Tummy tuck
- Thighplasty (thigh lift)
The details and process for each of these procedures can be read by clicking the link above.
The recovery period is different for each of the procedures that may be involved in body contouring. Most of these procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, so patients will usually be able to return home the day of surgery. Your plastic surgeon will prescribe pain medications and give specific instructions for post-surgical care. It is very important to follow all of these instructions to mitigate any potential risks that are associated with any of the procedures involved in body contouring.
Each subsequent stage of body contouring can be performed after the previous stage has fully healed. Results of each procedure are usually apparent right after surgery, but the full aesthetic results may not be visible until swelling and bruising subsides, which may take six to eight weeks.
Any surgical procedure involves some potential risks; in general, the risks of the procedures involved in body contouring may include:
- Hematoma (blood clot)
- Changes in skin sensation
- Skin discoloration
At the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago, we take every precaution to avoid potential complications by employing the safest and most innovative techniques. You can further reduce the potential for risk by carefully following all instructions from your plastic surgeon, both before and after a procedure.
Due to the highly individualized process of body contouring, the associated cost varies too widely to be able to give an average. The cost may further be affected by your location, your plastic surgeon, and the surgical center at which the procedure is performed. Be sure to speak to your plastic surgeon during your consultation about the cost of body contouring, including any payment options that may be available. Medical insurance rarely covers the cost for body contouring, since it is considered a cosmetic procedure.
If you are bothered by sagging or excess skin after major weight loss, body contouring may be right for you. If you would like to know more about the procedure, or if you have questions about body contouring, schedule a consultation with the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago. We will be happy to speak with you and perform an evaluation to see if body contouring is the best fit for you and your aesthetic goals.
All surgical procedures by the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago are performed at top hospitals in Chicago and CMS or AAAASF-certified surgical centers for safety.