In the past, bariatric surgery was the primary means of losing large amounts of weight. Today, more patients are finding freedom from weight struggles thanks to the rise of Ozempic® (semaglutide) injections; by mimicking a naturally occurring hormone, the drug “tricks” the mind into thinking it's full, which reduces appetite and makes it easier for someone to lose weight.
After Ozempic, however, it can be difficult to tighten and tone loose skin. Some patients are left with excessive fat deposits or sagging skin that requires surgery to remove. While some areas may be treatable through minimally invasive procedures, large amounts of skin after weight loss will need body contouring to eliminate it.
Body Contouring Procedures After Weight Loss
There are a variety of procedures a patient can undergo after massive weight loss to achieve their body goals. Far more than aesthetic, these procedures also help reduce discomfort, self-consciousness, and physical challenges that can arise from having a large amount of excess skin.
The range of procedures targets different parts of the body, and each treatment is customized to suit a patient’s needs and desired results. Some of the most popular body contouring procedures are:
- Abdominoplasty “tummy tuck” to remove excess skin around the abdomen and tone the silhouette.
- Liposuction to remove excess fat deposits.
- Breast reduction to achieve cleavage that is more proportionate to the rest of the body.
- Body lift to remove excess skin from massive weight loss.
- Breast lift to move sagging breasts higher on the chest and achieve greater alignment on the body.
- Male breast reduction to treat gynecomastia and remove excessive breast tissue; this also treats excessive sagging skin on the chest in males who have undergone major weight loss.
Dr. Schuster will evaluate your needs individually and suggest treatments based on your current appearance and desired results. He also considers your surgical preferences and works to make every procedure as minimally invasive as possible.
While some patients simply cannot get around the need for surgical skin removal, combining procedures may be ideal to minimize downtime, risks, and improve results.
We encourage you to arrange a consultation and discuss all your options with Dr. Schuster. He is always available and takes time with each patient to understand their concerns, desires, and preferences.
Am I a Candidate?
To qualify for body contouring, there are some qualifications to meet. These are important because they directly influence how effective surgery will be and whether or not you can safely undergo a procedure.
Ideal candidates for body contouring after weight loss:
- Close to their goal weight; losing large amounts of weight after treatment could negatively affect your results.
- Not currently on any restrictive diets; patients should eat full, balanced, nutritious meals before and after their procedure to aid the recovery process.
- Not smoke or heavily consume alcohol; if you do, then you will need to stop 14 to 30 days prior to surgery to minimize risks of complications. It is also advised not to resume within 30 days after surgery to enhance your body’s ability to heal.
Dr. Schuster will discuss your needs and help you determine whether you’re a good candidate for your desired procedures, as well as how you can become one if you are not currently eligible.
How to Prepare for Body Contouring Procedures
The pre-operative planning process does differ on a case-by-case basis. This is because the extent of surgery will ultimately affect what you need to do to prepare, including what arrangements you’ll have to make to support your greatest recovery.
Here are some general tips to help you plan for your treatment and recovery:
- Closely follow all post-operative instructions given to you by Dr. Schuster; this may include switching or discontinuing some medications and quitting smoking and alcohol consumption.
- Arrange for your post-surgical needs; this can include having a caretaker that can help dress your wounds, drive you home after treatment, and care for you the first 24-48 hours following surgery.
- Make sure your space is suitable for recovery; having assistive tools to help you reach things on high shelves is important. You should also avoid lifting heavy objects.
- Meal prep in advance and keep important items within reach to avoid the need for stretching, pulling, lifting, etc.
- Take time off work. Depending on the treatments you receive, it can take several weeks to several months to fully heal. You will likely need two to six weeks off of work to fully recover.
How Long Does Body Contouring After Weight Loss?
It all depends on what treatments you undergo and how many you have performed at once. For example, if you combine more than two treatments, then you may require separate surgical procedures.
What Are the Risks Associated With Body Contouring After Weight Loss Surgery?
The risks are generally related to anesthesia complications, surgical incision infection, and bleeding, scarring, and changes to skin sensation. Dr. Schuster will fully disclose any risks you face and do everything possible to minimize your chance of complications.
How Soon After Surgery Can I Drive?
You will need to wait several weeks after surgery. Most patients can resume driving 2-3 weeks after surgery.
Learn More About Your Body Contouring Options
Please contact Dr. Schuster’s office in Lutherville-Timonium, MD, to schedule an appointment. You can submit an online form or call 410-421-7790. Dr. Schuster is an experienced plastic surgeon with board certification; he currently serves as Chief of the Plastic Surgery Division at Northwest Hospital Center in Baltimore County, Maryland.