What’s the Difference Between Body Contouring and Weight Loss Surgery?

Shedding unwanted fat is always a hot topic of conversation among my patients. It’s quite common for plastic surgery patients to seek help getting rid of unwanted body fat in an effort to improve how they look and feel. But to help determine which procedure may best help someone achieve the improved figure they desire, I must first help them realize what exactly each specific cosmetic procedure is capable of for each individual patient. This begins by defining the difference between body contouring procedures and weight loss procedures. Although I do not personally perform bariatric surgery, I do perform post-bariatric surgery and many patients may not understand this distinction.

What’s the Difference Between Body Contouring and Weight Loss SurgeryWhile both weight loss (or bariatric) surgery and body contouring surgery can both provide excellent results and improve a patient’s appearance and self-esteem, they are very different types of procedures intended to help patients with drastically different needs. That’s why I have taken some time to differentiate weight loss surgery from body contouring surgery to help patients understand which type of procedure to consider.

Bariatric surgery is designed to help people who are very overweight or obese lose considerable amounts of weight. The procedure works by limiting the amount of food the patient’s stomach can hold by reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band or through removal of a portion of the stomach. Certain bariatric procedures even re-route the small intestine to a small stomach pouch. In some cases, this may lead to a state called malabsorption in which the body cannot absorb of certain food nutrients in a typical way. The most commonly-performed bariatric surgery procedures today include gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric band, and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch.

On the other hand, body contouring procedures are designed to help patients rejuvenate their appearance after they have experienced dramatic changes to their body as a result of major weight loss, pregnancy, or natural aging. Unlike bariatric surgery that may help a patient lose a large amount of weight, body contouring is intended to help those who are already at or near their ideal weight tweak their appearance by removing and repositioning excess skin and tissue. Some of the most popular body contouring procedures include liposuction, tummy tucks, breast lifts, and arm lifts.

Instead of focusing on their differences, let’s take a moment to consider how these types of procedures can complement each other. Often after bariatric surgery, patients are left to deal with an excess of loose, stretched skin. That’s where body contouring procedures can help put the finishing touches on a patient’s new improved appearance by removing this extra skin and smoothing out the results of their bariatric surgery. We call this post-bariatric surgery. For more information body contouring or post-bariatric surgery, please contact Southern Plastic Surgery today to schedule your plastic surgery consultation with me, Dr. David Whiteman. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more tips, photos, and updates.

Importance of Weight Management

As a society, our battle with obesity rates has been a hot topic of conversation and while there have been many initiatives put into place to encourage all of us to get active and be more mindful of the food and beverages we consume, for many weight management can be difficult.  An increasing trend among plastic surgery procedures is post-bariatric procedures, or body contouring procedures performed after losing a substantial amount of weight from either diet/exercise or gastric bypass surgery.  Once a person has successfully reached their goal weight, the removal of excess skin that has stretched out, due to the extra weight the body once carried, can be viewed as the last step to achieving their desired physique.  However, it is my belief that being mindful of weight management before, during and after rapid weight loss is the key to living a healthier, more active lifestyle and also maintaining your results.

liposuction atlantaBeing obese can cause a plethora of complications to your health.  From diabetes and depression to cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders, not giving your body the nutrition and physical activity it needs to function properly on a daily basis can be detrimental.  Every inch of our bodies are interconnected and our bodies function similarly to smoothly run cars.  With proper maintenance and giving it the right “oil,” we are able to reduce stress, increase energy and brain function, control weight and even improve our mood.

Often times we hear the importance of exercising regularly; this alone is not going to help manage your weight.  There needs to be a nice balance of exercise and diet, plus a commitment to sticking with it, to ensure gradual success.  I say gradual because it’s a marathon and not a sprint when it comes to weight management; the challenge is finding what works best for you and your lifestyle.  Our days may simply seem like there aren’t enough hours to go to work, get on a treadmill for 30 minutes then follow that up with making a hearty, home cooked meal.  But if you were to think about all of the effort and resources needed to reverse prolonged weight gain, why not mitigate the need for multiple cosmetic procedures because your final plastic surgery results are reversed once you slip back into your previous lifestyle?

Body contouring isn’t a method for weight loss, so you shouldn’t be fooled by the idea that you can liposuction large amounts of fat to help you get to a specific weight.  The work doesn’t stop after you leave the operating room and battling pockets of fat can be an ongoing struggle if you let it work its way back into your areas of concern.  For those of you who are exploring your options for post-bariatric procedures, there are several procedures to help you address sagging skin and improve contours.  As a double-board certified plastic surgeon, most commonly I perform arm lift, thigh lift, breast lift, tummy tuck and body lift to help patients achieve a more sculpted appearance that matches your new body.

We understand the difficulty sticking with such an undertaking as changing your lifestyle can be, but trust me when I say it’s worth it.  To help better serve our patients and give them the extra resources that could benefit them, we have a Lifestyle & Weight Management Specialist to help keep you focused and motivated.  Spearheaded by NESTA Weight Management Specialist Jackie Madison, our Lifestyle Change program promotes healthy active lifestyles by encouraging weight loss and management and holding you accountable each step of the way.  From past experiences, we have seen many of our patients make the most out of our Lifestyle Weight Management program and we really want each of them to have continued success long after leaving our office.

If you’re interested in starting your healthy lifestyle plan or want to find out about the body contouring and post-bariatric procedures we perform, please don’t hesitate to contact Southern Plastic Surgery today.  For more updates on plastic surgery and health and wellness, be sure to connect with me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Reshaping Your Midsection with Tummy Tuck Surgery

The abdomen is a common area where many patients have stubborn, unwanted fat and/or excess skin. Pregnancy, weight loss or gain, and aging can all affect the appearance of the midsection. To help patients achieve a flatter, smoother contour, double board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. David Whiteman performs tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty. Unlike other body contouring procedures such as liposuction which does not remove loose skin or address muscle separation, tummy tucks are specifically designed to remove excess skin and fat from the midsection.

atlanta Tummy Tuck Surgery

During tummy tuck surgery, Dr. Whiteman makes an incision in the lower abdominal region between the hips where scarring can be hidden by underwear or a bathing suit. Loose skin and unwanted fat are removed, and Dr. Whiteman will repair weakened abdominal muscles. For patients who do not require muscle repair, they can choose a mini tummy tuck option. By repairing affected abdominal muscles, the abdominal wall maintains a smooth appearance. If patients still have remaining areas of unwanted fat in surrounding areas such as the hips, flanks, or back, liposuction is commonly combined with tummy tuck to remove fat from these areas.

Often, abdominoplasty is a procedure used in mommy makeover surgery to help patients restore their pre-pregnancy stomach as pregnancies can cause weight gain and skin to lose elasticity. Dr. Whiteman may also perform tummy tuck surgery for post-bariatric patients who have residual skin from substantial weight loss. While tummy tucks can help patients achieve their aesthetic goals, it should never substitute weight loss or a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Whiteman always advises his patients to maintain a healthy diet and exercise after surgery for long-lasting cosmetic surgery results.

If you’re interested in abdominoplasty or other plastic surgery procedures, contact us today. To help plan a healthy lifestyle, Jackie Madison is a certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Specialist and is available in-office at Southern Plastic Surgery. Connect with Dr. Whiteman on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.