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.

Thigh Lift Surgery Provides Exceptional Results for Post Bariatric and Skin Aging Patients

For bariatric surgery patients, the original weight- loss surgery is often only half the battle.  Patients who have successfully endured bariatric surgery and have been able to lose weight and keep it off, are regularly left with debilitating amounts of sagging, excess skin on their lower trunk and legs which inhibits them from fully taking advantage of their reclaimed lives.  Excess skin and fat is equally frustrating to those individuals who are life-long exercisers who are simply unable to rid their bodies of fat deposits on their thighs.  For both of these groups, the thigh lift (thighplasty) is a cosmetic body contouring procedure that may help them capture the silhouettes they have long chased.
The thigh lift, unlike liposuction which targets underlying fat specifically, also works to remove excess tissue on various portions of a patient’s thighs in addition to removing lean layers of fatty tissue.  Dr. Whiteman uses several versions of the thigh lift procedure including:  inner thigh lift, bilateral thigh lift, medial thigh lift to most effectively target the areas of the leg in need of re-contouring and skin tightening.
Results from a thigh lift are dramatic and often offer a renewed sense of “freedom” for patients.  While there are limited scars associated with all types of the thigh lift procedure, certified plastic and cosmetic surgeons like Dr. David Whiteman are especially adept at hiding the necessary incisions in the body’s natural folds; easily concealed by clothing and active wear.
An added advantage of thigh lift procedure is that is can easily be performed in conjunction with other “lift” procedures like tummy tucks  (abdominoplasty), breast lift (mastopexy) breast reduction, arm lift (brachioplasty), and body lift to redefine the contours of post-bariatric patients.  For patients who are approaching the procedure to reverse the effects of skin aging, the thigh lift is also easily performed with facial rejuvenation procedures.
To learn more about the cosmetic procedures Dr. Whiteman offers at Southern Plastic Surgery contact his office, visit his website, or subscribe to his blog.