For those people who have experienced dramatic weight losses, there are both positive and negative results. The positive aspect is becoming much healthier and learning how to live a healthy lifestyle, which can lead to a much longer lifespan. However, the negative aspects can include excessive amounts of skin and fat that are left behind, resulting in disproportionate amounts of sagging skin around a person’s face, neck, abdomen, arms, thighs and other areas of their body. While years ago there may have been few if any options for this, today’s surgical procedures allow for body contouring that can remove excess skin and fat with minimal scarring.
When to Consider Post-Bariatric Surgery
There are several factors that can play a role in determining if the time is right for post-bariatric surgery. These can include:
- Weight stabilization for a minimum of 18 months after weight loss
- Is the excessive skin causing rashes or infections?
- Will the post-bariatric surgery meet the patient’s expectations?
While one of the major goals of post-bariatric surgery is to help improve a person’s self-esteem, they must also realize that the surgery results can be affected by such factors as the aging process, lifestyle choices and any future weight gain they may experience.
Who is a Good Candidate for Post-Bariatric Surgery?
As with any surgery, there are always risks involved. However, for those wishing to have post-bariatric surgery there are several characteristics that help to determine if they are good candidates. Among these are:
- Overall good health and free of chronic health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
- Following a healthy diet
- Positive mental outlook about the post-bariatric surgery
- Realistic expectations
One mistake many people make is assuming once the post-bariatric surgery is performed, their skin will automatically return to looking the same as it did in their younger years. While it will make a dramatic difference, skin will eventually sag as a result of the aging process. For those who may have chronic health conditions, getting clearance from a primary care doctor is a must. If a patient is a smoker, this may also be an obstacle to post-bariatric surgery. Smoking can impede the healing process and greatly increase the chance of complications from post-bariatric surgery, so smokers wishing to have this surgery must stop smoking at least six weeks prior to their surgery.
How Long Will the Results Last?
Under normal circumstances, the results of post-bariatric surgery should last forever. Pregnancies or additional weight gains may alter a person’s appearance in some ways, and the aging process will also play a factor. However, with regular follow-up visits and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, patients should be pleased with what they see in the mirror for many years.
As always, anyone considering post-bariatric surgery should speak first with their primary care doctor, then with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience in this specialty. By having realistic expectations and approaching the procedure with a positive attitude, post-bariatric surgery can enhance a person’s self-esteem while also making them healthier and happier.