Post-Bariatric Body Contouring in PCMC
We are all aware of the ill effects of Obesity. As the problem cropped up, medical field came up with various solutions ranging from dietary control to drug therapy and finally Surgical treatment (Bariatric Surgery).
Bariatric surgery is effective and positive results are seen leading to a dramatic reduction in the weight. It has also helped patients become healthier with control over Diabetes and Blood Pressure.
But does this solve all the problems?
The Answer is NO. It has created new challenges for these patients.
The problems following massive weight loss are faced by these patients on a daily basis. Just to give a short overview of the challenges faced:
Loose Skin: Patients developed loose hanging skin over Arms, Chest, Abdomen, Thighs and Back. This is because the skin has lost its capacity to retract. Unfortunately the skin is not like a balloon which will come back to its normal size after it is deflated. This loose skin results in:
- Cosmetically unappealing looks.
- Functional problems –
- Difficulty in movements due to loose skin
- Poor hygiene due to sweating in the skin folds leading to repeated infections including fungal infections.
- Depression due to poor body image.
The patient has taken great efforts for weight reduction with a definite goal in mind of leading a healthy lifestyle, functionally and cosmetically. With weight loss, only half of the problem is addressed. Now as w have started seeing the problems with massive weight loss, a new procedure known as Body Contouring has been developed to solve these problems. This is an established sub specialty of Plastic
Surgery in the West, but is a relatively new concept in India.
What exactly is Body Contouring?
To explain it in very simple terms, it involves removing the excess skin and to reshape the body to the patient current weight. The aim of the surgery is to give minimum scars that are hidden in normal clothing. All patients do not require treatment for all parts of the body. A lot depends on the patient & body type as well as his/her expectations. The treatment is highly individualized.
Surgeries included in Body Contouring are:
1. Tummy Tuck (Most commonly performed procedure): This involves removing the excess apron like hanging skin on the anterior part of the abdomen. A cut is made in the lower abdomen and the underlying layers of abdominalwall are tightened. Followingthis the skin is redraped to give you a flat tummy.
2. Breast Lift Procedure: After massive weight loss the breasts start sagging. Surgical correction to give a good size, shape and position is possible by undergoing a breast lift procedure.
3. Lower Body Lift: Usually performed along with the tummy tuck procedure. It aims to correct the excess skin that is present circumferentially around the waist. The shape of the buttocks, lower back and abdomen is corrected in this procedure.
4. Arm Lift: The hanging skin in the arms is excised in this surgery to give a toned look to the arms.
5. Thigh Lift: Excess skin in the inner thigh causes friction while walking and is a cause of great discomfort for the patient. The inner thigh lift helps in reducing this skin and makes walking comfortable for the patient.
How commonly are these Surgeries being performed?
Though it is becoming increasingly common for patients with this problem to approach a Plastic Surgeon but the awareness amongst the public as well as the medical fraternity is still low. I have met patients who were totally unaware that this problem has a solution. They have tried a lot of non-surgical options like massage therapies and exercises but are unhappy with the result. This problem needs a surgical solution and now trained specialists are available to treat this vexing problem.