Body Contouring After Weight Loss

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Congratulations. You made a decision to lose weight. You stuck with your plan and now you see the results of your determination. Those results are reduced weight and better health, but significant weight loss can make for its own problems. Skin that has been stretched over a number of years due to weight gain becomes less and less elastic, so even as patients regain their healthy lifestyle and approach their ideal weight, no amount of exercise or workouts can remove the loose and sagging skin that can accompany significant or massive weight loss. Surgery is the best option to address this.

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Body Contouring Surgery

Body contouring after major weight loss is a broad umbrella term covering multiple procedures. Weight loss patients may benefit from one or more of the following procedures:

  • Abdominoplasty, Panniculectomy, or full lower body lift to correct lax muscle, tighten tissue, and remove hanging sagging skin or “apron”
  • Brachioplasty to remove batwings and excessive skin of the upper arms allowing for a slimmer and more aesthetic look
  • Thigh and butt lift to remove excessive skin and provide tone and structure to the leg, hips and buttocks.
  • Breast reduction, lift, or augmentation to restore form and profile of sagging and deflated breast.
  • Liposuction to sculpt and add definition to stomach, backs, flanks, arms, and legs

These surgeries will improve the quality and tone of underlying structures while at the same time removing sagging excess fat and skin and helping patients on their path to more healthy living.

Ideal Candidates for Body Contouring

Before deciding to undergo body contouring following major weight loss patients’ weight needs to be stabilized. Candidates for body contouring after significant weight loss are in good overall health, are close to their ideal body weight and desire surgery to remove excess draped skin resulting from significant weight loss. Patients should have realistic expectations about the outcome of the procedure. If you have had weight reduction surgery, your Dr. Mess will work closely with your physician to determine when it is appropriate for you to begin body contouring.

Before & After Photos

before and after body lift before and after body lift

before and after body lift before and after body lift

Preparing for Body Contouring Surgery

Prior to the procedure, patients will need to get a medical assessment and stop taking certain medications, such as aspirin, which can increase bleeding during surgery. It is also imperative that individuals stop smoking at least four weeks before surgery in order to reduce the risks of complications. Following Dr. Mess’ preoperative and postoperative instructions are necessary for a safe and effective procedure.

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Body Contouring Procedures

Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Tummy tuck surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. The method used for tummy tuck surgery will depend on the patient’s preference and what Dr. Mess thinks will provide the most beneficial results. For significant or massive weight loss patients a full tummy tuck is usually required.

Full Tummy Tuck or Fleur de Lis Tummy Tuck

A full tummy tuck addresses the entire abdominal area. A horizontal incision is made under the umbilical region. Excess fat is removed through liposuction, and excess skin is excised. The abdominal muscles are then tightened and then the incision is closed. Some massive weight loss patients with substantial skin laxity need a vertical incision as well as a horizontal one to provide optimal aesthetic results. The procedure is sometimes referred to as a Fleur de Lis Tummy Tuck.

More information on Abdominoplasty

Brachioplasty (Arm Lift)

The arm lift procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia. The surgery plan, type of incision, and inclusion of liposuction will all be determined prior to surgery. After sedation the excess skin and fat will be removed, the underlying structures will be tightened as required and the incision will be closed. Drains may be used depending on your particular procedure plan. You will be fitted with a garment and released to rest in the comfort of your own home as you begin your recovery.

More information about Brachioplasty

Body Lift

A lower body lift removes excess skin from the buttocks, back and thighs and tightens the remaining tissue to provide a more aesthetic form for the lower trunk and torso. The patient is placed on their stomach during the procedure, and the incisions are closed in multiple layers and usually require drains to remove excess fluid post procedure. If the body contouring plan includes a tummy tuck the patient will be turned to their back after the body lift is complete and Dr. Mess will then perform the abdominoplasty.

Breast Reduction, Lift, Augmentation

Women may see dramatic changes in their breasts after significant weight change. The breasts can sag and lose volume due to weight fluctuation or breast feeding, or they may appear out of proportion with the rest of the body after weight loss. Depending on the particular patient’s needs, Dr. Mess may advise on a breast reduction, breast lift, or breast augmentation to provide a more balanced and aesthetic result.

More information on breast augmentation


Liposuction surgery is performed under local or twilight anesthesia on an outpatient basis. The length of the procedure will depend on how many areas of the body that fat is removed from. After Dr. Mess makes an incision in the targeted area, a small, thin tube will be inserted underneath the skin and moved around to separate fat cells from the tissue. Then, a specialized power suctioning device is used to permanently vacuum out fat cells. After the liposuction procedure is performed and the body is sculpted into a more attractive contour, Dr. Mess will close the incisions with sutures.

More information about Liposuction

Recovery After Body Contouring Surgery

Recovery time varies based on each individual and the procedures included in their contouring plan. Dr. Mess will provide detailed post-operative care instructions prior to your body contouring makeover. Patients are encouraged to discuss their progress with Dr. Mess. Our goal is to make your recovery as quick and safe as possible so you can get back to your life and enjoy the benefits of your enhanced and refined figure.

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How Much Does Body Contouring Surgery Cost

The total cost of body contouring after massive or significant weight loss, depends on many factors, including:

  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Hospital or surgical facility fee
  • Anesthesia fees
  • Prescriptions for medications
  • Post-surgery garments
  • Medical tests
  • Scar management treatments


Price range for post weight loss body contouring procedures: $15,000-$20,000

It is important to remember that your ultimate satisfaction will be based on a lot more than fee. Dr. Mess combines the training, experience and dedicated care to provide exceptional results for patients seeking body contouring after massive weight loss.

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Results after Body Contouring Surgery

The effects of body contouring after massive weight loss are immediate and significant. For many it is an emotional experience having smaller arms or being able to perform normal activities without worrying and dealing with large amounts of excess skin. It may take a few months before the swelling has fully subsided and the final results are apparent, but patients are usually very satisfied with their new look. As long as they maintain a stable weight, the results of surgery will be long-lasting. Scars will flatten and soften with time, but may remain visible. Silicone sheeting is recommended to improve healing and results

Body contouring after massive weight loss not only contours the body to provide it with a more attractive appearance, but it can also restore self-confidence and give an individual a new lease on life.

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Dr. Mess is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). She is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society for Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).

For more information about how you can improve the appearance of your body after significant weight loss, please contact us or call (410) 541-1419 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mess.

Dr. Sarah Mess has either authored or reviewed and approved this content. Page Updated

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