Whether you have lost weight with diet and exercise, or with a weight loss procedure, what eventually happens to the skin is dependent on a number of factors. First, how much weight was gained and lost. Obviously, the more weight gained and lost, the more stretched the skin becomes. Second, age plays a significant role. Younger patients have skin that is more elastic and more likely to conform post weight loss. Third, skin quality is very important. Stretch marks, thin skin, wrinkling, are all indicators of poor skin quality with less chance that it will return to its original position after weight loss. There are many other factors but these are the primary ones to worry about.
Everyone who gains and loses weight will do it differently in my experience. There are some patterns of weight gain that are common to gender…with many exceptions. When weight is gained, and lost in the central torso region, depending on what the skin does, a body lift may be appropriate. A body lift, A.K.A., torsoplasty, or belt lipectomy is a procedure that removes a circumferential “belt” of skin and fat around the waist. It is essentially the combination of 3 procedures. A tummy tuck (removal of skin and fat from the lower abdomen with plication,
or muscle tightening), a butt lift (removing skin from the lower back, hip, area and lifting the buttocks), and a lateral thigh lift (lifting lose skin on the outer thigh and buttock). Of course, all of these procedures can be done separately, but that requires more recovery time, and, in my opinion, gives inferior results when a body lift is indicated.
When is a body lift preferable to a tummy tuck?
In my opinion, a body lift is indicated when there is ptosis (droop or sagging) of the lateral thigh, along with ptosis of the buttocks and overlapping or stretch marks in the lateral and lower abdomen. Since the outer thigh and outer abdomen are the most difficult areas to deal with using any other procedure, when these conditions exist, I recommend a body lift.
Since this blog has gone on entirely too long, I will discuss the particulars of the procedure in the next installment.