Plastic Surgery Blog
Losing a significant amount of weight, while a major accomplishment, may only be half the battle in your weight loss journey. Whether it be through diet and exercise or through weight loss surgery, massive weight loss can often leave you feeling frustrated by sagging or stretched skin, instead of being thrilled with the accomplishment you so greatly achieved.
If you’ve made it to your target weight, but still feel unfulfilled because of any excess skin, loose tissue, or issues with your physical proportions, you’re not alone. At The Plastic Surgery Clinic, we see many patients who seek body contouring after significant weight loss. We pride ourselves on the standard of excellence we provide our body contouring patients as well as the unprecedented care they receive.
One of our recent body contouring patients is on a remarkable journey following an exceptional weight loss experience. She wanted to share her story so that others might understand the unique, long-term challenges significant weight loss can pose, and so that those who find themselves in a similar position might benefit from the lessons she’s learned along the way. Here is her story:
“I started my weight loss journey at the age of 49 and 100 lbs. overweight. I was uncomfortable, tired easily, and although I hadn’t suffered any obesity related illnesses, I knew that it was only a matter of time before I developed health issues such as diabetes, heart problems etc.
I decided I wanted to lose 50 lbs. by my 50th birthday, which at the time was nine months away. Although I considered both bariatric and lap band surgery, I began to do research on if diet and exercise was a plausible alternative for me. I decided that a safe, but effective weight loss plan would be consuming fewer calories per day, while beginning a walking regimen and eventually exercising more vigorously.
After only five months I had lost the 50 lbs. and realized that I could (and should) continue to lose weight, particularly since I had been counting calories for so long that it had become the new “normal” for me. I decided to lose another 30 lbs., which not only excited me, but also was my motivation to continue.
It was about that time where I began to notice the loose skin around my abdomen that didn’t seem to be going anywhere by diet and exercise alone. This is when I thought that as a reward for achieving my weight loss goals, I would have a tummy tuck. I began to research abdominoplasty procedures and soon determined that The Plastic Surgery Clinic had an excellent reputation, and had several advantages over other surgeons I had researched. Most of the patient experiences I had read online stated that one of the most difficult parts of the surgery was dealing with the drains that prevented fluid accumulation after the surgery, but created difficulty in mobility, maintaining personal hygiene, and often contributed to infections.
The Plastic Surgery Clinic promised a drain-free procedure utilizing the quill suture and compression garments to prevent fluid accumulation, allowing patients to move more easily and even shower within days. The other common complaint was extreme pain following the procedure. The Plastic Surgery Clinic utilizes the pain pump, and although only in place for 24 hours, it makes a drastic difference in pain.
I continued to lose weight, and after several more months, I reached a weight loss total of 90 lbs. After this accomplishment, I went ahead made an appointment for a consultation at The Plastic Surgery Clinic. I met with Dr. Jamil Ahmad and he suggested that I have an extended abdominoplasty with liposuction. He explained that the extra skin around my abdomen would never disappear with diet or exercise, and having had three pregnancies, my abdomen could never be flat again without repairing the diastasis recti, or separated abdominal muscles.
By the time my surgery date arrived I had lost another 10 lbs. and was well within a healthy BMI for the first time in 15 years. During my abdominoplasty procedure, Dr. Ahmad removed 9.3 lbs. of excess skin and fat, and from there, I went home to begin the recovery process.
I was most concerned about the pain I would experience after surgery, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the pain was far less than I had anticipated. I felt almost no pain in the incision, but was bruised and sore from the liposuction. I used pain medication for seven days, but even by the end of the first day I was far more comfortable than I expected.
My first post op visit with the lovely nurse Lori, who was very encouraging. She gave me a new best friend – my compression garment! I wore it for six weeks (plus an extra two for good measure) and was happy to discover that swelling was minimal, pain was very manageable without pain medication, and I was walking, showering, and doing light housework within the week.
The results were even more astonishing! My abdomen was completely flat! The small, but stubborn fatty deposits on my back and hips were gone, and within three months the swelling had gone down sufficiently to see the 9 lbs. of weight removed during the surgery show on the scale. I had also recuperated enough to begin working out again.
Even though I had increased my dietary calorie amount, I continued to lose weight slowly, primarily because I was now so much more active that the slight calorie deficit permitted slow weight loss. This procedure made exercise even more exciting; I loved going to the gym, and I even felt comfortable enough to hire a personal trainer –something I could not have imagined doing only one year ago!
After having lost another 15 lbs., I began to notice that although my abdomen looked fantastic (thank you Dr. Ahmad!), my thighs and buttocks were now extremely deflated and I had a great deal of excess skin in those areas. When I decided on an abdominoplasty, I had thought that would be the extent of my body contouring surgery. However, seeing the incredible results of the abdominoplasty and seeing the significant excess skin on my legs, it was rather frustrating to have worked so hard to lose weight and become fit, but still be unable to wear shorts or a bathing suit, or even dresses that came above my knees, due to the sagging skin.
This is when I decided to discuss further body contouring options with The Plastic Surgery Clinic. I met with Dr. Ahmad a few weeks later and we discussed a thigh/buttock lift with liposuction. He felt that this would make a significant difference in the appearance of my legs, and I am excited to say that I will be having this procedure performed in the next few months. I may even consider brachioplasty in future, as my arms and upper chest now have loose skin as well.
To date, I have gone from 254 lbs. 18 months ago, to 120 lbs. today, for a total of 134 lbs. lost. I have a BMI of 19, and feel better now at 50 years of age than I did at 30. Although weight loss was the most significant factor in my journey, the body contouring procedure made me look as good as I feel. Just prior to the abdominoplasty, after the weight loss but before the surgery, I wore a size 6 pant, and I am now a size 2, something I could never have achieved without surgery.
I could not be happier with the surgery, the surgeon, the recovery process or the final results. I now am able to do things that I couldn’t have imagined doing only a year ago. My experience with the Plastic Surgery Clinic was superb. The receptionists, patient coordinators, nurses, OR staff and surgeons were all completely helpful, informative, and professional at every stage of the process. I look forward to my next procedure with Dr. Ahmad and his colleagues.”
Body Contouring at The Plastic Surgery Clinic
At The Plastic Surgery Clinic we perform approximately 200 body contouring procedures each year, making Dr. Lista and Dr. Ahmad some of the most experienced and innovative body contouring surgeons in Canada. And, because our surgeons are closely associated with the Smartshape Weight Loss Centre, which shares facilities with The Plastic Surgery Clinic, they are highly experienced with the results of surgical weight-loss procedures.
Should you decide to undergo a body contouring procedure, whatever your motivation, be sure to consult with a highly qualified, board certified plastic surgeon. Together, both of you will be able to determine an end result that not only benefits your lifestyle, but also meets your aesthetic goals.
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