A new article posted to Medical Daily suggests that those who follow up weight loss surgery with plastic surgery to contour the body could be doing themselves an unparalleled favour in the long run. The data indicates that bariatric surgery alone cannot guarantee maintained weight loss. What this means is patients who undergo body contouring surgery after weight loss stand a better chance of keeping the weight off after undergoing lap band, gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or gastric balloon procedures.
The results of the study were presented this past weekend at the annual conference of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in Chicago. The study followed 94 patients who underwent bariatric surgery, and out of that total, 47 underwent plastic surgery afterward in order to remove excess skin. This is often a side effect of significant weight loss. Although patients will lose a considerable amount of body fat, they find that they are left with loose skin that simply does not respond to the same lifestyle changes. This skin can really only be eliminated with some kind of surgical intervention. Researchers in this recently released study recorded each patient’s BMI (body mass index) once before bariatric surgery and once again 2.5 years later. As Dr. Donna Tepper explained, “of the patients who underwent contouring surgery, the average decrease in BMI was 18.24 at 2.5 years, compared to a statistically significant 12.45 at 2.5 years for those who did not have further surgery.”
Weight loss surgery has proved to be tremendously beneficial to thousands of obese patients every year. It’s a potentially life-saving option that can have positive secondary effects on obesity-related complications like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. However, the unwanted saggy skin it leaves behind does not lead to the kind of worry-free life many patients are anticipating, and the affect it has on body image can be detrimental to a patient’s efforts to keep the weight off in the long run. As Dr. Tepper says, “as plastic and reconstructive surgeons, we are encouraged by the idea that improved body image can translate into better long-term maintenance of a healthier weight, and possibly a better quality of life for our patients.”
The best part of our work at The Plastic Surgery Clinic is watching the ways in which plastic surgery can lead to a better quality of life for so many patients. We’re even more pleased when studies like this come out with conclusive proof that these surgeries not only lead to more happiness but also to improved health.