Body Contouring Surgery After Excess Weight Loss Stayed Slimmer in the Long Term

A recent study reports that gastric bypass surgery patients who have body contouring surgery to remove excess skin after weight loss have a better chance of long-term weight control. This study was published in the October issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). The study was conducted by the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

What is Body Contouring Surgery?

Body contouring surgery typically includes a tummy tuck as well as various body parts lifts such as breast, arms or legs. The surgery is best known for improving both the tone and shape of the tissue underneath the skin. During the process, a surgeon will remove any excess fat or skin on the body after weight loss surgery and excessive weight loss. After weight loss, skin most often cannot conform to the body’s reduced size making body contouring necessary. For example, upper arms may sag, the breasts may hang or flatten or the thighs may sag.

About the Study

Ultimately, the main goal of bariatric surgery is to reduce long-term health problems for its patients. Researchers believe that this body contouring surgical procedure should be deemed reconstructive instead of cosmetic. Those studied were split into two groups of gastric bypass patients, those who had body contouring and those who did not. In their study, 98 patients had body contouring after gastric bypass surgery to remove any excess skin or fat. The other group contained 102 patients who just had gastric bypass surgery alone.

The study found that in two years after gastric bypass occurred; patients lost an average of 100 pounds. In the years that follow, patients who had body contouring surgery regained less of the weight they lost as a result of weight loss surgery. They average just one pound of weight gain per year compared to four for those who did not have body contouring surgery initially.

As the study continued, researchers found that after seven years after bariatric surgery, patients who had body contouring achieved an average weight of about 176 pounds, while those who had surgery alone, weighed an average of 200 pounds. Overall, the body contouring patients regained only about 4% of their initial body weight, while surgery-only patients regained about 11%. This equates to about 14 pounds in body contouring patients and nearly 50 pounds for surgery-only patients.

Should Body Contouring be considered a part of weight loss surgery?

Ultimately, researchers suggest maybe so. Bariatric surgery is already proven to produce massive weight loss totals for morbidly obese patients. The downside is that many of these patients do regain a lot of the weight in the years following their bariatric surgery. This increases their chances of continuing dangerous health conditions further, which the weight loss surgery hoped to end. However, this study proves that combined with body contouring surgery makes the bariatric surgical procedure even more successful.

The study also reports that those who underwent body contouring surgery also saw more significant improvements in their quality of life and mood. The researchers believe this makes their study a proven tool for making body contouring an essential part of the weight loss surgery journey. Not only because of its favorable health effects, but because it helps improves patient’s mood, which already has been proven to help keep weight off.