Can Procedures Be Combined

Body Contouring After Massive Weight Loss: Can Procedures Be Combined?

May 14, 2018

Is it possible to combine body contouring procedures after massive weight loss? It is not an infrequent question in my practice. Patients, who have lost weight, have laxity or loose skin over their breasts, arms, thighs, tummy, buttocks, upper back and many times over their neck so it is only natural for them to ask. So, can procedures be combined so that there will be a smaller number of separate procedures, experience less recovery, and at the same time, reduce cost and complications of anesthesia?

Each surgeon has his or her own strategy and each patient is different. Whilst this may be true there is some clinical evidence that stands true at all times.

First, prolonging surgery beyond six hours leads to a decrease in core body temperature as the area of the body open for surgery is exposed to the cold temperature of the operating room. Multiple clinical studies have shown that if the core temperature drops below 95 degrees (normal temperature 98.4), there is an increased risk of heart rhythm irregularity.

Second, the longer the surgery the chances for more of a blood loss and consequently an increased need for blood transfusion post-surgery.

Finally, one cannot deny, that the longer time that a surgeon operates, the more tired he or she can become. Surgeons are humans and they need some rest too. Would you like a tired surgeon to operate on you?

Can Procedures Be Combined?

Having said this, it is not uncommon to perform surgery for six hours and correct more than one area. It is appropriate to combine the same aesthetic zone e.g. a surgeon could frequently combine a breast procedure with an arm lift. Or a tummy tuck with a buttock lift. It is not uncommon to combine a tummy tuck with an inner thigh lift.

Each of these procedures can be completed within six hours. It is unsafe to combine a buttock and lower back lift with an upper back lift as they require correction in opposite directions.

Common body contouring procedures that can be safely combined

  • Breast Surgery with Arm Lift
  • Breast Surgery and Tummy Tuck
  • Tummy Tuck and Buttock Lift (Circumferential Body Lift)
  • Medial Thigh Lift and Tummy Tuck
  • Breast Surgery and Upper Back Lift
  • Tummy Tuck Liposuction and Fat Augmentation of Buttocks
  • Buttock Lift and Inner Thigh Lift with Liposuction

Finally, one cannot overemphasize that the patient has to be in a good medical condition, and the additional risk of long general anesthesia needs to be considered individually.

Do I need to remind you too, many procedures mean a longer recovery for you too? So keep this mind, too much time away from work and your colleagues at work will not take it lightly.

Typical Recovery Times for Combined Procedures

Breast Surgery with Arm Lift 5 weeks to 3 weeks
Breast Surgery and Tummy Tuck 3 weeks
Tummy Tuck and Buttock Lift (Circumferential Body Lift) 3 weeks
Medial Thigh Lift and Tummy Tuck 3 weeks
Breast Surgery and Upper Back Lift 5 weeks
Tummy Tuck Liposuction and Fat Augmentation of Buttocks 2 weeks
Buttock Lift and Inner Thigh Lift with Liposuction 5 weeks

So a final message, combine procedures but NEVER compromise safety.


Dr. Jayesh Panchal has been a plastic surgeon since 1997 and has been in private practice at Genesis Plastic Surgery in Edmond since 2005. He was previously on the faculty and the Chief of Plastic Surgery at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center from 2003-2005. He has years of training and certification, has received national and international acclaim and is a pioneer in the field. Dr. Panchal is passionate about helping people gain their self-confidence and their self image, so they can live life in a normal, happier way. This is the foundation of his practice, and he brings with that years of experience.