Plastic Surgery After Bariatric Surgery

How to Maintain the Results of Plastic Surgery After Bariatric Surgery

November 7, 2022

Plastic Surgery After Bariatric Surgery: Weight loss can be a significant challenge for many people. For those who are struggling with large amounts of excess weight, some choose bariatric surgery to help them achieve their goals. Also known as weight loss surgery, this is a procedure that is intended to help patients lose very large amounts of weight, often 100 pounds or more.

Although many patients choose to have bariatric surgery for its health benefits, most are also hoping to look better after they’ve lost the extra weight. Unfortunately, after massive weight loss, most people are left with folds of excess skin, rather than the sleek and toned body that they were hoping to achieve.

This happens because, in a person who is very overweight, the skin naturally stretches and grows to accommodate the excess fat tissue beneath it. After weight loss surgery, when the fat tissue shrinks dramatically, the extra skin and other tissues are not reabsorbed by the body. Although the skin may have enough elasticity to “bounce back” to some degree, it is rare that this is enough to create a smooth contour to the body after a massive weight loss. Most people find themselves with folds of stretched-out skin hanging from their bodies.

What is body contouring?

In order to complete their weight loss journey and feel comfortable in their new bodies, some people choose to have plastic surgery to remove these stretched-out tissues. During this procedure, your chosen plastic surgeon removes the excess sagging skin and tightens the remaining tissue to create a smooth and attractive body contour. This surgery can be known by various names, including body contouring, skin removal surgery, body lift, or post weight loss surgery.

Any surgical procedure represents a significant investment, and many patients wonder how long the results of this skin removal surgery can be expected to last. Are the results of skin removal surgery permanent? What can you do to help ensure that your results last as long as possible?

Is skin removal surgery permanent?

The good news is that the results of skin removal surgery are considered to be permanent. The excess skin will not grow back on its own over time. As long as your weight remains relatively stable, your results should last for many years.

However, if you gain weight again, then your skin will once again stretch and grow to accommodate the excess fat tissue. If you then lose weight again, then you may need further body contouring to address this skin issue. In other words, skin removal surgery is permanent as long as your weight loss is permanent.

Unfortunately, some patients go through the process of losing weight through weight loss surgery, only to gain a lot of that weight back a few years later. After you have put in the effort to lose the weight and to achieve the body of your dreams through body contouring, it would be a shame to gain the weight back.

How can you maintain your body contouring results?

To help keep your weight stable, the two crucial factors are nutrition and exercise.

How to eat after body contouring surgery

To help maintain both your weight loss and your plastic surgery results, one of the most crucial factors is what you eat. Although different diet plans may work for different people, here are a few pieces of advice that most weight loss patients find helpful:

  • Eat a high-protein diet. This provides your body with crucial nutrients, while keeping you full so that you do not gain weight.
  • Reduce carbohydrates in your diet, especially sugar. For most people, excess carbs are a trigger for weight gain. Sugar particularly tends to cause people to gain weight, so avoid sugar as much as possible.
  • Avoid alcohol. For one thing, alcohol is highly caloric. Drinking leads many people to make poor food choices, because their judgment is impaired by the alcohol. To stay healthy and keep excess weight off, it is better to stay away from alcohol as much as possible.

When it comes to maintaining weight loss, consistency is the key. You should try to make healthy choices every single day. Although an occasional indulgence in a treat may be okay, it is very important to ensure that these indulgences are rare, perhaps only occurring a few times a year. The more you stick to healthy eating, the easier it will be to maintain your weight loss and your plastic surgery results.

How to exercise after body contouring surgery

The other key factor in maintaining weight loss is exercise. Every week, you should try to include:

  • Cardio, to help you burn calories and keep your metabolism high. This helps to maintain your weight loss.
  • Resistance training, to help you build muscle tissue. This keeps your body looking toned and healthy, which is the result that most people are seeking. Resistance training also helps to keep your metabolism high, since muscle tissue uses a lot of calories.

In general, a good target is cardio five to six days per week, and resistance training two to three days per week. This will help to maintain your overall health as well as your plastic surgery results.

Will losing more weight affect your plastic surgery results?

After you have gone through a weight loss journey, whether it involves bariatric surgery or major lifestyle changes, surgeons generally recommend that you wait to have plastic surgery until your weight has stabilized. Losing a lot more weight after your plastic surgery could compromise your results, so you should not have your skin removal surgery in the middle of your weight loss journey. Instead, you should be close to your goal weight before you choose to have your plastic surgery procedure.

Sometimes, patients express worry that they might lose additional weight after their skin removal surgery. Once they have developed healthy habits, there is a possibility that their weight may drop even more in the future. Most people would prefer not to have to go through another round of plastic surgery.

However, losing some additional weight after you have your procedure should not have a significant effect on your results. If you do lose a few more pounds, then you will not suddenly develop folds of excess hanging skin again. You should not worry that your new healthy lifestyle will cause you to lose your surgical results because of additional weight loss. Generally, as long as a patient has not gained back a lot of excess weight and then lost it again, they will not need additional body contouring in the future.

Are you considering skin removal surgery?

If you have undergone massive weight loss, and are bothered by folds of excess hanging skin, then your next step is a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon with experience in performing body contouring surgery after weight loss. After an exam and a discussion of your goals for your appearance, your surgeon will talk with you about what they would recommend in your specific case. You will then be able to make an informed decision about whether body contouring is right for you.

Dr. J. Timothy Katzen specializes in reconstructive plastic surgery

Plastic Surgery After Bariatric Surgery
timothy katzen


Dr. J. Timothy Katzen is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and is the President of the American Society of Bariatric Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Katzen specializes in reconstructive plastic surgery after massive weight loss. He has written many articles and given lectures around the world about how to perform plastic surgery on patients who have undergone massive weight loss. Dr. Katzen has plastic surgery offices in two different states and two different countries. Specifically, he has offices in Beverly Hills (California), Las Vegas (Nevada), and Dubai (United Arab Emirates). Read more articles from Dr. Katzen!