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GBMC Dr. Alyson Wells discusses body contouring surgical techniques

February 16, 2018
Dramatic weight loss can greatly improve someone's health and quality of life, but it often leaves excess skin. Depending on its elasticity, the skin may not shrink like the rest of the body, which can result in sagging and drape-like rolls. GBMC’s Chief of Plastic Surgery, Dr. Alyson Wells, spoke with Magic 95.9 multi-media personality April Watts and answered questions about body contouring and plastic surgery following an extreme weight loss.

While there are non-surgical treatments, surgery is the most effective method of body shaping because it actually removes the excess tissue. Extra skin can be an issue on any part of the body, but people most often seek treatment for the abdomen, breasts, thighs, and upper arms. There are also more complex surgeries available that address multiple areas at one time. The most common of these procedures is called a body lift, which addresses circumferentially the entire torso including the abdomen, back, thighs, and buttocks.

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in body contouring procedures; Dr. Wells believes this is correlated with an increase in bariatric weight loss surgeries. Because of their rapid and significant weight loss, people who have elected to complete bariatric surgery are usually good candidates for body contouring procedures. When deciding whether a patient is a good fit for one of these procedures, Dr. Wells looks at the following things:
  • Other medical conditions
  • Potential medical impacts of excess skin (chafing, cellulitis, etc.)
  • The amount of excess skin present
  • How long the current weight has been maintained (ideally 3-6 months)
  • Whether or not the patient is at his or her goal weight
According to Dr. Wells, "we see a tremendous uptick in self-esteem after surgery." In some cases, as much as 10 pounds of excess tissue is removed, which drastically changes the appearance of the body. Patients can see the results of their weight loss more clearly and their bodies finally matches the shape they had hoped to achieve.

"Plastic surgery is transformational," says Dr. Wells. "In the right circumstances, it absolutely changes people's lives."

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