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