Body contouring surgery is suitable for people who have been left with significant amounts of extra skin, often due to weight loss, pregnancy, or simply due to the natural ageing process. For many reasons this excess skin won’t retract (shrink) back by itself, resulting in many patients feeling disappointed and disillusioned.
Using plastic surgery techniques the excess tissue can be removed and other areas remodelled, helping to:
Reshape the hips, abdomen, back, buttocks, flanks, and thighs
Alleviate problems associated with extra skin such as rashes and emotional discomfort
Create a tighter and more toned-looking physique
Help restore body image and self-confidence after significant weight loss
You may be suitable for body contouring surgery if:
You have suitable amounts of excess skin and fat.
Have been weight stable for at least six months.
Are in good medical health.
Are a non-smoker, or able to stop smoking completely one month before hand.
You have realistic expectations.
Body contouring refers to a group of procedures that help improve your body shape and contour. These include
Abdomen: abdominoplasty; lower body lift (belt lipectomy); flankectomy.
Breasts: mastopexy (breast lift); augmentation-mastopexy (breast lift with implants).
Upper back: upper bodylift.
Thighs: thigh lift.
Arms: brachioplasty or arm lift.
Liposuction is often also used to help achieve the best shape and contour.
Patients often present with multiple areas of excess skin, and Dr Colbert will discuss with you about what is and isn’t possible in one operation. While ideally we would be able to treat all the areas in one procedure often this isn’t possible due to your safety (longer operations have much higher risks of significant complications), longer recovery times, and the influences adjoining areas can have on each other. For these reasons body contouring is sometimes best viewed as one or two larger operations, followed by a smaller procedure to apply some ‘fine touches’.
Body contouring operations are performed under general anaesthesia (with you asleep) and as an inpatient (staying in hospital for several days after the surgery). Once the surgery has been performed dressings or bandages are placed on the incisions. Often there are small temporary drain tubes that are inserted to help collect the excess body fluid and blood that may collect.
Time taken to recover after body contouring surgery varies depending on extent of surgery and your level of fitness and general health. In general though there is a gradual return to activities, with several weeks needed before returning to daily activities. Dr Colbert will give you specific instructions during your consultation, and also sees you at regular intervals to ensure your postoperative recovery is as smooth as possible.
Body contouring surgery aims to reshape and tighten the skin, with skin and soft tissue excision.
Unfortunately it is impossible to change the shape of an area without operating on it, with this meaning that there's usually a trade-off of improved shape and contour in return for scars.
Body contouring surgery is associated with the following risks:
Bleeding, bruising, haematoma: haematoma refers to a collection of blood that needs to be removed in the operating room.
Infection: wounds may become infected after the operation, resulting in you requiring antibiotics or further surgery.
Scarring: body contouring surgery relies on swapping extra tissue for scars. The scars may be long but are placed in positions to help hide them. The scars are initially lumpy and bumpy, but settle down and improve over time.
Delayed wound healing: patients who have lost large amounts of weight often have reduced healing ability, resulting in a higher risk of delayed wound healing. If this occurs it is usually managed with dressings, with regular review by Dr Colbert.
Further operations: body contouring surgery is often viewed as one or two larger operations, plus some smaller operations to improve scar irregularities or scar puckering.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolus (PE): DVT refers to a blood clot in a limb vein, that can break off and travel to your lungs (PE). This can be very serious, but thankfully is not common due to routine practices that take place to help reduce this risk.
Body contouring surgery is like any surgical procedures in that it carries risks. Therefore before having any operation you should also seek opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner to discuss these potential risks.
Costs associated with cosmetic plastic surgery can be confusing. To help make things clearer we have listed the the following fees that make up the final cost.
Surgical fee: Medicare will partly pay for some surgical procedures that are itemised by the government, however depending on the nature of your operation there will be some out of pocket expenses. Dr Colbert will discuss these costs with you during your consultation.
Anaesthetic fee: Medicare covers most of the anaesthetic fee, except in the case of some cosmetic operations.
Hospital fee (this includes operation room fee, bed costs, surgical or medication fees, and any other hospital extras): Medicare does not cover this fee. If you have private health insurance then this may be covered by your insurance fund, but you should check with your fund if there is any out of pocket expenses. If you have no private insurance then you will have to pay this fee on discharge from the hospital.