Body contouring surgery is a cosmetic procedure that is done to remove loose skin and fat on various parts of the body. This type of cosmetic surgery is generally performed on people who have lost a significant amount of weight, which may have left them with sagging skin and body tissue as a result of the body’s loss of elasticity after significant weight gain. The surgery is commonly performed on the abdominal area, upper arms, buttocks, breasts, and thighs. Although the surgery may help restore a smoother and firmer appearance to the body, there may also be certain risks and drawbacks.
Supporters of body contouring surgery often promote an improved appearance as one of the main benefits of the procedure. If a previously obese person loses a significant amount of weight and is no longer considered to be unhealthily overweight, the remaining stretched-out skin may still give the appearance of the person being overweight. Plastic surgeons may recommend the surgery as the last step in the weight loss process because it can make the body look tighter and give it the cosmetic appearance that comes with being at a normal weight. The loose skin may also make it difficult for a person to comfortably fit into clothing.
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Another possible benefit that some feel that body contouring surgery may provide is increased self-esteem. After working to lose massive amounts of weight, a person may potentially feel disheartened if he or she still has loose, hanging skin rather than the toned appearance he or she had hoped could be attained with diet and exercise. Plastic surgeons may also promote the surgery as a means for the patient to remain committed to maintaining the weight loss because once the excess skin is removed, the patient may continue to be motivated to eat healthily and exercise to keep up the firm appearance.
One possible drawback to body contouring surgery is the potential for complications during and after the procedure. Even though the procedure is cosmetic, it is still an invasive surgery and carries the same risks, such as heart complications or excessive bleeding, as non-elective surgeries. Since the procedure is quite invasive, there is also the risk of infection if the wounds are not properly care for afterwards.
Other potentially negative features of body contouring surgery may include the cosmetic and financial aspects. The surgery may reduce sagging skin and give a firmer appearance, but since it requires incisions, it can leave permanent scarring that some patients may be unhappy with. To counteract this, many plastic surgeons may try to make the incisions in areas that can be hidden more easily with clothing, but it may not always be possible. Therefore, patients may be advised to weigh the benefits of reduced loose skin with the negative aspect of permanent, extensive scarring. Additionally, since the procedure and any complications stemming from it are typically considered elective by health insurance companies and the costs are not usually covered, so patients may be responsible for coming up with the financing completely on their own.