Surgical body contouring following pregnancies or weight loss removes excess sagging skin and fat while improving the shape of the underlying support tissue.

The result is a better-proportioned appearance with smoother contours.

In fact, after any substantial amount of weight loss related to diet or post-pregnancy changes, the skin and tissues often lack the elasticity to conform to the reduced body size.

Body contouring surgery is therefore often necessary to achieve the desired contour after these events.

Liposuction

Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures. It uses a suction technique to remove fat and improve the shape of specific areas of the body such as the abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks, arms or neck.

Liposuction isn’t typically considered an overall weight-loss method or a weight-loss alternative. An ideal candidate for liposuction has good skin tone and elasticity, a stable weight and localized fatty deposits that will not disappear with diet and exercise.

People with skin excess or those whose skin lacks elasticity are not good candidates for liposuction because they may end up with loose-looking skin in areas where the procedure was done. In these patients, lifts and skin excisions are therefore necessary to obtain a good result. Liposuction doesn’t improve cellulite dimpling or other skin surface irregularities and it doesn’t remove stretch marks.

The procedure typically requires general anesthesia and can usually be completed on an outpatient basis (without the need to stay overnight). Small incisions are made in parts of the body where the cannula will be inserted. These tiny incisions are only about 1cm long and are usually closed with just one or two fine stitches. Scars are therefore not a common problem with modern liposuction, as most of them fade and almost disappear with time (typically between 6 and 12 months).

After the procedure, patients are fitted with an elasticated support corset that helps to reduce swelling and should be worn constantly for a few weeks after the operation. Bruising is very common after liposuction and the postoperative pain is generally mild to moderate and can easily be controlled with pain medication. Patients may need to wait a few days before returning to work and a few weeks before resuming normal activities, including exercise.

After liposuction, swelling and bruising typically subside within a few weeks but it may take up to several months before the treated area shows its final appearance. The amount of fat removed depends on the characteristics of the area and the resulting contour changes are generally permanent as long as the weight remains stable.

Tummy tuck

Abdominoplasty, or “tummy tuck” as it is commonly known, is a procedure that contours the abdominal area in order to create a more toned and slimmer look.

During the operation, excess skin and fat are removed from the abdomen and the abdominal muscles are tightened to correct diastasis. This is a condition that happens when the abdominal muscles don’t properly reshape after naturally separating during pregnancy, leading to a weaker and rounded appearance of the abdomen. A tummy tuck can often also remove an existing C-section scar as well as stretch marks in the lower abdomen below the bellybutton.

Good candidates for this procedure are men and women desiring aesthetic improvement of the abdomen, women with skin and abdominal wall laxity following multiple pregnancies, or patients who have skin excess after significant weight loss. Tummy tuck should be performed when a patient is already at his or her ideal weight and should therefore not be thought of as a weight loss procedure, but rather as a contouring procedure. Of note, a tummy tuck does not address the fat found inside the abdomen around the intestines, which usually causes a rounded belly appearance. This type of fat cannot be eliminated with surgery but only through weight loss.

Abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia and typically requires an overnight stay.

The surgeon makes a long horizontally-oriented incision from one side of the hipbone to the other and an incision around the navel. Excess fat and skin are surgically removed from the middle and lower abdomen. The abdominal muscles are tightened with sutures and the skin around the bellybutton is repositioned. Small tubes (drains) might be placed along the incision site to drain any excess blood or fluid and the incisions are stitched together with absorbable sutures that do not require removal. After a tummy tuck, the abdominal incision and bellybutton are covered with surgical dressing and patients will likely feel moderate pain, which will be controlled by pain medication. It’s normal to have swelling in the surgical area and drains might be left in place for a few days after surgery.

A supportive abdominal garment (abdominal binder) needs to be worn for about 6 weeks after the procedure, to help prevent fluid buildup and provide abdominal support during healing. During a tummy tuck, the repositioning of the abdominal tissues can affect the nerves in the abdominal area and, infrequently, in the upper thighs. It is therefore normal to feel some reduced sensation or numbness that usually diminishes in the months after the procedure. Rest is advised for the first 2 weeks after surgery and return to activity and work can be typically planned after 3 weeks. Light exercise may be resumed after 1 month and full recovery usually takes up to a few months after surgery.

The length and visibility of the scars after abdominoplasty vary from person to person. They typically fall along the natural crease, within the bikini line and around the bellybutton, and fade over time. Patients are required to avoid nicotine completely (smoking, patches and gum) for at least 4 weeks before and after surgery. Smoking decreases blood flow in the skin and can slow the healing process increasing the risk of complications.

People who intend to lose weight, and women who plan future pregnancies, should postpone the surgery. It is reasonable to wait at least 6 months, preferably a year after pregnancy, before planning an abdominoplasty.

Tummy tuck results are considered permanent. However, significant weight fluctuations can cause the remaining abdominal skin to lose additional elasticity and start to sag again. Also, substantial weight gain can cause the body to produce new fat cells. Pregnancy after tummy tuck may have negative effects on the treated area, including causing further damage to stomach muscles. By maintaining a stable weight, following a healthy diet, exercising consistently and not smoking, patients can ensure their aesthetic results from tummy tuck are long lasting.

Circumferential abdominoplasty

Also called belt lipectomy, the circumferential abdominoplasty is performed to remove excess skin from the front and back of the torso.

It involves an incision that runs around the entire circumference of the body like a belt and it is intended for patients with a large amount of excess skin following significant weight loss. In fact, because of the massive weight loss, patients have deflated excess skin around their entire body. It is not just loose around their abdomen, but also around their flanks, sides, and back area.

In a circumferential tummy tuck, the surgeon makes an incision all the way around the belt line in order to remove the excess skin in not only the abdomen, but also the back and flanks.

Circumferential abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia and patients usually need to stay in the hospital for two nights following their procedure. Drainage tubes are placed both in the back and in the front and mild to moderate pain during the first days after the procedure should be expected. Compression garments need to be worn for at least 6 to 8 weeks and the recovery period is usually longer than a standard abdominoplasty, since it involves going all the way around the body.

This procedure leaves a circumferential scar and provides permanent results, with dramatic and natural body contouring changes.

Arm lift

An arm lift (also called armplasty or brachioplasty) is a common type of cosmetic surgery that can tighten sagging underarms by reducing extra skin and fat.

As a result of aging or significant weight loss, the skin may change and become loose, giving a sagging appearance to the under portion of the upper arms. While exercise can indeed strengthen and improve muscle tone of the arms, it cannot address excess skin that has lost elasticity.

During an arm lift, excess skin and fat are removed from between the armpit and elbow, making the arms look more toned and defined.

The procedure is performed in general anesthesia and patients usually go home the same day of surgery. A cut is made on the inner surface of the upper arm, from the armpit to the elbow, and the extra skin and fat are cut away. Absorbable stitches (sutures) are used to close the incisions and will dissolve on their own.

The wounds are covered with surgical tape and patients typically wear a compression sleeve for a few weeks to keep swelling down. After an arm lift, it is common to have some mild discomfort and experience soreness, swelling, and some bruising.

This usually lessens after the first few days and patients should plan for 1 to 2 weeks of recovery time. Sports or any excessive activity should be restricted for 4-8 weeks after surgery.

The traditional brachioplasty scar extends from the armpit to the elbow, on the inside of the arm, facing the chest wall. However, for healthy patients who do not smoke, the scars usually heal well and fade over time.

Protecting the scars from sun exposure with sunscreen or long sleeves is key to helping them become as light as possible. Arm lift results are typically long lasting.

Nonetheless, the skin will naturally lose some firmness with aging and some sagging might occur. Maintaining a stable, healthy weight can help retain results.

Inner thigh lift

An inner thigh lift (also called inner thighplasty) is a popular cosmetic surgery operation for people who desire thinner, firmer inner thighs.

This body contouring procedure is often desirable after substantial weight loss or in individuals for whom diet and exercise have failed to reduce excess tissue in their upper thighs.

A thighplasty reshapes the inner thighs by reducing excess skin and fat, resulting in better-proportioned contours of the upper leg.

This plastic surgery procedure is performed with general anesthesia and can usually be completed on an outpatient basis (without the need to stay overnight). The surgeon makes a vertical cut that starts at the groin and extends to the inner knee, allowing removal of a wedge of skin and fat from the inner thigh. Deep sutures within underlying tissues are placed to help form and support the newly shaped contours and skin incisions are closed with absorbable stitches that never require removal. Post-operatively, there will be bruising, swelling and soreness in the area. Pain medication and anti-inflammatory medications are typically prescribed and patients need to wear compression garments for a few weeks to aid in the tightening and shrinking of the skin. Rest is advised for 1-2 weeks after the procedure. Physical activity and exercise can be resumed after 6-8 weeks although it can take a couple of months for the swelling in the thighs and lower body to subside completely.

A thighplasty will result in a scar in the groin crease that runs vertically down the inner thigh to the knee.

Some visible scars will remain but for healthy patients who do not smoke, the scars usually heal well and fade over time. Protecting the scars from sun exposure with sunscreen or long trousers is key to helping them become as light as possible.

The overall results of a thigh lift are long lasting, provided a stable weight and general fitness is maintained. However, as the body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness.

Mommy makeover

Motherhood is an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can take a considerable toll on the body. The physical changes that take place throughout the course of pregnancy and breastfeeding can have lasting effects and many mothers find it difficult to return to their pre-pregnancy figures, even with regular exercise and a healthy diet.

The mommy makeover is one of today’s most popular combination plastic surgery techniques, designed specifically to address common issues faced by women who have been through pregnancy and breastfeeding. It refers to a specialized combination of body contouring procedures, performed together to reshape the body and improve the physical changes that linger long after pregnancy.

One reason for its popularity is that the mommy makeover has no set components and each procedure is custom-tailored to fit the individual patient’s unique needs.

As the breasts and abdomen are the primary areas of change with motherhood, a mommy makeover will often center around them. In fact, during pregnancy and breast-feeding the breasts will enlarge, increasing as much as a full cup size or more. However, returning back to ‘normal’ can mean a significant loss in breast volume and noticeable sagging. Also, throughout a pregnancy, the abdominal muscles, skin and tissues stretch to safely accommodate the growing baby. But after childbirth, these layers may unfortunately not bounce back to their taut, pre-baby shape. Breast implants can restore fullness and lost volume, while a breast lift helps to lift sagging skin for improving shape. A tummy tuck can provide a flat stomach by removing extra skin and repairing abdominal muscles that have been separated by pregnancy. To further improve the figure, commonly added techniques can include liposuction.

Depending on the recommended set of procedures, a mommy makeover can be performed during one single operation or, for safety reasons, may be spread out over multiple surgical sessions.

This customized treatment plan combines cosmetic surgery procedures to provide results that can help women feel more confident and attractive during motherhood.