Introduction: Body Contouring after Bariatric Surgery
If you are a post-bariatric patient or an individual who requires a body lift, you may be wondering, “Will insurance cover a body lift?” This question warrants an understanding of a body lift as well as a discussion regarding your insurance coverage. A body lift is done when a patient has excess, redundant, overhanging skin that is causing a functional problem. This can be seen following extreme weight loss patients or in elder patients who have lost their skin elasticity.
Although heavy, redundant skin left behind after extreme weight loss may be aesthetically unpleasing, this is not enough justification for insurance companies to cover body lifts. Insurance coverage for a body lift is only considered a medical condition if it causes discomfort due to recurrent rashes or if the redundant skin gets in the way of daily activities such as the use of your arms or walking, running, and exercising.
When the redundancy of the lower belly gets to be severely prominent, it is called a pannus. If the pannus covers your genitals such that it creates difficulty with sanitation, then this is considered a functional problem.
Now you may be wondering how to find out whether my insurance will cover a body lift. Unfortunately, a majority of insurance providers do not cover a body lift operation. In general, if your insurance covers your bariatric surgery, you would assume that they would cover any skin-related functional difficulties that arise from your weight loss. Surprisingly, many insurance plans exclude body lift procedures entirely.
As most plastic surgery procedures are considered elective and cosmetic, most body lift procedures and tucks are typically not covered by insurance. With that being said, a body lift surgery after weight loss or post-bariatric surgery might be covered. A body lift surgery may include any of the following: brachioplasty, breast lift, upper body lift, lower body lift, panniculectomy, and/or even medial thigh tuck. These procedures may be considered medically necessary if you are having a functional deficit.
Let’s get into more detail regarding post-bariatric body contouring surgeries.
What areas may undergo Post-Bariatric Body Contouring?
Post-bariatric body contouring procedures are often sought out by individuals who have experienced significant weight loss and are left with excess skin and tissue. These procedures involve a series of surgical and non-surgical interventions aimed at removing, lifting, and tightening areas of the body that may have been affected by the weight loss. From abdominoplasty and liposuction to arm lifts and breast lifts, post-bariatric body contouring encompasses a range of techniques to help patients achieve a more proportionate and toned appearance following weight loss. The procedures involved in post-bariatric body contouring require careful consideration and planning to address each patient’s specific needs and goals, with safety and optimal results being the top priorities throughout the process.
oves excess skin, and tightens the underlying muscles. The remaining skin is then repositioned and the incision is closed, resulting in a flatter and more contoured abdomen. Potential results may include a slimmer waistline and improved abdominal tone, especially for individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight or have experienced pregnancy.
Complications associated with abdominoplasty may include infection, bleeding, and scarring. Additionally, numbness or changes in sensation in the abdominal area may occur. It is important to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss the potential risks and benefits of abdominoplasty before undergoing the procedure.
2. Chest area
Following massive weight loss (MWL), both male and female chest areas undergo significant anatomical changes. The most common changes include skin redundancy, repositioning of the nipple-areola complex (NAC), and displacement of the infra-mammary fold (IMF). In women, breast ptosis, or sagging, is graded according to the level of NAC descent and the position of the IMF. Grade I ptosis involves minimal NAC descent with the IMF at or just below the infra-mammary crease. Grade II ptosis features moderate NAC descent with the IMF below the infra-mammary crease. Grade III ptosis is characterized by significant NAC descent and the IMF below the infra-mammary crease. In men, similar anatomical changes occur, but instead of breast ptosis, the grading system for breast deformities focuses on gynecomastia, or enlarged male breasts. Grades I-IV are used to classify the severity of gynecomastia, ranging from minor glandular tissue enlargement to marked breast enlargement with excess skin. Understanding these anatomical changes and grading systems is crucial for determining the most effective treatment options for individuals who have undergone massive weight loss.
3. Upper arms
The surgical options for addressing deflated underarms or “batwing” deformity typically involve specialized operations such as an upper arm lift, also known as brachioplasty. This procedure removes excess skin and fat from the upper arms to reshape and tighten the area. The trade-off for achieving improved arm shape is the presence of scars, which typically extend from the armpit to the elbow.
In addition to an upper arm lift, the treatment of loose skin on the upper body may also involve breast reduction and breast lift procedures to improve overall body contour. Axilloplasty, or surgery to address excess skin in the armpit area, may also be performed in conjunction with other upper body surgeries to achieve optimal results.
Specific techniques for upper body lift include the surgical resection of pendulous rolls on the upper back, as well as addressing excess skin and fat on the sides of the chest and back. These procedures aim to create a more toned and sculpted upper body appearance while minimizing the presence of loose skin and fat. Overall, the combination of surgical options and specialized operations can effectively address the various concerns related to upper body contour.
Thighplasty, also known as a thigh lift, is a surgical procedure that aims to improve the appearance of the thighs by removing excess skin and fat. This procedure is often sought after significant weight loss, as the skin may become loose and saggy. During the surgery, an incision is made in the groin area, and excess skin and fat are removed. The remaining skin is then pulled taut and the incision is closed. Potential complications of thighplasty include scarring, infection, bleeding, and asymmetry. Patients may also experience numbness or changes in sensation in the thighs.
After pronounced weight reduction, patients may experience improved body contour and increased self-confidence. However, it is important to note that individual outcomes and patient satisfaction can vary. Thorough communication between the patient and the surgeon is crucial in setting realistic expectations, discussing potential risks, and ensuring informed consent. Patients should be well-informed about the recovery process and the limitations of the procedure. It is important for patients to maintain a healthy lifestyle to optimize the results of thighplasty.
Overall, thighplasty can be a beneficial procedure for patients seeking to improve the appearance of their thighs, but it is essential for patients to have open communication with their surgeon and have realistic expectations.
Removing extra skin from the face is often the final phase of body contouring procedures. This process typically involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the face and neck area, resulting in a more defined and youthful appearance. According to Dr. Poblete, the amount of work required for this procedure can vary depending on the individual’s specific needs, but it usually involves meticulously trimming and suturing the skin to achieve the desired contour.
One of the trade-offs of removing extra skin from the face is the potential for visible scars. While incisions are carefully placed in natural skin creases and inconspicuous areas, some scarring is inevitable. However, for many individuals, the improved facial shape and overall appearance outweigh the presence of scars. The healing process for these operations typically involves mild discomfort, swelling, and bruising, which can be managed with proper post-operative care and medication. Patients are usually advised to limit physical activity and follow a specific recovery plan to ensure optimal results.
Overall, removing extra skin from the face as the final phase of body contouring can lead to significant improvements in facial appearance, despite the trade-off of potential scarring.
What Issues Can Post-Bariatric Body Contouring Address?
Post-bariatric body contouring can effectively address a range of aesthetic issues caused by massive weight loss. These issues include excess skin and tissue that hang over the belt line, rolls of skin and tissue in the hips and lower back, drooping buttocks, saddlebags at the upper thighs, and excessive fullness of soft tissue in the pubic area. Post-bariatric body contouring procedures such as body lifts, tummy tucks, arm lifts, thigh lifts, and buttock lifts can help to remove the excess skin and tissue, improve body shape, and enhance the overall appearance of the body. These procedures can also provide a boost in confidence and self-esteem for individuals who have worked hard to achieve significant weight loss but are left with these aesthetic concerns. By specifically targeting and addressing these issues, post-bariatric body contouring can help patients achieve a more toned, proportionate, and aesthetically pleasing body contour.
Am I a Candidate for Post-Bariatric Body Contouring?
I underwent gastric bypass surgery three years ago and have successfully lost 150 pounds. However, I am now dealing with excess skin in various areas of my body, including my abdomen, arms, and thighs. This loose, hanging skin has become a source of discomfort and self-consciousness for me.
Currently, I am in good health, do not use tobacco, and am able to take time off for proper healing and recovery. I have been considering post-bariatric body contouring to address these ongoing issues with excess skin. I believe this procedure will greatly improve my quality of life and help me to fully embrace and enjoy the results of my weight loss journey.
Recovery After Post-Bariatric Body Contouring
Following pre and postoperative instructions is crucial for a successful recovery after post-bariatric body contouring. These instructions are designed to ensure that the patient’s body heals properly and quickly, minimizing the risk of complications. Preoperative instructions may include dietary restrictions, cessation of certain medications, and quitting smoking, all of which can impact the body’s ability to recover. Postoperative instructions typically involve wound care, activity restrictions, and medication management to manage discomfort and inflammation.
The typical recovery period for post-bariatric body contouring is three to four weeks, during which patients are advised to avoid exercise and strenuous activities to allow for proper healing. It is essential to follow these restrictions to prevent damage to the surgical sites and maintain the body’s ability to heal.
Six major areas of the body that are commonly considered for surgical correction after massive weight loss include the abdomen, arms, breasts, thighs, buttocks, and face/neck. These procedures may be staged over several months to ensure safety and optimal results.
To achieve a smooth and successful recovery after post-bariatric body contouring, it is crucial to adhere to pre and post-operative instructions, understand the typical recovery period, and follow activity restrictions. Taking these steps will help patients achieve the best possible outcome and minimize the risk of complications.
How Much Does Post-Bariatric Body Contouring Cost?
The average cost for post-bariatric body contouring procedures varies depending on the specific needs of the patient and the combined procedures selected. On average, the cost for mid-body contouring ranges from $7,000 to $15,000, while breast and chest contouring can cost between $5,000 and $10,000. Arm and axillae contouring typically range from $4,000 to $8,000, back contouring from $4,000 to $10,000, thigh contouring from $6,000 to $12,000, and face and neck contouring from $4,000 to $10,000.
Several factors can influence the cost of post-bariatric body contouring procedures, including operative time, recovery time, and surgeon fatigue. The specific techniques and extent of surgery required will also impact the overall cost. It is important to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss individual goals and create a personalized treatment plan, which will ultimately determine the cost of the procedures. It is important to note that these are average costs and can vary significantly from patient to patient.
Conclusion: Body Contouring post Bariatric Surgery
Body contouring after bariatric surgery is crucial for patients to achieve their desired appearance and improve their quality of life. It is important to consider the timing of surgical correction, as patients should wait until their weight has stabilized before undergoing these procedures. Additionally, patient-specific considerations such as overall health, medical history, and individual goals should be carefully evaluated before deciding on the appropriate body contouring plan.
The six major areas of the body that are typically addressed for surgical correction include the abdomen, breasts, arms, thighs, buttocks, and face/neck. These procedures can be staged or combined depending on the patient’s needs and safety considerations. Factors to consider when determining which procedures to combine include the patient’s overall health, the extent of excess skin, and the desired results. Patient safety should always be the top priority when considering any combination of procedures.
In conclusion, body contouring post-bariatric surgery plays a significant role in helping patients achieve their desired body shape and boosting their self-confidence. Careful consideration of patient-specific factors and safety measures is essential in ensuring successful surgical correction.
If you are interested in a body lift procedure, body contouring expert and board-certified plastic surgeon, SurgiSculpt, offers both virtual and in-house complimentary consultations.
Please see this 65-year-old female status post-post-bariatric surgery with abdominoplasty with muscle plication and a breast augmentation revision.