Summary: Figuring out the next steps after massive weight loss surgery can be intimidating. You’ve just been through one operation, and now you need to start considering others. Still, for patients who want to achieve a certain final look, there are many possible options for the best way to move forward. Figuring out those next steps is an essential part of completing your weight loss journey.
Thinking About Next Steps After Massive Weight Loss
If you’ve recently undergone gastric bypass (or a procedure like it), you might be thinking about next steps after massive weight loss surgery. You aren’t alone. Losing weight isn’t always the least step of the journey. For many people, it’s not even close. That can be a little depressing, if you stop and think about it too much.
After all, the weight loss is supposed to be its own reward, right? It can sometimes feel like a cheat if you have to go through even more steps in order to get your desired end result. The reality is that, in many ways weight loss is its own reward. There are multiple health benefits—and those benefits can have a long reach, especially if you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
But for patients that want significant aesthetic improvements, there may be more steps necessary in order to achieve your desired transformation. Those steps will vary from patient to patient, but we can sketch out some common themes among those who are looking at plastic surgery after a massive weight loss event.
You Can Lose Weight in Many Ways
Bariatric surgery and gastric bypass are both forms of weight loss procedures. And they’re both remarkably effective at helping patients lose weight in short order. There are risks, of course, but that’s why they’re usually recommended only for those who face significant challenges due to being obese or overweight. There’s also a significant recovery time associated with both types of procedures—and they’re usually most effective when patients maintain a healthy lifestyle afterwards.
But surgery is not the only way to lose weight. There are many patients who are able to achieve a significant weight loss due to healthy lifestyle choices (including choices about diet and exercise). But not everyone is able to get results this way—the human body has an interesting habit of resisting attempts to lose weight.
However it happens, once you lose weight, you’ll begin to notice some new challenges, including the following:
- Excess skin around the arms
- Extra skin around the belly
- Lopsided results (your body won’t always lose weight evenly)
- You may have stubborn areas of fat that cling to your body
- The excess skin you’re grappling against can be difficult to cope with
Eliminating Excess Skin
The most significant challenge for most patients after significant weight loss is coping with excess skin. And that’s because, as mentioned above, the excess skin isn’t really going anywhere. That’s why patients looking for next steps after a weight loss procedure (or regiment) usually look towards something called body contouring.
There are several procedures that weight loss patients might consider after they have achieved the first set of their goals:
- Tummy Tuck: We usually think of a tummy tuck as a way to slim down, a procedure so aesthetic that it’s almost frivolous. The truth is quite different. A tummy tuck is performed in order to eliminate excess skin. It’s true that this does make the tummy look slimmer and more athletic, but it also gets rid of one of the most common side effects of weight loss: loose skin around the tummy.
- Lower Body Lift: Sometimes when you lose weight rapidly, excess skin has a way of accumulating across a wider area of the of the body. That makes sense. Some patients lose weight from, essentially, their entire body at once. This leads to a significant amount of loose skin from the tummy on down. A lower body lift can significantly diminish the amount of excess tissue you’re dealing with. That said, the procedure can be quite uncomfortable and does take a significant amount of time to recover from. Many patients find such a price worth paying because the results tend to be quite good.
- Arm Lift: It’s probably not the first procedure on your “after weight loss” list, but it’s a very common one for patients. That’s because as you lose weight, your arms are not immune from developing excess skin. The “flags” that develop around your arms can discourage patients from wearing something as simple as a t-shirt, in many ways undercutting the confidence boost that was supposed to come from the original weight loss. An arm lift can eliminate those “flags” and make your arms look more fit.
Next Steps Are Personal Ones
There are some patients who, after a bariatric surgery or gastric bypass, are simply not interested in more procedures. However, many patients don’t feel that their journey is “complete” until they have a look that reflects their body image. In other words, some patients have another step on their journey and some do not.
However, if you feel as though your weight loss journey is not complete with simply losing the weight, it’s a good idea to talk to a plastic surgeon about what your options may be. Everyone’s body is different, so a surgeon will be in a good position to tell you what will work for you.
For example, many patients will desire a breast lift or breast reduction—but other patients will more strongly need a tummy tuck or an arm lift. Your body will dictate what will be the best course of action for you—and your surgeon will likely be able to read what your body is “saying.”
Find out more about your next steps after weight loss surgery from your local plastic surgeon.