Procedure: Post Major Weight Loss / Bariatic Surgery
Why would I consider surgery?
Post massive weight loss surgery is typically used to assist with the residual problems following extreme weight loss. This can be related to weight loss following lifestyle changes or weight reduction surgery such as gastric banding / sleeve or bypass.
Abdominoplasty is very common, but other procedures include arm reduction, thigh reduction, chest reduction / thoracoplasty and body lift surgery.
Extreme weight loss can result in skin excess that is so severe that it will simply not take up itself. Surgery can assist with these residual excesses. This is often called 'the flags' with the hanging skin of the arms. With the thighs, the excess skin may rub together and restrict exercise for example.
Body Lift is indicated where the skin around the entire lower body is excessive.
Similar problems can occur in the upper back and thorax.
How is it done?
The operation is performed under general anaesthetic and is usually performed as overnight stay surgery. The types of surgery are:
- Arm Reduction
Excess skin and fat are removed in a triangular shape based at the arm pit and then running down the very inner aspect of the arm. This results in as scar based along the edge of the arm pit and then for varying lengths down the very inner aspect of the arm, but typically not past the elbow.
- Thigh Reduction
This is similar in principle to arm reduction as it simply represents the lower limb equivalent. The operation is larger from a surgical point of view, but only in that the lower limb is bigger than the upper.
- Body Lift
Body Lift is the combination of abdominoplasty, lateral thigh lift and buttock lift. This results in a literal 'ring barking' of the lower body, that is then lifted to give the improved contour to the lower body.
All of the procedures are performed under general anaesthetic with a consultant specialist anaesthetist.
In Body Lift, after going to sleep, the position of the patient on the operating table is face down. This allows the buttock and lateral thigh lift to be performed. Once completed, the patient is turned onto their back so the abdominoplasty can complete the procedure.
Medial thigh and arm reduction are performed in the one position lying normally on the operating room table.
What can I expect?
You are typically admitted on the day of surgery having fasted from the night before or 8 hours prior.
How long does it take to recover?
Recovery time is in the order of a week for arm and thigh reduction.
Body Lift is quite extensive surgery and recovery takes several weeks.
What complications can occur?
Although every endeavour is made to avoid complications, sometimes they do occur. Complications do not necessarily imply an error has occurred, they can be related to the anaesthetic or the surgery.
Surgical complications can include: bleeding and bruising, swelling, thick scars and infection. Seroma is a collection of fluid in the surgical field and can require serial aspiration in the office. Rarely, this can be chronic and require surgical correction.
Although this list indicates some examples of complications, surgery should not be undertaken until this has been discussed fully with the surgeon.
What other procedures are often performed at the same time?
It is not uncommon for all or combinations of these surgeries to be performed at the one time.
What does it cost and will private insurance help?
Exact costing is highly variable as it depends on your history and circumstances, the hospital used and specifics of the procedure.
If a procedure can be given an item number then rebates will apply. In this scenario, out of pocket costs are typically less than amounts paid for surgery overseas.
A cost guide can be requested from my office on 9126 9218 (+61 8 9126 9218).
Alternatively, we can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I get more information?
If you have specific questions, or wish more information on specific procedures, please don"t hesitate to contact my office for a complimentary appointment with my nurse / patient liaison officer.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.