With the popularity of bariatric surgery for morbidly obese people – and the fact that Medicare now pays for them – means that a body contouring procedure is almost a requirement after gastric bypass surgery.
“The radical weight loss following gastric by-pass leads to improved blood pressure, and in many patients improves or eliminates diabetes symptoms,” said Berish Strauch, MD, chairman of the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Montefiore Medical Center. “Nevertheless, patients are left with a massive sagging of the entire body that leads to severe medical and cosmetic deformities,” added Dr. Strauch, who now finds that 80 percent of his surgical practice involves post-bariatric surgery patients. “It is truly gratifying to be able to give these patients the body they have dreamed of having.”
“A traditional abdominoplasty (tummytuck) is insufficient for these patients, who after this kind of extreme weight loss require a special operation called a circumferential adbominoplasty, a type of complicated, mid-body lift, which we have modified,” he continued.
Circumferential abdominoplasty is more extensive than a standard tummy tuck, and involves additional operating room time, more blood loss and increased recovery time. After recovery, typically three months later, further body contouring procedures are considered such as brachioplasty (trimming underarm ‘wings’) as well as thigh, neck, face and back lifts.
“We trim excess skin from the stomach, thighs and buttocks in one operation, rotating the patient carefully on the operating table during the surgery,” Dr. Strauch said. “At a later date, we perform plastic surgery on other areas of the body. This staged approach improves the patients’ quality of life, has wonderful esthetic results and has proven to be safe and effective.”