Deflated balloon, melted candle, saggy elephant… these are just some of the descriptions patients use to describe themselves after they lose a large amount of weight. The reason being is that in most people their skin doesn’t bounce back and tighten around their new size. Excess skin after massive weight loss can be just as frustrating as trying to lose the weight in the first place.You have worked so hard but you suddenly realise your journey is not over. Dr Marcus Pyragius, a Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon based in North Adelaide, South Australia, says some of his most popular operations at the moment involve removal of loose skin after massive weight loss. He talked to us about what’s involved with the surgery and how he helps guide patients through the process.
Each Patient is Unique
The effects of losing large amounts of weight differs between individuals. This means that the procedures required to remove the excess skin will be different for everyone and needs tailoring to suit your needs. Dr Pyragius says, “Body contouring is often performed in stages and may take months or even years to complete. Areas that are often affected by loose, unsupported skin include the upper arms, breasts, abdomen, buttocks, groin and thighs.”
Some of the procedures more commonly performed to remove excess skin include:
- Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty)
- Breast Lift
- Breast Reduction
- Arm Lift
- Thigh Lift
- Full Body Lift
- Liposuction – to help contour those final bits of stubborn fat
The reason why the body contouring surgery may take months or years to complete is because you may need a combination of procedures to achieve your end result. On occasion it may be suitable for a surgeon to perform two or more procedures in the one surgery. However not all surgeons are willing to combine too many procedures into the one operation due to a more challenging and painful recovery and an increased risks of complications.
Are these procedures covered by Medicare?
Massive weight loss patients are frequently eligible for coverage by Medicare. You will be given the opportunity to discuss your eligibility with your surgeon at the consultation. If a person has not lost an adequate amount of weight then it may be considered a cosmetic procedure.
Choosing your Surgeon
Dr Marcus Pyragius says that it is essential for you to choose a Plastic Surgeon who is well qualified. They should be a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) and a Member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
The Emotional Side of the Journey
The thought of undergoing any surgery can be daunting. You need to select and surgeon who you are comfortable with and who you trust will guide you through your journey. Dr Pyragius tells us, “In the initial consultation with patients, I discuss the surgery and postoperative period in great detail. I outline what they should expect throughout the whole process. I review my patients regularly and guide them accordingly following surgery. I make them aware that I am available and readily contactable to answer any of their questions or concerns.
“Providing my patients with the appropriate and required support following a procedure is imperative and something that I hold in high regard. I pride myself on developing a trusting relationship with my patients, one in which they feel they can call upon me at any stage through the process.”