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Body Lifts – Post MWL

What are Body Lift Procedures?

With the increase in Bariatric procedures all over the world, there has also been an increase in various procedures to help deal with the aftereffects of this Massive Weight Loss which happens at a rapid pace and in a short duration.

Hence, enter procedures like Fleur-de-Lis abdominoplasty, circumferential upper or lower body lifts, thigh lifts, arms lifts, lower back lift with autoaugmentation, etc. These procedures help deal with the excess sagging skin and contour the body to help patients regain thier body shape and confidence after shedding the excess weight.

 

 

Why Body Lifts?

When there is  rapid weight loss like that happens following a Bariatric procedure like a Balloon, sleeve gastrectomy or a Roux-en-Y, the skin which is already dystrophic tends not to shrink and that leads to  folds of skin hanging all around the body like arms, thighs, neck, chest and abdomen.

So, even though the patient has lost weight and feels lighter, he/she is still not able to wear the clothes he wants or feel comfortable about thier body because of these unsightly folds of skin.

These folds are dealt with in the procedure’s collectively called “Body Lifts”

All of the areas cannot be covered together and usually these procedures need to be staggered so that healing is without complications and the patients recovers faster.

The various lifts which are performed  commonly are:

1. Facelift + a Neck lift

2. Arm Lifts

3. Abdominoplasty with a Breast Liftwith autoaugmentation

4. Fluer-de-Lis Abdominoplasty

5. Upper body Lift

6. Lower Body Lift

7. Thigh Lift

8. Back / Buttock lift with autoaugmentation.

 

What are the Challenges with Body Lifts?

Body Lifts are performed in patients who have lost a lot of weight in a short period of time. Most commonly these are patients who have undergone a Bariatric procedure.

These subset of patients, pose a unique problem in that though they have lost weight they also are undernourished and lack proteins and vital minerals which can interfere with the healing process.

After a rapid and massive weight loss, there is a sudden change in BMI which leads to skin and soft tissue becoming loose with a poor tone & Quality.

Excess skin and remaining fatty deposits can cause problems like skin irritation, fungal infections, poor hygiene, skin breakdown,  function impairments and of course low self-esteem. 

Therefore,the Surgical excision with Lift  may relieve these symptoms  However, MWL patients are also seeking an aesthetic outcome to improve their body image and self-esteem.

Considering all these issues, body lifts are more in the realm of reconstructive surgery rather than purely aesthetic procedures.

What are the unique problems of dealing with MWL procedures?

Although medical improvement is seen with significant weight loss, we plastic surgeon’s must critically evaluate unsolved medical issues (diabetes, cardiac disease, venous thromboembolism risk).

Preoperative appropriate nutritional assessment is a must. They might present with nutritional derangements secondary to caloric restriction in the form of low protein levels, lack of nutrients and vitamins essential for a normal healing process to occur.

Secondarily, many of these patients might be on supplements and need to be encouraged to take healthy diets with a Higher protein intake for a few weeks before the procedure. Medications and nutritional supplements, such as iron, Vitamin B12, calcium, and multivitamins, are often prescribed along with it.

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