Given the need to avert the obesity crisis, medical science devised many treatments to rid people off their obesity like gastric bypass, stomach stapling, lap banding, laser contouring, stomach reduction and other methods that will allow the stomach to hold less food. All these techniques are tried and tested to yield results. As science progressed, people witnessed a change in these techniques as more and more non-invasive procedures began to surface over the years.
In the United states, in year 2000 alone, there were 37,700 surgeries that were meant to reduce the size of a patient’s stomach. Fast forward to 2006, and statistics tells us that the number rose to 177,600 patients. This is a phenomenal increase in the number of patients opting for bariatric surgery. On an average, patients who undergo various types of bariatric surgery have reported to have lost anywhere between 100 to 300 pounds within 18 months of undergoing the surgery.
One of the most common and undesired effect that a bariatric surgery leaves behind is the loose hanging skin around the stomach area. It is not at all pleasing for the eye to look at, and also poses a serious threat to the overall shape of the body. Since hundreds of pounds of a patient’s body has stretched the skin around the stomach to the maximum, it loses its elasticity and becomes increasingly difficult to spring back to the shape it was before.
A newly slim patient must deal with inches of hanging and loose skin which is called panniculus. It is not an uncommon occurrence to see hanging skin on a patient that has underwent some sort of bariatric surgery which hangs from the upper arms, the chest, the stomach, the upper thighs and buttocks.
Most women who undergo surgery to remove excess fat, have to also undergo mastopexy, or more commonly referred to as a breast lift. Men who go through the same procedure have to usually undergo male breast reduction surgery to remove the loose and hanging skin from their chest area. The extra layer of skin provides discomfort to its owners by causing irritation and inflammation on various parts leading to hygiene difficulties. The excess mass of skin also makes it difficult for a person to exercise and get in shape.
The procedure to undergo traditional surgery to remove excess fat is quite expensive ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 for the entire body. The procedure leaves scars on the body. Most surgeons who perform the procedure break the task into two: upper body lift and lower body lift. The upper body lift removes the sagging skin from the arm, chest, or breast, while the lower body lift removes the sagging skin from the abdomen, lower back, thighs and buttocks.
Body contouring is not a light process (exception is laser contouring). The surgeons have to prepare for the process and it requires a commitment on the part of the patient to see it through till the end. It takes at least 18 months to start losing weight. A single procedure can require up to 10 hours with the patient under general anesthesia, may require blood transfusions and more often than not, requires the assistance of another surgeon.
Plastic surgeons who conduct these surgeries advise patients that this is not an obesity control operation. People who are 50% above their ideal weight should exercise and drop as many pounds as possible before undergoing this procedure. Other medical conditions that the surgeons look for in a patient include the presence of other scars on the body, previous history of the patient with conditions regarding the heart, and a smoking patient.
Possible risks and side-effects of this procedure include infection due to staying under anesthesia for over 6 hours. The patient may also suffer from thrombosis (blood clot formation), seroma (a form of fluid build up) or dehiscence (wound separation). The duration for hospital stay can require from one to four days and it may take up to one month for absolute recovery from the procedure. Professional and reputable surgeons often explain in depth all the pros and cons of the procedures. Some might even encourage you for a second and third consultation with other experts to get a third party opinion.
Body lifting is generally done in one marathon session by the surgeons. However, if the patient has a history with heart conditions or smoking, the surgeons may advise to do this procedure over several shorter intervals. There are several individual components of a body contouring procedure that need to be considered (does not apply to laser contouring.)
Arm Lift: This procedure is also called brachioplasty. The extra skin on the arms always appears on the lower part of the arms and is often referred to as “bat wings.” Surgeons tend to make incisions to remove the excess skin from the armpit to the elbow creating a more pleasing contour. This is done under the arm so that the resulting scar remains hidden to the naked eye of others. Through this arm opening, the surgeon proceeds to cut away the excess skin which, depending upon the patient can be a pound of skin or more.
Breast Lift: This process is also called mastopexy. The procedure remains the same as far as removing excess skin is concerned; however, it is done more precisely to give the breasts a full and firm shape. This process usually involves an implant procedure to make up for all the lost fat and tissue content. Scars due to this procedure is almost always hidden.
Stomach Lift: This process is also called abdominoplasty. Excess skin hanging lose over the groin area is mostly every patient’s concern. The loose skin retains moisture and due to this fact, it always causes irritation for the patient leading to poor hygiene conditions. While the surgical procedure to remove this excess skin is called panniculetomy, additional procedures are required more often to remove the excess skin fully.
Lower Body Lift: This procedure is done to remove the excess skin from thighs and buttocks. For the process involving the inner thigh, the surgeon makes an incision on the inner leg starting from the groin area, and continues down to the knee. The surgeon then proceeds to remove the excess skin and seal it tight to give the patient tighter and attractive thighs. The outer thigh and buttocks are lifted by giving a hip to hip incision and removing the excess skin.
Non-surgical body contouring is a rapidly growing field and has shown great promise in the field of body contouring. Laser contouring is one of the most prominently used procedures for the same. Doctors all around the globe are able to use several non-invasive technology to achieve the perfect body shape for their patients.
Most of the surgical procedures are considered a major surgery, and requires several months to see the desired results take form. Laser contouring, on the other hand, while takes same or more time to show the required results, has lesser downtime and people can go on about doing their daily routines as usual after a session. Apart from being non-invasive, it is also not painful and there is no requirement for a general anesthetic to keep the patient under for several hours.
This is what makes laser body contouring procedure so appealing. There are no risks involved with the process. Since there is no anesthetic involved, there are no risks of infection. The procedure is non-invasive and hence, there are no cuts or incisions made on the skin. This means that there are no scars that remain as a result of the procedure. Each session typically lasts between 30 to 40 minutes, which means you can set your daily schedule accordingly and do not have to worry about losing a day at work. This session is repeated about 2 to 3 times in a week.
Also, when comparing to traditional surgical methods, the cost involved in treating a patient with laser procedure is less. In traditional surgical methods, most patients are required to wear a support or compression garment for two to six weeks. The procedure has already gained enough popularity over the recent years and is constantly growing as more and more patients are becoming aware about it.
Make sure to consult the doctor/surgeon before trying to enroll yourself into a laser contouring procedure. There are certain requirements for patients to undergo this procedure as well. Apart from that, it’s a great way to bring back your body to a more attractive and tighter shape.