Stepping on the scale and realizing that changes need to be made is a scary and courageous thing. For many, losing significant weight is necessary to avoid developing serious health issues. Along with health challenges, many overweight individuals experience bullying and lack the confidence to thrive in social interactions. Those unhappy with their weight may also struggle to find clothes that fit, turning to diet and exercise to turn their lives around and gain the strength and confidence they need to succeed in life. No matter the driving force, individuals who needed to, and have lost significant weight, are strong beyond measure. Having learned about balanced nutrition and the positive impact of regular physical activity, these individuals learn to lose weight the ‘healthy’ way — no gimmicks, diet pills, or water fasts. Unfortunately for many, this significant weight loss may leave excess skin behind, along with abdominal muscle separation.
Excess skin can be pesky, causing irritation, soreness, skin rashes, and more. Those who lost the weight healthily and have maintained it for a while may prove excellent candidates for having the excess skin surgical removed alongside a repair of the muscle walls. After significant weight loss, excess skin may appear in the upper arms, thighs, back, and abdomen. Depending on the amount of excess skin needing removal from the stomach, board-certified cosmetic plastic surgeon Dr. Adibfar typically makes one long incision across the abdomen (from hip to hip). Once the excess skin is removed, the skin is stretched and Dr. Adibfar contours the area to allow for a smoother, more seamless silhouette.
Some patients may find the muscles of their abdominal wall stretched (due to weight gain and/or pregnancy). Unfortunately, just as in the case with excess skin, no targetted exercise or diet plan can bring the abdominal wall back to its former shape. There are three layers of the abdominal wall that connect from the rib cage down to the pubic bone. A thicker separation means that the connective tissues have stretched and lost their tightness, decreasing the integrity of the abdomen. This not only results in a less structured abdomen but as well a less stabilized spine, less support for the organs, and a weakened core. Excess abdominal skin and stretched muscles can also cause a protruding tummy and back pain due to weakness and instability.
Dr. Adibfar addresses the stretched tissues by repairing the abdominal wall. The three layers are carefully stretched and sutured back to the middle of the stomach, closing the gap and relinquishing a stronger core. Once the muscles are repaired and the excess skin is removed, patients are left with a smoother silhouette and a well-contoured abdomen free of excess lax skin. Recovery involves drainage tubes that are used to remove excess fluid and blood from the stomach. Patients will also be asked to gently move or walk around the house to prevent blood clots and encourage blood circulation. After one week , drains are removed and the abdominals continue to heal and acclimate to their new shape. Patients may experience swelling and soreness and should be mindful that the area takes anywhere from 6 months up to one year to fully see the final results.
After accomplishing so much and reaching their weight loss goals, many individuals may look in the mirror still feeling poorly about their bodies because of existing excess skin. After a full recovery, patients are back in fitted clothing and bathing suits and can enjoy a more active lifestyle comfortably. Many of our patients see the results from surgery only to feel proud of how far they’ve come in their journey. All of their time and dedication needed to lose weight properly has led to the results they sought to accomplish the whole time with the help of Dr. Adibfar.
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