Body Contouring After Weight Loss

Body contouring is a surgical procedure that improves the shape and tone of underlying supportive tissue and removes excess sagging fat and skin following massive weight loss or a surgical procedure for weight loss known as a Bariatric procedure.  Areas of the body which may be included in the contouring procedure are the upper arms, breasts, abdominal area, buttocks, groin and thighs.  The result is a more normal and sculpted appearance with smoother contours.  Patients considering body contouring are strongly encouraged to see a Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon for body contouring after weight loss.

Procedure Benefits

  • Remove sagging fat and skin remaining after weight loss
  • Improve shape and tone of underlying tissue
  • Restore elasticity to skin  a firm look
  • Enhance body contour and symmetry

Private Consultation

Your surgeon will evaluate your overall health to determine whether you are a candidate for body contouring. Before you can be a candidate for body contouring, your weight loss must be stabilized so that future weight loss or rapid weight gain does not interfere with the results of your body contouring procedure(s). Your plastic surgeon will work closely with your physician to determine if you are ready for body contouring.  You will discuss your goals and expectations, and your surgeon will explain the surgical options, including removal of excess skin (body lift), arm lift (also known as brachioplasty), thigh and leg lift (thighplasty), breast reduction/lift, and “tummy tuck” (abdominoplasty) if appropriate. You should be prepared to discuss your complete medical history, including previous surgery, and any medications you are taking (including vitamins). You will also discuss the cost of the procedure, keeping in mind that although some insurance companies may cover all or part of this procedure in certain cases, surgery after weight loss is usually considered an elective procedure.


If you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure, it must be controlled before you can undergo this procedure.  For at least two weeks prior to surgery, you must stop taking any blood-thinning medications and herbal supplements. After you have scheduled a surgery date, you will make an appointment for pre-admission testing and a physical exam.  The surgery should take place within 2 weeks after the results of these tests have been returned.

You will receive guidelines on eating and drinking, taking vitamins and medications, and smoking. Smoking should be stopped 2-3 months before the operation because it reduces the blood supply to tissue.  In fact, some surgeons will refuse to perform elective surgery on smokers due to this risk. You should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days if needed.

Surgical Procedure

Body contouring procedures are performed in our surgical facility in West Chester. You may need to stay overnight (or occasionally two nights) after major body contouring procedures.  The duration of the procedure depends upon which procedure(s) you and your plastic surgeon have chosen.  These procedures (Lower Body lift; Arm lift: Thigh lift; Breast Reduction or lift; Liposuction; and others) are listed elsewhere on this website.  Body contouring is often performed in stages.  All body contouring procedures require incisions to remove excess skin.  You will receive general anaesthesia or a combination of local and regional anaesthesia.  Sutures will be used to close the incision(s) and a dressing will be applied to the affected site(s).

Recovery and Healing Time

After surgery, you may be fitted with an elastic garment to reduce swelling and maintain your new skin contour until healing is complete. A small drainage tube may be inserted to prevent fluid build-up. You may feel some pain and burning, for which your surgeon will prescribe pain medication and antibiotics to prevent infection.  Sutures are removed in 7-10 days unless they are self-dissolving. You may feel stiff and sore during the first few weeks.  You may need to take 3-6 weeks off from work for major body contouring and up to 1 week from work after minor procedures.

You can return to non-vigorous activities in 5-10 days depending on the extent of body contouring. However, you should start walking around as soon as possible in order to reduce the swelling and prevent blood clots in your legs. The swelling and bruising should disappear within three weeks, although you may have some swelling for six months or more. Your surgeon will schedule follow-up visits, and you should not hesitate to call your surgeon between visits if you experience unusual symptoms such as heavy bleeding or pain.

Procedure Risks

  • Adverse reaction to anaesthesia
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Blood clots
  • Lack of symmetry
  • Recurrent looseness of skin
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Persistent swelling in the legs
  • Possibility of revision surgery
  • Excessive loss of fluid leading to shock (rare)

Your New Look

The success of body contouring depends largely on your age and the size, shape and skin tone of the area to be treated. Your new, contoured body should be noticeable almost immediately, but it may take up to one or two years for the final results to be evident. Some visible scars will remain, but the overall results should be relatively permanent provided that you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. 

UC Health Plastic Surgery in West Chester, has three nationally recognized Cincinnati plastic surgeons.

Located north of Cincinnati, we serve West Chester, Mason, Loveland, Indian Hill and the rest of Greater Cincinnati and Dayton for all of their plastic surgery procedure needs.

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