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Body Contouring After Massive Weight Loss
Frequently Asked Questions

1. When is the best time to consider having body contouring surgery?
The weight loss process usually stabilizes at about one year, so we look for a fairly stable weight history for this duration of time. Ideally your age is less than 55 years old and you have a healthy blood count. The age requirement is not absolute, as no doubt, some 60 year olds are healthier than some 40 year olds. Nevertheless, due to the extensive amount of surgery entailed with body contouring after massive weight loss, a person needs to be strong and healthy to tolerate the physical stress of the post-operative recovery period.

2. Will insurance cover any of the body contouring surgery?
Yes, insurance may cover some of the surgery. Often a breast reduction will be covered by medical insurance when the patient has a DD cup size or larger, there are skin breakdown issues, or the presence of back or neck pain. Sometimes a tummy tuck will be covered if there is chronic skin breakdown underneath the overhanging skin. Most of these procedures, however, are considered cosmetic.

3. Can I have all of the procedures at the same time?
Usually not. If you require just a few procedures such as a breast reduction or breast lift and a tummy tuck, then these two procedures can be done at the same time. However, many body contouring patients, after massive weight loss, request multiple surgical procedures. The amount of surgery and the time needed to complete the procedures may dictate that they be done in two or three stages. In Dr. Delgadoís mind, safety is the most important aspect of body contouring surgery. He will work with you to put together a plan that is both safe and affordable.

4. How much will it cost?
The cost varies greatly. Out-of-pocket cost will be fairly substantial for multiple areas of body contouring surgery. The cost will include the surgeonís fee, use of the operating room facility, services of a board-certified physician anesthesiologist, compression garments and all follow-up care. You should expect an additional fee for overnight nursing care for the first night after your surgery. The cost depends on the time required for the procedures and this will vary from patient to patient. Approximate costs would be $8500 for a breast reduction, $9500 for a tummy tuck and $9000 for an arm lift, to give just a few examples. Obviously, insurance coverage would be very helpful.

5. When can I resume normal activities like work?
It depends on what procedures are done. A tummy tuck or a body lift will require the longest recovery. Even so, you can drive a car, return to work or school and do most of your normal activities, other than exercise, usually by two to three weeks after surgery. Exercise can be resumed after six weeks. The breast reduction, medial thigh lift and arm lift require shorter recovery times. After those surgeries, you can drive, return to work or school and do most of your normal activities after one to two weeks, though exercise cannot be started until after six weeks.

6. Which is the best type of surgeon to do the surgical procedures?
A board-certified plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is the best choice. Plastic surgeons, like Dr. Delgado, perform these procedures on a frequent basis and, most importantly, have the experience to manage you preoperatively and postoperatively. You should study a physicianís before and after photographs to evaluate his/her artistic skill with body contouring.

7. Is there any way to avoid scarring?
No. A primary issue with body contouring after massive weight loss is the excessive amount of skin. This requires removal of skin to obtain a better shape and contour. Most of the incisions, however, will be covered by undergarments and most styles and cuts of clothing.

8. Are there any complications?
Yes, as with all surgical procedures, but even more so with body contouring after massive weight loss. Complications include wound breakdown, fluid accumulation, skin loss, infection, bleeding and blood clots. The rate of these complications is approximately 25%-30%, depending on the health of the patient and the amount of weight loss. This is why an experienced plastic surgeon, like Dr. Delgado, is the wisest choice for this type of procedure.

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