Body Contouring Following Massive Weight Loss
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Background: Obesity and its associated medical morbidities carry substantial health risk. While massive weight loss allows improvement in health status and lifestyle, physical sequelae due to symptomatic skin redundancy still require treatment. Areas affected include the arms, breasts, abdomen, back, and thighs. After open gastric bypass, patients often have poor abdominal support and incisional hernias. To completely address the treatment of patients following massive weight loss, body contouring procedures are performed, often in one stage and tailored to each patient, to rid the functional and esthetic impairment from skin redundancy. Methods: This retrospective study includes 30 patients treated from March 1998 to August 2002 by a single surgeon at an academic hospital. Average weight loss had been 71 kg, and average weight and BMI at the time of contouring surgery were 98.6 kg and 33 kg/m2 respectively. Procedures included abdominal panniculectomy, thighlift, backlift, brachioplasty, mastopexy and incisional hernia repair, performed either alone or in combination. Results: Average weight of resected tissue was 5.9 kg. Average length of stay was 3 days. Complications included seroma, wound breakdown, hematoma requiring surgical drainage, and lymphocele after brachioplasty. One patient died of a pulmonary embolus within weeks after surgery. Conclusion: Patients requiring surgical skin excision after massive weight loss for functional and/or esthetic reasons are challenging, and require individualized approaches with intensive follow-up.
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