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Body Contouring After Major Weight Loss

Body Contouring Plastic Surgery in Birmingham AL

Body contouring after weight loss model

Dramatic weight loss carries many benefits for people who have had bariatric weight reduction surgery or otherwise lost substantial amounts of weight. However, after any substantial amount of weight loss due to weight loss surgery and/or lifestyle changes, the skin and tissues often lack the elasticity to conform to the reduced body size.

Body Contouring After Major Weight Loss helps with skin removal, improves the tone of underlying tissue and removes excess fat and skin. The result is a better-proportioned appearance with smoother contours.

Body contouring after weight loss may include procedures such as arm lift, breast lift, facelift, lower body lift, medial thigh lift and tummy tuck depending on your needs. Birmingham, Alabama board-certified plastic surgeons William Hedden MD and Stephen Gunn MD, board-eligible plastic surgeon Joshua Halka MD and our cosmetic surgery staff can help you decide on the procedure or combination of procedures that will work best for you.

Body Contouring Candidates

In general, good body contouring candidates are:

Your Body Contouring Consultation

During your consultation for body contouring after weight loss, be prepared to discuss:

Your body contouring surgeon will:

Body Contouring Risks and Safety

Each patient must decide if the benefits of body contouring surgery will achieve their goals, and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable. The risks of body contouring include:

Body contouring risks will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It's important that you address all of your concerns about risks with your plastic surgeon. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.

Preparing for Body Contouring Surgery

In preparing for body contouring surgery, you may be asked to:

Body contouring surgery is performed at our accredited Outpatient Surgery Facility in Birmingham, Alabama. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and stay with you for at least the first night after surgery.

Body Contouring Procedure

All body contouring procedures require large incisions to remove excess skin. In many cases, these incisions may be extensive. Incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as personal preference and your doctor's surgical judgment. Advanced techniques usually allow incisions to be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing.

Body contouring surgery is performed using intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Your surgeon will recommend the best choice for you.

The procedures necessary to achieve your goals will be defined along with a plan for the timing of these procedures. Body contouring is often performed in stages. Your particular condition and goals, as well as your plastic surgeon's best judgment, will all influence how your doctor defines a surgical plan.

Body contouring procedures, customized based on your needs, may include a lower body lift, thigh lift, tummy tuck, arm lift, breast lift, male breast reduction and facelift.

Lower Body Lift

A complete lower body lift treats sagging buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips and outer thighs in one procedure. Incision patterns vary and may include a circumferential incision around the body to remove the "belt" of excess skin and fat. Body lift patients can see a dramatic transformation and more youthful shape of the lower body.

Body lift before and after with incision locations
Body Lift before/after and incisions

Thigh Lift

Thigh lifts reduce excess skin and fat for smoother skin and better proportions of the thighs and lower body. Inner thigh reshaping is achieved through incisions in the groin that can extend downward to the knee along the inseam of the thigh. Improving the contours of the outer thigh may require an incision extending from the groin around the hip.

Thigh lift before and after with incision location
Thigh Lift before/after and incision

Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck removes excess fat and skin from the abdomen area. In most cases, weakened or separated abdominal muscles are restored. A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, can streamline your figure with a smoother, firmer abdominal profile in better proportion to your weight and body type if a flat, well-toned abdomen through exercise and weight control proves to be elusive.

Tummy tuck before and after with incision location
Tummy Tuck before/after and incision

Arm Lift

An arm lift reduces excess sagging skin, tightens the underlying tissue and reduces localized pockets of fat. Sagging skin of the upper arms is treated with an arm lift incision from the underarm area extending along the inside or back of the upper arm. Additional incisions on the arms may be necessary if there are other areas of excess skin.

Arm lift before and after with incision location
Arm Lift before/after and incision

Breast Lift

The breast lift incision patterns for lifting a woman's sagging breasts will be determined based on the amount of excess skin to be removed. These may include one or a combination of incisions in a circular pattern around the areola, in a line extending from the areola to the breast crease, and horizontally along the breast crease. A breast implant also may be recommended to enhance breast shape and size.

Breast lift before and after with incision locations
Breast Lift before/after and incisions

Male Breast Reduction

Male breast reduction using surgical excision, liposuction or both is used to treat gynecomastia, a condition of enlarged breasts in men. The incision patterns for lifting a man's sagging breasts are determined based on the amount of excess skin to be removed. One or a combination of incisions may be used to reduce male breast size, flatten the chest and enhance the chest contours.

Male breast reduction incision locations
Male Breast Reduction incisions


A facelift corrects sagging of the mid-face, jowls and neck to restore a more youthful and rested appearance. A traditional facelift incision often begins in the hairline at the temples, continues around the ear and ends in the lower scalp. Facelifts can also be performed using a limited incision technique ("mini-facelift") or a neck lift to address the lower face.

Facelift before and after with incision location
Facelift before/after and incision

Body Contouring Recovery

Dressings or bandages will be applied to your incisions following the procedure.

Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.

Your plastic surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself. Carefully following all instructions is essential to the successful outcome of your surgery and recovery. These instructions may include:

Body Contouring Recovery at Home

You may be instructed to avoid bending, straining or lifting for several days to weeks. The surgical incisions should not be subjected to excessive force, motion, swelling or abrasion during the time of healing.

Where tightening of the abdomen or thighs is involved, your plastic surgeon may also instruct you to avoid standing fully upright and stressing any internal sutures as they heal, and to sleep with pillows elevating your knees.

To minimize the risk of DVT (blood clots in the legs) you will need to be up and walking as soon as possible, and drinking plenty of fluid.

Body Contouring Results

The results of body contouring following significant weight loss with Dr. William Hedden, Dr. Stephen Gunn or Dr. Joshua Halka are visible almost immediately. However, it can take 2 years or more to see the final results.

The results of body contouring are generally long-lasting provided you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. It is natural to lose some firmness as your body ages. However, most of your initial improvement should be relatively permanent.

You must accept visible scars in your goals to achieving a body contour that matches your new weight and proportions.

Although good results are expected from your body contouring surgery, there is no guarantee. In some situations it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single procedure and another surgery may be necessary.

Body Contouring Words to Know

Procedure Information © American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Hedden and Gunn Plastic Surgery

Body Contouring After Weight Loss at Hedden & Gunn Plastic Surgery may include plastic surgery procedures such as Body Lift, Breast Lift, Arm Lift and Thigh Lift.

Birmingham, AL Office & Surgery Suites

Hedden & Gunn Plastic Surgery
140 Village Street
Birmingham, AL 35242
205-980-1744 or 800-HeddenMD
American Society of Plastic Surgeons * American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery *
* Dr. William Hedden, Dr. Stephen Gunn
Hedden and Gunn Plastic Surgery

Contact Us Today

Questions About Body Contouring?

Please contact Hedden & Gunn Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, Alabama today for more information about Body Contouring After Major Weight Loss.

To schedule your consultation at the earliest possible date, please call 205-980-1744.

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