In The News

Body Contouring

Body Contouring

R. Dale Reynolds, M.D.

What is “body contouring” and is it right for me?

Liposuction surgery, abdominoplasty (or tummy tuck), buttock lift, thigh lift, body lift, belt lipectomy and buttocks (gluteal) augmentation all fall under the category of body contouring procedures.

Which procedure is right for you depends upon several factors.  In general, patients with good skin tone and small pockets of fat deposits (or lipodystrophy) are best suited for liposuction surgery.

Patients with excess skin or loss of skin tone are often better candidates for a body contouring procedure where excess skin will be excised and tightened (resectional procedure). The abdominoplasty or tummy tuck deals with the front (abdominal) part of the lower trunk. An abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is often the best procedure for a woman trying to regain her youthful figure after the trauma of childbirth. It is best to wait to have an abdominoplasty until after childbirth is completed so the benefits of the surgery will not be lost. A buttock lift resects excess tissue (skin and fat) from the buttocks and lifts it into the correct position. This can be combined with an augmentation of the buttocks to increase fullness or rearranging the patient’s own tissue to increase fullness (auto-augmentation). A thigh lift resects excess tissue from the thighs and repositions them correctly thus tightening the upper thigh.

A body lift combines the abdominoplasty, thigh lift and a buttock lift to re-contour the entire lower trunk. The body lift is a common body contouring procedure that is performed on our bariatric patients after they reach a stable weight.  These patients often lose 100 to 250 pounds, and the excess skin they are left with can be quite limiting. The body lift is often the best option for patients who have always been a normal weight.  Sometimes after pregnancy the tissue in this area is best dealt with using a body lift, especially if there is excess skin in the thighs and buttocks.  A belt lipectomy is similar to the body lift in that it is a circumferential procedure (incision goes all of the way around the trunk) but the incision is higher and the thighs and buttocks aren’t lifted as much.

Buttocks (gluteal) augmentation or enhancement can be performed with fat translocation, tissue rearrangement, soft silicone implants or hard silicone implants. There are advantages and disadvantages to each and they should be discussed at length before deciding.

Most of these body contouring procedures, including liposuction surgery, thigh lifts, and buttock lifts are performed as an outpatient, but the circumferential procedures often require a brief stay.

All activities can resume at six weeks, after gradual increase in activities up to that point.  It often takes six to 16 weeks to see the final result with these procedures.  As with all procedures, some risks exist.  Make sure these are discussed with your surgeon before proceeding.

This article, printed in the El Paso Times, was written by Dr. Reynolds, who is the local Plastic Surgery expert for the newspaper.

Contact Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center of El Paso for a consultation to determine the right body contouring procedure for you.

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